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Free Content Peacocks in the sands: Flamboyant men’s beachwear 1920–30

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Palm Beach, Florida in winter was ideal for luxury pastimes of the social elite and, equally important, an opportunity to see and be seen in the latest leisurewear. Journalists documented the habits and styles of millionaires and movie stars. This information was both society news and fashion direction to the menswear industry. The newest ideas in men’s beachwear from luxury resorts in Florida and Europe ultimately influenced beachwear in retail stores throughout America. Photographs and descriptions in menswear publications of resort wear were compared to the textiles and garments I examined at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT), New York and the Hampshire Museum Collections, United Kingdom. Men who dressed for business in constrained clothes transformed into peacocks in the sands with no concern for appearing less than masculine. Flamboyant dress in this period reflected an exceptional use of colourful robes, pyjamas and bathing suits often with extravagant patterns.
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Keywords: bathing suits; beach pyjamas; beach robes; beachwear; menswear; resort wear

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Berkeley College

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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  • Critical Studies in Men's Fashion examines the multi-faceted dimensions of men's appearance. It uses the holistic definition of dress as a means of examining the tangible and intangible aspects of creating and maintaining appearance. This journal is the first to exclusively focus on men's dress and topics of gender, identity, sexuality, culture, marketing and business will be discussed. Men's dress and fashion have been side-lined in scholarship, and this journal provides a dedicated space for the discussion, analysis, and theoretical development of men's appearance from multiple disciplines. All articles are blind-peer reviewed in order to maintain the highest standards of scholastic integrity. Theoretical and empirical scholarship in the form of original articles, manuscripts, research reports, pedagogy, and media reviews are welcome.
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