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An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, And Sexuality - Isbn:9780520223691

Category: Design

  • Book Title: An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality
  • ISBN 13: 9780520223691
  • ISBN 10: 0520223691
  • Author: Jill Fields
  • Category: Design
  • Category (general): Design
  • Publisher: Univ of California Press
  • Format & Number of pages: 375 pages, book
  • Synopsis: See, for example, 64.06.05 in the University of Rhode Island Textile and Costume Collection. Further ... Cunnington and Cunnington, History of Underclothes, p. 82, find that ... James Laver, Costume and Fashion: A Concise History, 2nd ed.

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ISBN: 0520252616 - An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, And Sexuality - OPENISBN Project: Download Book Data

An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, And Sexuality

Intimate apparel, a term in use by 1921, has played a crucial role in the development of the "naughty but nice" feminine ideal that emerged in the twentieth century. Jill Fields's engaging, imaginative, and sophisticated history of twentieth-century lingerie tours the world of women's intimate apparel and arrives at nothing less than a sweeping view of twentieth-century women's history via the undergarments they wore. Illustrated throughout and drawing on a wealth of evidence from fashion magazines, trade periodicals, costume artifacts, Hollywood films, and the records of organized labor, An Intimate Affair is a provocative examination of the ways cultural meanings are orchestrated by the "fashion-industrial complex," and the ways in which individuals and groups embrace, reject, or derive meaning from these everyday, yet highly significant, intimate articles of clothing.

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An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality by Jill Fields

An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality

Intimate apparel, a term in use by 1921, has played a crucial role in the development of the "naughty but nice" feminine ideal that emerged in the twentieth century. Jill Fields's engaging, imaginative, and sophisticated history of twentieth-centuryMore Intimate apparel, a term in use by 1921, has played a crucial role in the development of the "naughty but nice" feminine ideal that emerged in the twentieth century. Jill Fields's engaging, imaginative, and sophisticated history of twentieth-century lingerie tours the world of women's intimate apparel and arrives at nothing less than a sweeping view of twentieth-century women's history via the undergarments they wore. Illustrated throughout and drawing on a wealth of evidence from fashion magazines, trade periodicals, costume artifacts, Hollywood films, and the records of organized labor, An Intimate Affair is a provocative examination of the ways cultural meanings are orchestrated by the "fashion-industrial complex," and the ways in which individuals and groups embrace, reject, or derive meaning from these everyday, yet highly significant, intimate articles of clothing. Less

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Charles rated it liked it

almost 7 years ago

I don't completely buy all the now-standard rhetoric about the male gaze (as though it's a one-way street) and the assumption that all men objectify all women but not the reverse (so, uh, what happens when you're talking about gay men gazing at women [or men:] and gay wom. Read full review

Vanessa rated it really liked it

almost 7 years ago

Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic, if a little high-brow. Fields intertwines the cultural meaning of black lingerie, desire for more racialized sexuality, and the twin desires of sexuality/mortality with grace and poise in her chapter on black undergarments. Some parts can. Read full review

Tammy rated it liked it

over 5 years ago

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An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality

Intimate apparel, a term in use by 1921, has played a crucial role in the development of the "naughty but nice" feminine ideal that emerged in the twentieth century. Jill Fields's engaging, imaginative, and sophisticated history of twentieth-century lingerie tours the world of women's intimate apparel and arrives at nothing less than a sweeping view of twentieth-century women's history via the undergarments they wore. Illustrated throughout and drawing on a wealth of evidence from fashion magazines, trade periodicals, costume artifacts, Hollywood films, and the records of organized labor, An Intimate Affair is a provocative examination of the ways cultural meanings are orchestrated by the "fashion-industrial complex," and the ways in which individuals and groups embrace, reject, or derive meaning from these everyday, yet highly significant, intimate articles of clothing.

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An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality

An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality

Intimate apparel, a term in use by 1921, has played a crucial role in the development of the "naughty but nice" feminine ideal that emerged in the twentieth century. Jill Fields's engaging, imaginative, and sophisticated history of twentieth-century lingerie tours the world of women's intimate apparel and arrives at nothing less than a sweeping view of twentieth-century women's history via the undergarments they wore. Illustrated throughout and drawing on a wealth of evidence from fashion magazines, trade periodicals, costume artifacts, Hollywood films, and the records of organized labor, An Intimate Affair is a provocative examination of the ways cultural meanings are orchestrated by the "fashion-industrial complex," and the ways in which individuals and groups embrace, reject, or derive meaning from these everyday, yet highly significant, intimate articles of clothing.

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An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality

An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality. By Jill Fields (Berkeley, University of California University Press, 2007. xvi plus 375 pp. $21.95 paperback).

In her remarkable book, An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality, Jill Fields has written an impressively wide-ranging history. She sets herself the daunting task of exploring "the history of undergarments in modern America both as manufactured objects and cultural icons, intertwining their fabrication and distribution as mass-produced goods and objects of material culture with their construction and circulation as representations of the female body and producers of meaning" (5). And she succeeds. While most historians of fashion, sexuality and the body focus on either consumption or production, Fields studies them in tandem and in a way that never wanders far from critical issues of power. In fact, she argues, in the early twentieth century, a new transnational "fashion-industrial complex" took hold as a result of the second industrial revolution. Just as garment workers stitched undergarments, piece by piece, Fields stitches together a complex, inter-disciplinary secondary literature with disparate and copious pieces of documentary evidence including oral histories, popular movies, fashion magazines, novels, trade journals, advertisements and material artifacts. Amply and beautifully illustrated, it opens with four histories of specific undergarments: drawers, corsets, bras, and black lingerie, then shifts to thematic analyses of advertising, the garment industry, and Christian Dior's New Look, with a closing overview of "feminist intimate apparel art." At times, the breadth of Fields' research and ideas make for difficult going and the overall narrative is a bit choppy, but taking one's time with this book is well worth the effort.

Though Fields presents a chronological narrative, each chapter puts forward a complex, self-contained thesis that merits close reading. In the first chapter, "Drawers," Fields explains that in the nineteenth century, when women first began wearing divided garments, open drawers demarcated gender difference (men wore closed drawers) as well as both modesty (open drawers presented no scandal to "passionless" women) and eroticism (once married, sexual accessibility). But by the 1920s, closed drawers became pro forma. Why the shift? Fields, surveying everything from extant undergarments to silent films, argues that modern notions of female sexuality and the New Woman made open drawers risque. Similarly, in her analyses of "Corset and Girdles," she argues that as twentieth century social changes decreased the "need" for women to wear corsets, manufacturers quickly developed new rationales rooted in science, race and gender in order to protect and advance their profits. Using niche marketing, standardized sizing and corset saleswomen, manufacturers campaigned against the "corsetless evil." Where corsets once stood guard against "moral turpitude," they now offered protection against aging, ill-health, figure flaws and confusion with the uncivilized, "thick" bodies of the racially impure.

"Brassiers," which Fields states are "a twentieth century garment," details the evolution of the garment from corset covers and camisoles to the introduction of cup sizing in the 1930s and the Maidenform padded bras of the 1940s (81). Highlighting the relationship between "pin-up girls," Hollywood glamour and young GIs overseas, Fields argues that brassieres fetishized large, firm, separated, uplifted breasts but with the right bra any woman could wield the "illusionist's power to captivate." In doing so, women won not only male attention but also since eroticism had shifted from "breasts to sweater to glamour," they now had "a method to enhance their power as a force to be reckoned with in themselves" (112).

Fields' treatment of black lingerie ranges from a discussion of the historically contingent relationship between nineteenth century mourning clothes, death and sex to a detailed exploration of twentieth century "cultural constructions of blackness, black female sexuality, and black clothing" all to show its specific historical meanings and changes in them over time (133). Several mini-histories could stand alone within this chapter including sections on Saartjie Baartman (the Hottentot Venus), the history of black lingerie in popular film, and the psychoanalytic theories of Lacan, Freud and Bataille, but standing at the center of it all is a provocative discussion of black lingerie's racialized content both in its production and consumption

In the final three chapters and Epilogue, Fields focuses more exclusively on issues of representation. "Invisible Women" highlights the way undergarment advertisers excised the female body from their copy (via cutouts, silhouettes, partial bodies, etc.) which shifted "the sign away from the body," so that "lingerie then becomes anthropomorphized" (216). As a result, women, whether the missing body in the ads, the "female spectator" (and her potential lesbian desire) or the garment worker and her harsh work conditions, were replaced by the increasingly "fetishized" lingerie (216). "The Production of Glamour" explicates the key role of garment workers in both the literal production of lingerie and also their delight as well as political uses of their own fashions. Fields points out that "intimate apparel workers who made public claims to glamour and fashion blurred. distinctions [between the fashion and garment industries] and disrupted naturalizing ideologies that limited workers' ability to shape the cultural meaning of the garments they made" (255).

Fields titles her final chapter "Return of the Repressed (Waist), 1947-1952" to demonstrate the limiting, conservative nature of Christian Dior's New Look (even as women mediated this design in ways that also offered them much pleasure), a particularly sad turn from the more embodied, robust World War II fashions. She contends, "the New Look succeeded because of a number of French and American postwar economic and labor concerns; reformulating gender distinctions and relying on conventions of the female bodily display became a means of resolving the difficult transition to a peacetime economy and culture" (258). The Epilogue builds on this political angle with an insightful, lively overview of "feminist intimate apparel art." Even with the tremendous efforts of the feminist movement over the last forty years, Fields suggests that "the contradictions persist as feminists seek greater joys and pleasures by striving to understand, contest, and transcend the appeal of feminized material culture and its power to bind women in many ways" (288).

In addition to its many strengths, Fields' study does have weaknesses. First, she sometimes makes direct, causal links between specific alterations in intimate apparel and American women's social or political status that require more explanation. For example, in regard to drawers, she suggests that "when women publically asserted their own claims to sexual pleasure, power, and economic independence, an open crotch was no longer respectable." (42) While it might make intuitive sense, the explicit interconnections lack explication. My second concern is that though Fields aimed to "show how women's efforts to shape their lives and their bodies according to their own desires and designs," we actually find out little about women's actual feelings or perceptions about intimate apparel or their bodies (14). Thus, women's subjectivity remains an area ripe for further study. In the meantime, best to enjoy this wonderful volume.

Bridgewater State College

Margaret A. Lowe

Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality by Jill Fields

An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality

▾ Book descriptions

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0520252616. Paperback)

Intimate apparel, a term in use by 1921, has played a crucial role in the development of the "naughty but nice" feminine ideal that emerged in the twentieth century. Jill Fields's engaging, imaginative, and sophisticated history of twentieth-century lingerie tours the world of women's intimate apparel and arrives at nothing less than a sweeping view of twentieth-century women's history via the undergarments they wore. Illustrated throughout and drawing on a wealth of evidence from fashion magazines, trade periodicals, costume artifacts, Hollywood films, and the records of organized labor, An Intimate Affair is a provocative examination of the ways cultural meanings are orchestrated by the "fashion-industrial complex," and the ways in which individuals and groups embrace, reject, or derive meaning from these everyday, yet highly significant, intimate articles of clothing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:50 -0400)

▾ Library descriptions

Presents the history of twentieth-century lingerie. This book examines the ways cultural meanings are orchestrated by the 'fashion-industrial complex, ' and the ways in which individuals and groups embrace, reject, or derive meaning from these everyday, yet significant, intimate articles of clothing. … (more )

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An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality, by Jill Fields - History in Review

An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality. By Jill Fields. (University of California Press. Berkeley: 2007. Pg. 392. 71 b/w Photographs.) ISBN 13: 978-0-520-25261-5.

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - June 18, 2007

Women's underclothing has long served a myriad of purposes, from protection and modesty to creating the foundation upon which the outer clothing is molded. The corset, farthingale, and bra are notable examples of the later use. Women's underclothing also has a sexual component that affects not only the women's sexuality, but that of any potential partners.

In An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality Jill Fields, an Associate Professor of History at California State University in Fresno, examines the fascinating and understudied subject of women's lingerie. Part history and part sociological study, An Intimate Affair traces the transformation, beginning in the early 1900's, of women's underclothing from utilitarian items to that of lingerie, and the accompanying eroticism associated with this new style of undergarments.

In this sweeping overview of the state of women's intimate apparel in the twentieth century, Fields not only looks at how women's undergarments have changed over time, but also how they have been manufactured, advertised, and embraced by women. She also examines the social implications of these changes, and how the varied meanings associated with these garments have impacted women's sexuality, gender stereotyping, employment, self-worth, and much more.

On the surface, the history of women's intimate apparel may not seem like a serious topic for an academic study. However, Fields amply illustrates the importance that just such a study has in aiding our understanding of the social and cultural implications of women's undergarments and the significant role that they play in women's lives. This book also ads to the body of work in the study of costumes and the history of fashion.

An Intimate Affair contains a wealth of illustration drawn from fashion and trade magazines, films and posters. The text also includes copious endnotes that serve as a fertile ground for anyone seeking to explore this provocative subject in greater depth. This book is ideal for use as a supplemental text in university level courses related to women's studies, sociology, fashion, and history. This thoughtful overview of the history of women's intimate apparel in the 20th century will also enthrall general readers with an interest in 20th century cultural history or fashion.

Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns . edited by Kristina Harris .
A Complete Lady's Wardrobe - Scaled dressmaker patterns for fifty ladies' garments, circa the 1890's. Illustrations of the garments are included.

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Book Review: An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie And Sexuality

An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie and Sexuality

I’m really glad I read An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie and Sexuality by Jill Fields. I was really looking for a more academic lingerie text and this definitely fit the bill. I enjoyed the combination of history with feminist criticism and it definitely got me thinking.

The book is about the history and the sociological implications of lingerie in the United States in the 20th century. This is not necessarily a book ideal for the casual reader– a lot of the terminology and ideas assume familiarity with philosophical, psychological and feminist ideas of the 20th and 21st centuries. As someone who only just graduated from university where I studied a lot of similar subject matter, this academic rigor felt like an old friend (I never thought I’d get so excited about references to Foucault). If that sounds unfamiliar or intimidating, you can still enjoy this book; just accept that there are some obscure bits and don’t let a little bit of Freud put you off.

I was fascinated to learn that throughout the 19th century, women usually wore open-crotch drawers (i.e. crotchless) and that these were considered modest, as opposed to closed-crotch drawers which were considered scandalous because they were too similar to trousers and therefore threatened the boundaries of gender difference. Fields explains that open crotch drawers were easier when wearing a corset because they didn’t need to be removed to perform bodily functions, but also that women were seen as constantly sexually available to their husbands. In the 1910’s and 20’s, the rise of close-crotched drawers was considered scandalous and deviant because of the way they resembled men’s trousers and the fact that they also signalled that women were taking ownership of their own sexuality by controlling access to their genitalia. As quickly as the 30’s however, the meaning was reversed: closed-crotch knickers were considered modest and crotchless as risqué and daring (as indeed it has remained today). Fields explains this change by saying that as women’s ownership of their own sexuality became more prevalent and therefore stopped being so clearly in the domain of a husband, this perceived sexual availability was considered dangerous and uncontrolled.

One of the most interesting ideas that Fields discusses is the way in which lingerie possessed fetishistic qualities because they were more acceptable stand-ins for women’s sexualized bodies. This was especially true for corsets and girdles, but still has implications for bras and panties, because, as these pieces of underwear were considered essentials for women to wear, they also functioned in large part as a way to construct womanhood and femininity. The idea of the “invisible woman” that existed in many advertisements of the time, which was a way of representing lingerie without including a nude woman, shows how it was lingerie itself that could stand in for women’s bodies and that the piece of clothing, rather than the female body, would be imbued with the qualities of femininity. This is definitely an interesting idea to consider when thinking about the construction of gender and how lingerie can be seen as a source of femininity or gender identity.

Fields also discusses race and how the sexual implications of black lingerie might have roots in the stereotype of the heightened sexuality of black women as opposed to the stereotype of the chaste and virginal white woman. I found this idea very intriguing, especially when you look at the ways these stereotypes play out in contemporary society. I think Fields dealt well with race, but I think there could be another whole book on the way the history of racial stereotypes affect the way women of color and white women are portrayed in lingerie (as sexually aggressive vs. vulnerable, for example).

Fields covers plenty of other interesting topics, too. She looks at the history of the undergarment industry as well as the way lingerie played an important part in feminist art of the 70s. There is also an interesting section on at the way corsets and girdles have been marketed and the evident terror of undergarment manufacturers that women would abandon their corsets or girdles. All in all, there were a lot of fascinating things that I learned from this book and I would definitely recommend it to someone who wants to take a more theoretical and sociological look at the history of lingerie in America in the 20th century. It definitely raises a lot of questions, and made me think about the language around of lingerie today and how its presentation both differs from and resembles historical precedent.

Have any of you read this book? Do you want to? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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