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Fashion Design | Theatre and Performance Studies


Kaarin Johnston


My thesis was a study of the different styles of women's clothing worn in Minnesota during the 1870's. I have had two basic purposes for the study reported in this thesis. I hoped to provide an understanding of the influences that affected the clothing worn by women in Minnesota during the years 1870-1880. I also desired to assemble an illustrated record of typical women's fashion during this period. Pioneer women, who settled even in remote corners of the state, still tried to keep up to date with the fashion prevalent in the rest of the nation, but concessions to fashion were made because of lack of money and the harsh working conditions on the frontier. I have provided an overview of the forces which were acting on women's lives shape their clothing choices. First I examined what was influencing clothing styles throughout the country, as fashionable women's clothing in Minnesota generally followed the styles on the East Coast. I then examined how conditions specific to Minnesota affected fashion and styles throughout the state.