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Essie Whitten

Essie Whitten

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Essie Whitten
It's common knowledge among everyone who pays attention to such things that Americans frequently dress super casually — and have for quite a while now.

Whether it's Silicon Valley CEOs or college students on their way to class, American loves their jeans and T-shirts.

But why?

"We dress more casually because we can," according to cultural historian Deirdre Clemente from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, who was interviewed by The Washington Post.

Americans gravitate toward casual without even realizing it. Casual clothing doesn't obviously signal wealth or social status, but it instead proves that Americans can freely express their individuality.

It wasn't always this way. For much of the 20th century, Americans didn't dress casually all the time. There were dress codes and customs. Men wore suits and hats; women wore dresses. Jeans and T-shirts were for laborers, not professionals.

"Casual is the sweet spot between looking like every middle-class American and being an individual in the massive wash of options," Clemente told The Post.

She says we now find meaning in the way we dress in a way we didn't in the early 20th century, when people dressed more aspirationally. They wanted to look as though they had higher social status than they actually did.

As it turns out, historians can point to two major periods in the 20th century that changed the way we dress today: The 1920s, when women started breaking away from dresses and fewer men attending college wore full suits, and World War II, when women cared more about their work in the factories and the victory gardens than what they were wearing on the particular day.

Since those times, the long slide to where we are today was inevitable. (The 1960s and '70s hastened things along.) So where does Clemente say we are now, in terms of fashion and dress?

In a word: individualization.

"There are so many different kinds of social and cultural personas that we can put on, and our clothes have become extremely emblematic of that," Clemente told The Post.

It used to be that everyone wore some kind of uniform: military, professional, or domestic. Now no one does.
Essie Whitten
Women who cited "appearance" as the aspect of fashion and style that makes them happiest, 29% of women said that style is what matters the most. This was especially true of teenage girls age 13-17 (39%) and women age 18-24 (31%). Teens were especially more likely than other age groups to say that it's important that they express themselves through what they wear (12%).
Essie Whitten
Fashion styles are commonly misunderstood idea, which is less complicated than it often seems. In reality, understanding different types of fashion styles can actually simplify your shopping and apparel. All apparels are grouped according to similarities in the pattern, fabric, style line, and color. These types of fashion styles can create looks that convey common themes. Fashion style generally refers to the groups of personality traits, which also match specific fashion theme. Fashion style is like a character sketch that describes a personality out of a fashion theme. For example, you have arty fashion type, you may be drawn to party themes in apparel consciously.
Essie Whitten
Your brain loves fashion. Give it what it wants.
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