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The Tailor's Art



Creation of the Man’s Suit
The Suit in the 19th Century
Men’s Dressing Gown and Waistcoat Fabrics
Men’s Accessories in the 19th Century
Neckties and Cravats
Men’s Accessories in the 20th Century
Tailoring for Women
Appropriating the Dandy
Contrast Between the Modern Suit and Feminine Fashion
Mid-Century America: Conformity in Suburbia
Mid-Century Humor: Conversational Textiles
Counterculture Menswear
Contemporary Tailoring for Men
Menswear Fabrics - A Glossary



The construction of women’s garments began to change dramatically with the creation of draping in the early 20th century. This dressmaking method, a modern invention that emerged from the ateliers of the Parisian haute couture prior to World War I, allowed for more fluid and less restrictive garments. For a number of years, the clean lines of the Art Moderne style not only bestowed the look of freedom – their bodies were actually more liberated as corsets and other underpinnings fell out of fashion in the 1920s.

After World War II, however, women’s fashions became more decorous and increasingly reliant on sculptural forms and extraneous details. Today, high fashion continues to dress women in colorful silks and ruffles; corsets and petticoats have made a comeback. Like the women who came before her – in their floral, 18th-century robes à la Français, or Art Nouveau gowns over an S-shaped corset – the woman of today is the sensual flower of fashion.


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All photographs by Irving Solero, courtesy of the Museum at FIT, unless otherwise noted.