Making? Whoopee!

Work in progress. Blocked felt crowns drying in the sun. Crown and brim workshop, Stockport Hat Works, May 2016.

Practice, practice, practice. Blocked felt hats drying in the sun. Work-in-progress at the ‘crown and brim’ workshop, Stockport Hat Works, May 2016.

As the academic year – with its teaching, timetables and general bustle – rolls to a close, I have found myself with time to turn to creative pursuits.  I have to tread carefully here in order not to be contrary.  I firmly, very firmly, believe that (academic) writing is itself creative practice.  For me, filling a blank page or computer screen with text is very much a making process.   But all too often and too frustratingly (and here I begin my manifesto), writing, especially of the academic variety is overlooked, or even misunderstood, as ever being a creatively-led production or as requiring deliberate practice.  Publishable, peer review-ready, words and sentences do not just fall from the sky (nor this professor’s fingertips).  Not at all.  Practice makes perfect.  And even then it still hurts.  (I’ll go ahead here, albeit reluctantly, and cite Gladwell’s spurious-seeming claim that it requires 10,000 hours* of practice to achieve mastery in any given field).

At school, we’re often encouraged to be scientific in our reporting and to attempt objectivity.  The academic world is  viewed by some as  being about the production of facts, of figures and – heaven forfend – the pursuit of truth.  The Age of Reason (back in the long eighteenth century) had a lot to answer for in this regard, since it gave rise to a scientific method that priveleged reality over myth (if you’ll pardon the philosophy-lite explanation).  The point I’m getting around to making is that theory and practice sometimes, too often, seem to inhabit different worlds and are pursued by different people as different concerns.  (Yes, that, too, is a vast simplification).  In many ways, I’m referring to myself  and my own situation here.  I’m acutely aware of the dilemma whereby I tend – or have tended – to write and to theorise about the (products of) creative process without being, well, very creative about it.  My thinking has been (somewhat) divorced from any making or the materiality of that which is made.  I’ve been busy producing words about things rather than producing things or engaging with them as things.  At least, not until fairly recently.

This dilemma between my positioning as a theorist and practitioner isn’t easily reconciled or quickly resolved.  The dilemma has, however, opened up a welcome and fertile avenue to explore further and I am inching along it little by little using a variety of means, as follows.

Firstly, I’ve been trying to become more familiar with some of the literature on practice-led research, creative knowledge production and materiality.  There’s any number of authors to go at in that regard from Heiddegger to Sennett.  Tim Ingold’s work, emerging out of anthropology, has been useful.  In his celebrated article, Materials Against Materiality (2007), he makes a compelling case for the study of things through a practical engagement with them.  He gives the examples of sawing logs, building a wall, knapping a stone and rowing a boat (and, invoking a similar thesis, Martin Heidegger, famously, writes of the hammer).  Discovery and knowledge about the material world is, for Ingold, about processes rather than finished products.  He asks (2007, p. 3):

might we not learn more about the material composition of the inhabited world by engaging quite directly with the stuff we want to understand…could not such engagement – working practically with materials – offer a more powerful procedure of discovery than an approach bent on the abstract analysis of things already made?

Interesting?  I’ve charted some of this terrain in a bit more detail in my latest essay (published THIS WEEK as part of my bigger The Dress Issue project).

Secondly, and to return full circle to the point at which I began this blog entry, I’ve dedicated much of the summer (so far) to making things (and particularly, but not exclusively, to developing my millinery practice).  I’ve been under the expert tutelage of Sue Carter and Marie Thornton, taking their excellent hatting workshops at both the Stockport Hat Works and, now that I’ve relocated to the hills near Huddersfield, The Millinery Studio, which, as chance would have it, is right on my doorstep.  I spent last weekend, for example, working with (read: ‘wrestling with’) a material called buckram in order to make foundation shapes for covered headpieces.  Success comes in small triumphs as a novice hat maker and I was delighted to win the close-fought battle of stretching, shaping and pinning the wetted, absurdly sticky, buckram into a form that was wrinkle-free yet suitably head-shaped.  Whilst Ingold may endorse working practically with materials, he says nothing of those materials intent on working against you.

*10,000 hours?  Apparently, that’s 90minutes every day for twenty years.  So, let’s get cracking.

Advertisements

The Dress Issue

My opening editorial essay in ‘The Dress Issue’ makes a dual claim that there is: dress FOR leisure and dress AS leisure. The latter includes the leisurely pastimes of knitting, sewing and the hobbyist craft production of clothing.

Hear ye!  Hear ye!  I’m delighted to announce that my latest publication has, finally, hit the bookshelves.  I’ve edited a double special issue of Annals of Leisure Research (published by Taylor and Francis) titled ‘The Dress Issue: Part One’ (out now) and (out in July 2016) ‘The Dress Issue: Part Two’.

Together, the two issues (vol. 19, no. 2 and 3) present ten scholarly articles (and one Critical Commentary from the sociologist and leading expert on consumption, Professor Steve Miles) written by academics from around the world (New Zealand, Australia, the USA and UK) and from a range of disciplines: geography, leisure studies, fashion and sport history to name but a few.  There is also an extended editorial essay, authored by yours truly, that offers a sort of manifesto for research on the connections between leisure and dress.  My proposition in the essay is that ‘leisuring dress’ and ‘dressing leisure’ are processes worthy of more sustained attention by academics (I take a further nine thousand words to elaborate the point in my piece!).  To read more, please head to the journal’s website and download a FREE copy of my introductory essay (and give my altmetrics a boost, too).

Articles in The Dress Issue, Part One are:

Dave Day, ‘Natational Dress: Functionality, Fashion and the Fracturing of Separate Spheres in Victorian Britain’

Kathleen Horton, Tiziana Ferrero Regis and Alice Payne , ‘The Hard Work of Leisure: Healthy Life, Active Wear and Lorna Jane’

Hamish Crocket, ‘Tie Dye Shirts and Compression Leggings: An Examination of Cultural Tensions Within Ultimate Frisbee Via Dress’

Jon Anderson, ‘On Trend and On The Wave: Carving Cultural Identity Through Active Surf Dress’

Katherine Dashper and Michael St. John, ‘Clothes Make The Rider? Equestrian Competition Dress and Sporting Identity’

The line up of forthcoming articles in The Dress Issue, Part Two (number 3, July) is:

Amy Twigger Holroyd, ‘Perceptions and Practices of Dress-Related Leisure: Shopping, Sorting, Making and Mending’

Sian Hindle, Rachael Colley and Anne Boultwood, ‘On Performing Art Jewellery: Identity Play As Leisure Activity’

Emma Spence, ‘Eye-Spy Wealth: Cultural Capital and “Knowing Luxury” in the Identification of and Engagement with the Superrich’

Michael O’Regan, ‘A Backpacker Habitus: The Body and Dress, Embodiment and the Self’

Dina Smith and Jose Blanco, ‘”I Just Don’t Think I Look Right In A Lot of Modern Clothes…”: Historically Inspired Dress As Leisure Dress’

As with so many artefacts (if a journal publication may be considered such a thing, which I believe it can and that writing can be posited as a form of making and a creative practice), the final product belies the behind-the-scene processes involved in its making. This has been a two-year long project (Windows Explorer reminds me that I circulated the original Call For Papers way back in February 2014) involving many collaborators, many words, many decisions and many hours of carving and crafting (not just on my part but on those of my contributors, peer reviewers and editor-in-chief.  Together, that numbers well over fifty experts). I hope you enjoy the combined fruits of my labours and those of my collaborators. Freshly squeezed and ready to imbibe.

 

Twists and Turns

Side-saddlers are oh, so smart! Scrupulously correct position in the seat, with and without skirt, as illustrated in Doreen Houblon's instruction manual of 1938, titled 'Side-Saddle'.

Side-saddlers are oh, so smart! Scrupulously correct position in the seat, with and without skirt, as illustrated in Doreen Houblon’s instruction manual of 1938, titled ‘Side-Saddle’ (Country Life and Scribner’s)

To every thing there is a season – turn, turn, turn! Academic life has a certain rhythm.  Annually goes the round of semesters, assessment boards, exam results and graduation ceremonies.  This circularity was brought home to me when my latest publication dropped on the doormat (well, when it dropped on the MMU receptionist’s desk in actual fact), just last week.

What’s the publication?  It’s a chapter, on side-saddle dress, titled ‘Riding Dress History with A Twist:  The Side-Saddle Habit and the Horse in the Early Twentieth Century’ and it appears in a book, Domesticated Animals and Leisure, edited by my much-respected colleague, Neil Carr, from the University of Otago, Dunedin and published by Palgrave Macmillan.

But where’s the circularity?  I first presented a draft version of the chapter way back last February (2015) at the annual Sport and Leisure History symposium, held at MMU Cheshire.  Then, the piece was still in its gestation period and the symposium, master-minded by Dr Dave Day (another valued colleague and sport historian par excellence), proved a useful opportunity to test out some of my ideas and, perhaps even more importantly, to kick start me and my thinking and writing into action.  Twelve months on, as I now begin to draft out an entirely new and different paper (on dude ranching and vacation dress), for delivery at the 2016 Sport and Leisure History symposium, the marking of a passing year is never more timely.

So, without stepping on my publisher’s toes, here’s a brief snippet from my ‘Riding Dress History With A Twist’ chapter.  My premise is that the horse is too often overlooked in scholarly analyses of riding dress and that dress historians forget to consider that side-saddle skirts and ‘habit dress’ were intended to be worn in the pursuit of beastly activity on the back of a horse – and that this duly impacted and influenced the style and design.

Goodrum, in Carr (2015: 193-4):

…no matter what the style of the habit skirt, it is undeniable that it remained a garment of significant material yardage, comprising a sizeable quantity of darkly hued, hard wearing melton, whipcord or broadcloth textile.  If these skirts were unweildy for the female rider, then they too interfered with, or were at least troublesome to, the horse.  Horses were trained specially to carry side saddles, and as part of this process of breaking in, they also had to be trained to become accustomed to the vast expanse of fabric that was the side saddle skirt.  With the potential to flap about in the wind, to fly up over a jump and to flop around on mounting, the skirt was a source of unease and anxiety for an inexperienced horse.  As Houblon (1938: 3) warned “when a horse encounters ‘drapery’ for the first time he may quite possibly think it strange.” Hayes (1903 [1893]: 440), too, offered counsel on those horses that she described as being ‘habit shy’.  “I use this term”, she wrote, “to designate the trick that some horses, chiefly those which are unaccustomed to the side-saddle, have of sidling away from the skirt.”  Both experts – Houblon and Hayes alike – recommended that a groom be engaged to assist in the steady initiation of the horse to mocked-up approximations of the skirt’s fullness.  For example, a rug worn by a groom at exercise or a long mackintosh were suggested as proxy devices to be used in the training of a habit-shy equine.

 

Gore Blimey!

Speaking a thousand words... Title slide from International Conference of Historical Geographers at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, July 2015

Speaking a thousand words… Title slide from presentation to the International Conference of Historical Geographers at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, July 2015

Last month, and getting in touch with my geographical roots, I returned to the ‘mother ship’ that is the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) at Kensington Gore in London.  The occasion was the International Conference of Historical Geographers (ICHG), an enormous 5 day-long gathering with a 40 year pedigree.  The logistics involved in organising a conference on the scale of the ICHG are almost unfathomable.  Near on 700 delegates, 60% of whom travelled to Kensington Gore from overseas, were in attendance.  The conference booklet (which detailed the abstracts of all the presentations) was the size of a telephone directory.  Following in the footsteps of Darwin and Livingstone, it seems that present day geographers who frequent the RGS remain up for a challenge.  I refer here to the sticks of Brighton Rock supplied in our complimentary conference goodie bags, which were not for ingestion by the faint hearted (or, for that matter, by the weak toothed).

I delivered my paper, on ‘Dressing For The Dude Ranch In 1930s America’, as part of the programme comprising the ‘Materiality and Historical Geography’ session.  The session presented me with a well-timed opportunity to test out some of the themes and ideas I had encountered during my Buckskin and Ballgowns project at the Autry museum archives in LA only a month or so prior.  I found room in my allocated 15 minute presentation slot to include some of my blogged-about findings on denim and divorce ranches.  I also forwarded my thesis: that the dude ranch vacation of the 1930s was not only about holiday makers dressing up as their wild west idols but that it was also a space in which a novel cult of dressing down was emergent.  Being short on time, I made full use of the opportunity to illustrate my paper with supporting images, and showed off the rich – and sometimes just plain amusing – visual sources I’d been working with out in Los Angeles.  A picture, after all, is able to speak a thousand words.  And there is no greater truth when it comes to the ‘hit and run’ scheduling of an academic conference.

Many years ago, as a doctoral student, my PhD supervisor assured me that only good things could come of delivering a conference paper.  Today, I remain convinced that conferences are worth the effort, or efforts (including those labours that involve searching for the funds to support travel and attendance; actually having something relevant to say; and, mustering the courage to set oneself up in front of peers).  One of the ‘good things’ relates less to one’s own work and more to others’.  I was thrilled and delighted to share a stage with some other academics working in my broad area (for example, Merle Patchett on the study of incomplete or half-made historical objects, and Bethan Bide on repaired clothing held by the Museum of London).  But I was equally thrilled and delighted to engage with subjects outside of my area, too (the BBC 2LO transmitter and the InterCity125 train among them).

Also ‘good’ was the Society’s close proximity to Exhibition Road and, especially, to the Victoria and Albert Museum.  After my conference session, I hot-footed it (stick of rock and all) to the V&A’s Savage Beauty/McQueen ‘blockbuster’ show, which lived up to all of its rave reviews.  Even in its final few days, the exhibition was jam-packed (and possibly even over-stuffed) with visitors taking in the awesome theatrics of it all.  Viewing McQueen’s work tout ensemble was a reminder of just how influential his designs were (and remain), not only conceptually, but also on the more commercial world of the everyday wardrobe, impacting everything from hipsters to peplums.  I also managed to squeeze in a late-entry ticket to the new ‘Shoes: Pleasure and Pain’ exhibition, which is bound to be as equally enticing a draw card.  But just one thing: explain to me, V&A, why no inclusion of podiatry or orthopaedics?

Good things, so the saying goes, are threefold. Thirdly and finally, then, I returned home from my adventures in London to find a copy of my latest publication on the doormat.  Good things, in this particular case, come in brown cardboard packaging from Routledge.  [Click here for book details – noting chapter 3 in particular].

Westward-Ho!

'Dude Ranch Vacations' print advert for Northern Pacific/Yellowstone Park Rail Line, in The Sportsman magazine, March 1933.  (BNSF Railway Company)

‘Dude Ranch Vacations’ print advert for Northern Pacific/Yellowstone Park Rail Line, in The Sportsman magazine, March 1933. (BNSF Railway Company)

The more eagle-eyed of my followers will have noticed that a new-ish tab has appeared on The Style Stakes’ menu bar, a tab titled ‘Buckskin and Ballgowns’.  This is the name of my latest research project, which sees me taking up a month-long Viva Foundation Fellowship funded by the Autry National Center for Western Heritage in Los Angeles.  Very soon, I will be headed ‘out West’, to sunny California, to spend a blissful (and no doubt blistering) month in the archives at the Autry researching female dude ranchers and resort wear from the interwar period.  For a longer explanation of the project, click on the Buckskins and Ballgowns tab post-haste.

On the face of it, a project about dude ranch vacations (dude ranches being working holidays where Easterners could sample a version of cowboy life) may seem an obscure departure from my usual scholarly territory of riding dress, sportswear and American fashion.  But my forthcoming foray into ranch- and resort-wear isn’t so far removed from my regular interests.  In fact, it seems (to me) an obvious trajectory on my interwar, equestrian, female, fashion research journey.  Dude ranch vacations were, essentially, horse riding holidays and peaked in popularity in the 1920s and 1930s as Easterners sought respite from the agitations of modern living.  Dude ranches were opportunities for play and playfulness in the sublime setting of the great outdoors and the process of ‘dressing up’ for the West (to varying degrees of authenticity) was part and parcel of that escape from the formalities of (sub)-urban routine.  Dudes (the term used to describe, sometimes somewhat hapless, Eastern tourists) were often motivated and influenced by portrayals of the West on the silver screen.  The Hollywood movie industry was booming and the buying and wearing of a theatrical interpretation of ranch costume enabled dudes to perform the role of cowboy and bring their fantasies closer to life.

Travelling to and from dude ranches was all part of the exciting vacation experience, too.  Modern, luxurious, airliners and long distance rail routes catered for tourists making the journey West.  Many rail road operators teamed up with dude ranch owners to promote their related services and packaged these through enticing, richly-illustrated, promotional materials such as posters, print ads and brochures (and I’ll be working on some of these original travel brochures as part of my study at the Autry).  Indeed, these tantalising marketing images, which were featured in equestrian and sporting magazines of the day, were what first piqued my curiosity for Western riding dress.  As a researcher, seeing these, I began to realise that there were stories to be told about interwar riding dress beyond my studies of the East coast formality of hunting turnout, side saddle attire and show ring uniforms.  And thus, I too now am making my own journey West (in every sense).

Back in 2012, I very, very briefly referenced the three ‘nodes’ of dude ranch vacations, Western riding dress and rail road advertising in one of my published articles, laying the groundwork, I guess, for the bigger ‘Buckskins and Ballgowns’ project that is, only now, coming to fruition.  That article was a piece, in the main, about female equestrians and formal dress codes (titled ‘A Severity of Plainness’) but towards its end there are hints towards alternative versions of riding dress.  The most relevant extract refers to the Northern Pacific ad illustrated, top left, in this blog post, and reads:

“Riding holidays also emerged in another, very different, form during the 1920s and 1930s.  Dude ranch vacations were increasingly popular and opened up ‘The West’ as a viable destination and leisure space for Society women.  Importantly, the ‘Old World’ regulations of English riding turn-out were considered inappropriately uptight or ‘academic’ to use the words of Amory (1933, 47), in the more casual American ‘wild’ West.  This point is visualized in the imagery (see image, top left) used by Northern Pacific to promote ranching holidays in the Montana-Wyoming Rockies (The Sportsman 1933: inside cover).  A young woman is perched on a cliff top gazing across the wide open spaces of the West.  Her tousled hair blows, untamed, in the wind.  Her bright red neckerchief hangs loosely.  Her hands-on-hips stance is unchecked.  The freedom from centuries old Anglo-European codes is marked symbolically through her appearance.  She is dressed for riding but not in the traditional sense.  As much as the 1920s and 1930s were about the enforcement of long-held codes in riding dress, they were also a period in which conventions were re-written for the emerging spatial and sartorial territory of the American West (Albrecht, Farrel-Beck and Winakor, 1988).  The West marked a literal and metaphorical frontier for female riding dress.”

Citation: Goodrum, Alison (2012) ‘A Severity of Plainness: The Culture of Female Riding Dress in America During the 1920s and 1930s’ Annals of Leisure Research, 15(1): pp. 87-105.

 

The Mind Blog-gles

Alice Gregory’s article on Hawes, ‘The Most Brilliant American Fashion Designer’, in ‘T’ Magazine, NYTimes, 12th June 2014

Alice Gregory’s article on Hawes, ‘The Most Brilliant American Fashion Designer’, in ‘T’ Magazine, NYTimes, 12th June 2014

They say that the UK is one of the most surveilled nations in the world with CCTV cameras watching almost our every step.  Who’s looking?  Who’s listening?  And what is being watched, or done, or said?

Big Brother, and paranoia, aside, it’s interesting for me, as a blogger, to contemplate who is reading my writing.  Who’s peering at my posts?  Who’s ‘taking a butcher’s’ at my blog?  ‘Audience’, ‘followers’, ‘devotees’, ‘patrons’, ‘habitues’ (call them what you will) are important to a blogger because, much like a good dating agency, one has to work at creating as optimum a match as possible between oneself and one’s ideal, or target, reader.  This alchemy may be assisted by bloggerly tools of the trade such as ‘tag’ words and ‘categories’ that help to cross-reference the preferences and interests of writer and reader.  For a nosey parker like myself, though, it’s the ‘site stats’ toggle-on-my-toolbar (if you will) that is really rather riveting. Perhaps, dear readers, it is me who is ‘doing’ the watching of you?  Quelle voyeur!

It’s fascinating to discover the online search terms that have resulted in visitors being directed to, and arriving at, my blog.  Particularly curious examples include, ‘who is the girl in the apricot advert’ and ‘intoxicating frogs’.  I also seem to have developed a ‘cult following’ in Russia since the turn of 2015, with a second highest ranking (behind the UK and ahead of the USA) for visitors to my site.  Intriguing, huh?

Of course, all of my visitors, whether fleeting, misdirected, hardcore, fanatical or otherwise are highly prized.  But there have been a couple of noteworthy overtures in the past few months that are worth mentioning here and, really, form the inspirations behind this particular blog entry.  The first enquiry came from an image researcher last Summer, who had stumbled across my blog entries about Elizabeth Hawes whilst she was working on a project for the New York Times.  We exchanged a series of emails and an article duly emerged in the Culture Issue of T magazine:The Most Brilliant American Fashion Designer‘.

A second proposal arrived in my email inbox more recently, from Dr Rae Ritchie of the Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW).  Being already familiar with The Style Stakes, Rae encouraged me to contribute a guest blog about blogging for a collaborative project she was leading between SHAW and US Studies Online.  So, that was an invitation to blog, for a blog, about a blog.  And if you’ve managed to follow all of that, blog on over to that very piece to find out more: Blogs on Togs – Dress History Research In an Overseas Archive.

Swans A-Swimming

'Sport in History', the journal of the British Society of Sport History, published by Routledge.

‘Sport in History’, the journal of the British Society of Sport History, published by Routledge.

Fashion designers are said to be only as good as their last collection.  And rock stars, only as good as their last album.  Does the same hold true for academics?  Are we only ever as good as our last article or book or lecture?  I’ll leave you to ponder the answer to that.

It’s a good twelve months (or more) since my last flurry of blog posts.  I wonder, have I been only as good in the ensuing year as my own last blog entry: ‘The Final Cut’?  Again, I’ll leave you to ponder the answer to that.

Just this month, the journal article I was chiselling away at in January 2014 whilst in snowstruck New York City (and reporting on its lumbering progress here) has emerged, swanlike, as a fully-formed publication.   Its swanful grace (if you can call it that) owes a debt of gratitude to the magnificant images that illustrate the piece and that I sourced at the National Sporting Library and Museum, VA.  How fortunate I’ve been to work on their ‘Gerry Webb’ collection, comprising thirteen, large, scrapbooks of sporting (equestrian) photographs.  Many of these were snapped by a professional journalist(s) who, even in the 1930s, produced some crystal clear, and compelling, shots that document fashionable men and women having fun on race day (among other things).  Glorious.

There’s an inevitable no-man’s land, a sort of literary interval, between packaging up a manuscript for a publisher and then, sometimes many, many months later, receiving the final, hold-in-your-hand, bookshelf-ready copy of a publication.  It would be easy to write here how that moment is so satisfying and gratifying (which, of course it is).  But engaging such well-worn cliches about ‘worthwhile effort’ does not capture the full complexity of what it is to go to press (so to speak).  In particular, that interval, that expanse of time, that lull, does peculiar things to written words.   So that – and for fear of getting a bit mystical here – the words that are returned to you in type-set, printing press and glossy cover form seem somehow strange, foreign and unknown.  ‘Did I write that?’ ‘I don’t remember saying that?’ There’s an element of forgetting with the passage of time.  But, too, there are other elements at play to do with ‘taking the ego’ away from the words, loss of immediacy, distance, removal.  At least, that’s what it feels like for me.

So, am I making a case here for writing as anti-climatical and, ultimately, rather disappointing?  Quite the opposite.  I wouldn’t be without it.  And, to ensure this particular blog entry ‘delivers’ as it should, here are all the details of that very journal article (and you may view it here)

Goodrum, A. (2015) ‘The Style Stakes: Fashion, Sportswear and Horse-Racing in Interwar America’ Sport In History 35 (1) pp. 46-80. Special Issue, Kit: Fashioning the Sporting Body.

Abstract: Despite an acknowledgement that, historically, the relationship between horse racing, women and fashion was important, existing literature provides little detail on the actual clothes that women wore as racegoers. The aim of this article is to add missing depth on the clothing of fashionable women at horse races, focusing on the United States during the inter-war period. In so doing, the discussion extends understandings of the history, and the material culture, of sporting spectatorship more generally. The article also introduces original work on the male spectator and his racegoing wardrobe. Climatic considerations to do with dressing appropriately for the great outdoors are discussed along with other influential factors on spectator dress such as contemporary fashion journalism and photography. The industry supplying fashion consumers was in transition at this time also and New York acquired prominence as a centre for a new mode of sporty, all-American fashion that was termed ‘sportswear’. As well as dealing with the clothes and the individuals who wore them, then, the article tells the story of the broader socio-economic conditions of American fashion, sport and sportswear that formed – and informed – their wearing.