The Language of Clothes Hardcover – November 12, 1981
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One of my most favorite part of the book takes place during the Great Depression era, during this time fashion tried to make individuals look serious but also thicker Alison Lurie tries to explain. The reason why Crash men suits appeared darker and heavier was to shield them from the cold while waiting in the bread lines. Alison Lurie writes “Trousers tended to be wider and the jackets had a fuller cut and much higher and squarer shoulders- perhaps to counteract or disguise the owners slump of discouragement. Overcoats became longer, and many men wore the new- style heavy brogues, which often had thick rubber soles- useful when pondering the pavements looking for work” (pg. 77) in all my years of reading about the hardships of the Great Depression I had never really understood how bad things were, but this section showcases the complete horror and loss of hope our society suffered under. Men's clothes were not the only ones effected by this hopeless time woman too would experience fasion changing Alison Lurie also shows through images and words the dress from the Great Depression era, woman skirts became longer, shoulders thicker. Woman were not spared during this time as well. Alison Lurie wrote that another reason behind the lack of color and expression during this time was in fact a survival tactic, men and woman of this economic hardship time, would wear dark serious clothes to show that they were competent job ready adults rather than children.
Another reason of why I love this detailed orientated book, was how Alison Lurie incorporated pictures and diagrams in her book. For every idea or explanation, she provides in has a real picture taken in that era to push her point forward.
As much as I loved this book there were some negatives, the most notable; through the information provided is both educational and interesting it forces the reader to take more of an abstract thought of the book making the reader must in a sense retranslate Alison Lurie's information into more modern meanings. As James Laver once said, “Clothes are inevitable. They are nothing less than the furniture of the mind made visible.” (pg.1)
Review by Thomas David Kehoe...