history of fashion

Sat, 21 May 1994 09:40:41 CDT

A friend of mine is interested in doing some work on this "new" bra being
adverstized (to show more cleavage). It is an upgrade of what used to be
called a "push bra," I believe. My friend is a feminist who has worked her
butt off over the years on people's issues, and she is personally alarmed over
a trend that begins to look like the 50s all over again. Despite her personal
feelings about it, she's trying to understand just what is going on out there.
We discussed several perspectives that she could take as lines of inquiry--one
was the possibility that showing cleavage again is part of a backlash to
feminism in particular and/or PC in general. Another perspective, much more
long range, is that of a possible cycling of fashion style. Kroeber showed
that hem length, height, and width tended to move up and down in regular
cycles, but with radical changes in those dimensions coming during times of
social upheaval--the revolutions of 1848, the Civil War, Spanish-American War,
WWI and WWII, and the depressions of 1873 and 1928.

For her purposes, it would seem to me that the data of observation in the first
instance is public presentation of personna, and that "fashion" would cover the
ground for starters. If you look at the models currently featured on the
women's magazines like Cosmopolitan, etc., it seems clear that bigger breasts
are replacing the tall, slim, smaller bosomed models. The new bra would appear
to be part of this fashion trend. The question is, is there some larger
pattern, possibly with several components, of which this is part?

What do you think? Is there some literature that would be helpful? Are there
any history of fashion experts out there? Nu?
Mike Lieber