We Were What We Wore

Fashion once expressed America’s class distinctions. But it doesn’t any more.

A Chicago judge ruled in 1908 that a nightgown was a luxury, not a necessity, and thereupon issued a restraining order forbidding an eighteen-year-old girl from buying one against her father’s wishes. “The only possible use of a nightgown,” the judge explained, “is to keep off flies and mosquitoes, and the bedclothes will do just as well.” The father testified: “She never wore a nightgown in her life, and neither did her parents.Read more »

The Jeaning Of America—and The World

This is the story of a sturdy American symbol which has now-spread throughout most of the world. The symbol is not the dollar. It is not even Coca-Cola. It is a simple pair of pants called blue jeans, and what the pants symbolize is what Alexis de Tocqueville called “a manly and legitimate passion for equality. …” Blue jeans are favored equally by bureaucrats and cowboys; bankers and deadbeats; fashion designers and beer drinkers. They draw no distinctions and recognize no classes; they arc merely American.Read more »

Madison Avenue’s Secret Conquest

Yanqui imperialismo, as any good Latin-American orator will tell you, is a pretty insidious affair. With the pictures on these pages, therefore, we are happy to report on one of its conquests so subtle and secret that neither the conquered nor, for that matter, the C.I.A. is aware of it.Read more »

The Real Little Lord Fauntleroy

The lady author modelled her famous fictional creation after her own wonder boy —and condemned a generation of “manly little chaps” to velvet pants and curls

In the November, 1885, issue of St. Nicholas magazine there appeared the first installment of a romantic novel about a little American boy who inherits a British title and goes to England to live with his rich, grumpy grandfather in a suitably elegant castle.Read more »