Pointy Bras and Loose House Dresses: Female Dress in Hungary and the United States in the 1950s


  • Katalin Medvedev University of Georgia




This paper is a comparative study of the social, ideological and economic differences between the United States and Hungary during the 1950s through the examination of the expressive features of female dress. It argues that dress served as a significant means of conveying the major divisions between the two countries and demonstrates that the female body became one of the crucial sites for waging the everyday battles of the Cold War opponents. Because less information is available about the construction of gender and the sartorial practices of women in Hungary in the 1950s this paper primarily focuses on Hungary. Data for this paper was collected through oral histories, archival sources and through the examination of contemporary photographic images.

Author Biography

Katalin Medvedev, University of Georgia

Katalin Medvedev received her Ph.D. in the social, psychological and cultural aspects of dress from the University of Minnesota in 2006. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on the social, political and gendered aspects of material culture. Her other publications on Hungarian socialist dress appeared in "Producing fashion: Commerce, culture and consumers" by Pennsylvania University Press; in "Öltöztessük fel az országot!: Divat és öltözködés a szocializmusban" by Argumentum; in "Dress sense: Emotional and sensory experiences of the body and clothes" by Berg and the "Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion" by Oxford University Press.






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