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Ready-to-Wear Clothes = Opportunity

Left: Paper doll, 1920s-1940s, gift of Carolyn and Donald Grepke. Top right: Sewing machine, 1920s. Bottom right: Ready-made shoes.

By the 1890s, both men and women were able to buy off-the-rack clothing in department stores and mail-order catalogs that was mass-produced in the same styles at different price levels. Americans began to dress more alike, obscuring the differences between them. 

Explore ready-to-wear objects through primary source materials:

Why did garment workers strike?

What difference did hangers make?

Anyone can dress like a movie star!

When did bathing become swimming?

Something for everyone

More for everyone