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the Blouse Rebecca Horton, DMGT 702, 23 Apr. 2012 A case study of innovation through a look into the diffusion of two-piece women’s dress

Evening overblouse, 1910 via Artstor

Why Study the Blouse?


heterogeneous engineering. Woman in a Green Blouse, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1913 via Artstor

Changing Times



Images: French Day Dress 1858; Women’s USA, 1910, via Life image archive

Spools of Innovation

1. The sewing machine Image: madeelinetosh via flickr



Novelty and Changing roles women’s dress for women

“…industrial innovation can be used as an explanatory device for the evolution of fashion trends, though only within the context of social and cultural determinants” -Breward, C. The Culture of Fashion: A New History of Fashionable Dress

Image: William Morris Black and White Textiles

Sewing machine as key innovation Singer Sewing Machines Print, 1868, via Life image archive

Crinoline, lace, starched collars, plain long-sleeved blouses for tennis, the tailor-made suit‌

Image: SCAD 2011 diagram of 19th century woman’s shirt

Novelty and Women’s Dress 1902 National Cloak Company Original advertisement, via Life image archive

“a form of clothing suitable for the pace and demands of urban, industrial life in capitalist societies� -Wilson, E. Through the Looking Glass

Image: Mulberry Bend Park, New York City, 1897

Gibson Girl Illustration from “Sketches and Cartoons” by Charles Dana Gibson

Innovation Timeline Rational dress society promotes dress reform Women gain the right to vote

Long-sleeved blouses with starched collars worn as tennis wear

Gibson Girl

Blouses are commonplace amongst young women

Many middle-aged women are now working Women’s suits and serge skirts come into fashion with middle- and upper-class women

Diffusion of the Sewing Machine 1830s











Sources Referenced Breward, C. The Culture of Fashion: A New History of Fashionable Dress.” Machester University Press, Manchester, 1995. pp. 156-157, 163 Cunningham, P. “Reforming Women’s Fashion, 1850-1920: Politics, Health, and Art Wilson, E. Through the Looking Glass. BBC Books, 1991. pp. 34-35, 36, 37, 48, 52, 52-53

The Blouse: A Case Study in Innovation  

A presentation developed for a graduate course in the history and interpretation of innovation.

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