This professor has stirred up quite the debate in the blog landscape. I love this debate. The journalist asks if we've become a nation of slobs in this piece. Linda Przybyszewski, Norte Dame Professor of History and author of Nation of Slobs: How Americans Learned and Forgot How to Dress teaches a course on this very topic. Must remember to check if it is an on-line course!
She examines literary and historical texts that teach how to dress and present oneself. Ah, the golden days before personal shoppers and celebrity stylists. The days of soup and fish.
The journalist questions if the 1960s with the simple styles played a role in the rise of casual attire.
Przybyszewski focuses a critical eye on the advent of the suburbs. Suburbs invited a more casual lifestyle as outdoor entertaining grew in popularity.
I would like to throw in the appearance of the shopping mall as a contributing factor in sloppy dressing. Stores crammed with fast fashions that have to turn over quickly because the the next season's items are piled sky high in the cramped back rooms. Shopping centres also made a spike in popularity at the same time as suburban living.
I don't agree that America has become a nation of slobs. Canada has its own fair share of pajama/yoga pant/flip flop wearing folks this side of the border as well.
I think that it more an act of defiance and rebellion to dress in a non-conventional manner--a rebellion against dress codes. That with a dose of fashion narcissism. Consider the university student's statement at the end of the video where she describes a fellow student that shows up in pajama bottoms while wearing make-up. They are making a statement or a demand to be noticed. It seems like they fit into a fashion subculture.
What I do like about this interview is the fact that Przybyszewski embraces the small details in her own creations. Yes, Professor Przybyszewski sews! She is right, if you want the unique and exquisite details of by-gone fashions, resurrecting sewing skills is the way to go. I don't think it is too late or that these by-gone skills are totally lost.
What do you think?