Fashion and Literature

What are you wearing? This class takes fashion seriously as a means of self-expression and something you can literally read for. We’ll do it in 3 parts, roughly 1.5 weeks each. Starting with a short history of modern Western fashion (aka post-toga), we’ll then skip up to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, looking at avant-garde fashion in the 1910s and 1920s, and how fashion worked as political expression for American and British suffragists. We’ll learn about the birth of youth culture—the rise of the miniskirt in Swinging ‘60s London—and think about gender, as well as political expression, as with Suffragist Fashion. After considering some examples of contemporary fashion in both the worlds of couture and streetwear, we will examine some literary instances of fashion and by contextualizing them, use them as a way of opening up the text – which comes from the word ‘textile,’ after all. 

This course is open to everyone! Students interested in the arts and cultural studies should find this course exciting. Students who hate fashion are especially welcome. 

Learn more about the instructor of this course:


5 credits of Arts and Humanities coursework towards the Areas of Inquiry requirement.