A Perfect Fit (Paperback)

Clothes, Character, and the Promise of America

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

Holt Paperbacks, 9780805054873, 272pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2002

List Price: 15.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


While fashions of the rich and famous have been endlessly chronicled, little attention has been paid to the meaning of clothes for everyone else. Yet between 1890 and 1940, as ready-to-wear came into its own, fashion for ordinary Americans played an increasingly important role in shaping the national character. Drawing on advertisements and health manuals, sermons and songs, acclaimed historian Jenna Weissman Joselit shows how the length of a woman's skirt, the shape of a man's hat, and the height of a pair of heels enabled citizens of every faith, color, and class to feel part of the modern nation.

Engaging, imaginative, and original, A Perfect Fit uncovers a time in our history when getting dressed was more about fitting in than standing out.

About the Author

Jenna Weissman Joselit is currently visiting professor of American studies at Princeton University and the author of numerous works of cultural history, including "The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture 1880-1950 "(winner of the Jewish Book Award in History). Joselit has also curated and consulted on more than thirty exhibitions throughout the country. She lives in New York City.

Praise For A Perfect Fit: Clothes, Character, and the Promise of America

". . . we now know what morality looked like when it was a shared ideal and we could find it at Macy's."
--Laura Shapiro, The New York Times Book Review

". . . By respectfully researching history, instead of trying to rewrite it, she unearths fascinating evidence of how America once lived."
--Pia Nordlinger, The Wall Street Journal

". . . illuminates the prodigious feat of acculturation that turned millions into middle-class Americans at the beginning of the last century . . . Fascinating."
--JoAnn Gutin, Newsday