Sara Jeannette Duncan/Lily Lewis Archive

The Fashions of Women (Washington Post, September 13 1885)

Duncan humorously addresses how she’s never discussed the “sacred prerogative” of women: clothing. She talks about how she has neglected a duty as a journalist to tell women how they should dress. She talks about the many interesting changes in fashion (all while subtly asserting, of course, that fashion remains stale and unchanging). She offers an analysis of certain clothing evoking certain ages of women in others’ writing. She also makes fun of the “unfashionable”, who try to assert their identity when they “criticize, condemn, and execute as well as copy” the fashionable. She exposes the marketing that went into the promotion and then down fall of the crinoline in Boston. She talks about how women dress to please themselves but men, still, insist on being “despots” who want to control women’s dress.


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