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Cheryl Roberts: Trouser Tensions in Britain the Interwar Years
17-20 Nov, Costume Colloquium V, Florence, Italy.

Cheryl Roberts: Disrespectful Foreign Innovations.Trouser Tensions in Britain the Interwar Years

Costume Colloquium V: Restraint and Excess in Fashion and Dress. Florence, Italy. 17-20 November 2016.

Cheryl Roberts (Senior Lecturer in Fashion History) has been invited to speak at the Costume Colloquium’s fifth international conference “Restraint and Excess in Fashion and Dress” to be held in Florence, Italy in November of 2016. The conference will highlight historic, geographic, psychological and sociological accounts of restrictions imposed by dress codes and sumptuary legislation.

Cheryl’s paper will define and discuss to which, if in any real way, women had achieved freedom and emancipation in their dress by 1939, through the notion of liminal space, a place where social and symbolic types of people, the rule-breakers and counter-cultural, could behave with little limitation. The issues that will be covered include the development of the acceptability of trouser wearing by women in ‘liminal’ spaces, and fashion as a representation of modernity and femininity. Trousers will be followed as a modern symbol to debate the counter cultural sexual challenge. To what level did they push the boundaries of restrictive respectability and why were trousers rarely, if at all, worn by conventional women across class in the period 1920-1939?