Dress Reform and Fashion


  • Abby Zhang Huili School Shanghai
  • Tessa Nunn Duke University




fashion, feminism, corset, dress reform, gender, women


From the early 1820s through the mid-1850s, a dress reform movement to emancipate women from tight-lacing and corsets became prominent. Living in the prevailing gender hierarchy, male reformers and female authors took different approaches to express their arguments and participate in the public discourse. Although women’s clothing may have started as the instrument of misogynistic fetish, it has also become a medium to advocate women’s agency when women take control. Society’s expectation on how female members should appear remains prevalent in modern days.


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Author Biography

Tessa Nunn, Duke University


References or Bibliography

Fischer, Gayle V. Pantaloons and power : a nineteenth-century dress reform in the United States. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2001. Pantaloons and power : a nineteenth-century dress reform in the United States : Fischer, Gayle V : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Megan O’Hern, Master of Arts, 2016, “Hugged as a viper to the bosom”: Antebellum corset reform and the question of authority, 2016. University of Maryland’s Department of History, master’s thesis. https://doi.org/10.13016/M26V6D

Brennan, Summer. High Heel. Bloomsbury Academic, 2019.

Misra, Minakhi. "Are School Uniforms sowing seeds of Gender Inequality?", 5 Aug. 2015, Par.3, medium.com/between-strides/are-school-uniforms-sowing-seeds-of-gender-inequality-7415145d6056. Accessed 18 November 2021.

Davies, Mel. “Corsets and Conception: Fashion and Demographic Trends in the Nineteenth Century.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 24, no. 4, Cambridge University Press, 1982, pp. 611–41, http://www.jstor.org/stable/178431.



How to Cite

Zhang, A., & Nunn, T. (2022). Dress Reform and Fashion. Journal of Student Research, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v11i2.2537



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