Dressed for Freedom: The Fashionable Politics of American Feminism (forthcoming 2021, University of Illinois Press)

"Fabricating Black Modernity: Fashion and African American Womanhood during the First Great Migration, International Journal of Fashion Studies, 6, 2 (October 2019), 239-260
ABSTRACT: The early twentieth century was a time of great influx in America. Shifting demographics in the 1910s and 1920s, most notably the migration of thousands of African Americans from the rural south to the urban centres of the north, opened economic and leisure possibilities that provided new spaces to define black modernity and its role in shaping American identity. Debates over black women’s bodies, clothing, hair and general appearance stood at the centre of public attention and political discourse over gender and race equality, forming a realm where African Americans could challenge white racist stereotypes regarding black femininity and beauty, as well as a means through which they could claim new freedoms and achieve economic mobility. Middle-class reformers, young black migrants, as well as new role models such as female performers and blues singers, all used dress and appearance to redefine notions of beauty, respectability, and freedom on their own terms. For these women, fashions became intertwined with questions of racial progress and inclusion in American society, offering a way to lay claims for equal citizenship that moved beyond individual expressions and preferences. This article highlights the place of fashion as a critical political realm for African Americans, who were often barred from access to formal routes of power in the era of Jim Crow. Shifting the perspective beyond official forms of civil rights activism, it argues that fashion enabled black women to carve new positions of power from which they could actively participate in gender and racial politics, demanding their equal place in American society.
"Dressing Up for a Campaign: Hillary Clinton, Suffragists, and the Politics of Fashion in Christine Kray, Hinda Mandell, and Tamar Carroll (eds.), Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gender and Race in the 2016 Presidential Election, (University of Rochester Press 2018)


ABSTRACT: This chapter analyzes the political meaning of fashion statements and their role in political campaigns. Examining the fashion politics in the women’s suffrage and the 2016 election campaigns, the article shows how both Hillary Clinton and the suffragists understood the power and usefulness ofclothing to convey political messages and used attire in creative ways throughout their campaigns. Infusing fashion with political meaning, both Clinton and the suffragists employed fashion to garner public support for their claims, as well as a feminist tool of pleasure and self-assertion. By comparing the politics of fashion in both of these campaigns, the article illuminates the long trajectory of women’s use of clothing to convey their political message and to advance their agendas, thus reclaiming fashion as a feminist means of resistance. 

"New Women in Early 20th-Century America," in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, ed. by Jon Butler (2017)

“Baby, You Can Drive My Car: Advertising Women’s Freedom in 1920s America,” American Journalism: Journal of Media History, 33, 4, (November 2016), 372-400

ABSTRACT: This article examines how understandings of women’s freedom were constructed in car advertisements that appeared in Vogue during the post- suffrage decade. It explores how the discourse presented in advertisements was used to promote ideas regarding women’s freedom and their new political status in society, while also delineating the limits of this freedom. By focusing on cars, a consumer product that was highly associated with mobility and modernity, the article illuminates how ideas of women’s liberation were inherently connected to the material experience of consumption. It illustrates how mass media and consumer products became a central arena where ideas of gender were negotiated and redefined. The article reveals the central role that advertising played in the legitimization and mainstreaming of feminist ideas in the post-world-war- one decade. 

“[Re]fashioning the New Woman: Women’s Dress, the Oriental Style, and the Construction of American Feminist Imagery”, Journal of Women’s History, 27, 2, (Summer 2015), 14-36

ABSTRACT: The article examines feminists’ use of fashion in the 1910s, arguing that fashion and appearance became an important means in the construction of the New Woman image and an integral part of a feminist agenda. It explores how adopting and adapting the Oriental style, which came to dominate women’s fashion at the time, enabled feminists to construct a modern and political identity, while situating themselves as fashionable and trendy. In analyzing the different ways in which feminists employed fashion to advance their political agendas, this article furthers the understanding of the connections between consumer culture and feminism, arguing that New Women did not see fashion as opposing feminist ideas, but as a useful way to achieve them. Thus, in considering the role of fashion in constructing feminist identities, this article rethinks and broadens the meanings of early-twentieth century feminist politics to include a wider range of issues beyond struggles for suffrage. 

Interviewed for an article, “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Changing the Dress Code of Politics,” by Darcy Schild, Business Insider, December 22, 2020

Interviewed for an article, Amy Coney Barret Was Criticized for Her Dress, Part of a Long History of Judging Women’s Clothes,” by Marisa Iati, Washington Post, October 13, 2020 

Interviewed for an article, “How Fashion and Activism Have Evolved Together,” by Kristen Bateman, The Zoe Report, September 8, 2020

Interviewed for a TV segment, “Women Got the Right to Vote 100 Years Ago, Black Women Get that Right Nearly 50 Years Later,” WEWS-ABC, August 27 2020 

Interviewed for an article, “The History of the Color White and Women’s Suffrage Movement,” by Laura Pitcher, Teen Vogue, August 14, 2020 

Interviewed for an article, “Need Help Social Distancing? Try These Giant Summer Dresses”, by Katherine K. Zarrella, Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2020 

Interviewed for an article, "COVID-19 Might Change the Way We Dress Forever," by Kristen Bateman, Teen Vogue, April 27, 2020

"The Fashion of Social Distancing", YouTube, 2020


Interviewed for an article, “Designing Trump Couture,” by Conchita Margaret Widjojo, Medium, May 28, 2019 

Interviewed for an article, “NASA’s Spacesuit Issue is All Too Familiar for Working Mothers”, by Cara Kelley, USA Today, March 23, 2019 

Quoted in Marisa Iati, “Why Did Women in Congress Wear White for Trump’s State of the Union Address?Washington Post, February 6, 2019 

On the Media, WNCY, 2018

The Centuries-Old Practice of ‘Slaying Lewks’”, interview with Bob Garfield

Interviewed for an article, Go Figure!” by Rachel Delia Benaim, JW Magazine, Fall 2015 Issue, 35-40


“The Battle over Masks Has Always Been Political,” Washington Post, November 18, 2020

“The Making of a Suffragist: Belle Sherwin and Women Activism”, Ohio History Connection BlogMay 2020

"The Fashionable History of Social Distancing", The Conversation, March 2020

How White Became the Color of Suffrage?”, The Conversation, February 2019, republished November 2020

“Criticism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Clothes Echoes Attacks Against Early Female Labor Activists”, The Conversation, December 2018

"How Sears Helped Make Women, Immigrants and People of Color Feel More Like Americans”, The Conversation, October 2018

"Re-Dressing No More Miss America", Public Seminar, September 2018

"Black Dresses, Golden Globes: How Fashion Works in Red Carpet Protests," Dismantle Magazine, January 2018

"How the 'Pussyhat' Became a Feminist Fashion Icon," Public Seminar, January 2018


Review of A Shoppers’ Paradise: How the Ladies of Chicago Claimed Power and Pleasure in the New Downtown by Emily Remus, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2019) in Journal of American History 107, 1 (June 2020), 223

Review of Sex Workers, Psychics, and Number Runners: Black Women in New York City’s Underground Economy by Lashawn Harris, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press) in Social History, 43, 2, February 2018, 282-283

Review of The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish, by Linda Przybyszewki, (New York: Basic Books, 2014), in Journal of Fashion, Style, and Popular Culture, 4, 1, January 2017, 129-132

Review of The Modern Girl: Feminine Modernities, the Body, and Commodities in the 1920s, by Jane Nicholas, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015) in Labour/Le Travail 78, Fall 2016, 333-335

Review of Tongue of Fire: Emma Goldman, Public Womanhood, and the Sex Question, by Donna M. Kowal (Albany: SUNY Press, 2016) in H-Histsex, H-Net Reviews, October 2016 

Review of Alice Paul: Claiming Power, by J. D. Zahniser and Amelia R. Fry (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), in Society of Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era H-Net Reviews, January 2015

“National American Women Suffrage Association”, in Hasia Diner (ed.), American Women's History, An Encyclopedia, Facts on File, 2011 

"Teaching Writing Through History and History Through Writing: Classroom Assignments and the Challenges of Writing Academic Papers", Training Manual and Guidebook for TAs in NYU’s History Department, September 2015