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World War II wedding dress as presented in United States high fashion magazines, 1939-1945 /

by Clayton, Tamara.

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this study was to explore wedding dress styles represented in United States high fashion magazines during the World War II period. The objectives of the study were to: discover what wedding dress styles were proposed by high fashion magazines during the period 1935-45, determine if wedding dress designers of this period abstained from using details prohibited by the L-85 regulations for regular day dresses and to determine if wedding dress styles proposed in American high fashion magazines during the period 1939 to 1945 were similar to styles adopted by society women featured in these same magazines. Images of bridal dress were gathered from the 1939 to 1945 monthly issues of the high fashion magazines Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Each image was categorized as either a proposed style or an adopted style, depending on how it was presented in the magazine. The images, as well as any associated descriptive text, were then evaluated using the content analysis method. A pilot test was conducted to test the reliability of the researcher's judgment, as well as the research instrument. Intercoder reliability was established with a score of 87 percent for the primary instrument and 93 percent for the secondary instrument. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics in the form of frequency counts and percentages. These counts were used to establish what styles were utilized and how often, the most common type being expressed as the mode. In addition to establishing commonly used styles, it was discovered the there was only occasional use of L-85 styles details prohibited for regular day dress. It was hypothesized that wedding dress styles proposed in United States' high fashion magazines during the period 1939 to 1945 would be similar to styles adopted by society women featured in these same magazines. Chi-square contingency tables as well as visual analyses were used to test this hypothesis. No significant difference was found between the frequency distribution of proposed and adopted styles, thus the hypothesis was accepted. Sociological theories of fashion explain that fashion is a process of conformity and collective selection. Within the context of these high fashion magazines, fashion was presented to potential innovators and leaders as well as followers. Fashion information was disseminated at both the impersonal and interpersonal level and proposed fashions became adopted fashions. The effects of World War II on society, the economy and prevailing attitudes and ideals was reflected in wedding dress style during this period. The desire to preserve resources was reflected somewhat in the limited use of L-85 prohibited items, as well as the occasional informal or "use-more-than-once" dress. The nation's economic prosperity, in addition to exemption from L-85 restrictions and prevailing societal attitudes all were likely factors in the persistence of the traditional wedding dress.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Oregon State University

School Location:USA - Oregon

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:world war 1939 1945 wedding costume fashion

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