Read more about Dress, Appearance, and Diversity in U.S. Society

Dress, Appearance, and Diversity in U.S. Society

(2 reviews)

Kelly L. Reddy-Best, Iowa State University

Abbey K Elder, Iowa State University

Lesya Hassall, Iowa State University

Copyright Year: 2020

Publisher: Iowa State University

Language: English

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Reviewed by Cynthia Sims, Instructor, Northeastern Illinois University on 5/4/23, updated 5/15/23

This book covers an adequate amount of appropriate ideas, concepts, and terminology about dress, appearance, and diversity in various contexts and cultures in the United States. Students will gain knowledge of relevant topics and have practice... read more

Reviewed by Mary Lanigan, Associate Professor, Governors State University on 2/21/23

Have you ever wondered how various groups and communities in this melting pot called the United States use dress and appearance to express their identities? If so, then Dress, Appearance, and Diversity in U.S. Society is a must-read by Kelly L.... read more

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • How to Use This Book
  • I. Dress Theories and Concepts
    • 1. Orientation
    • 2. Dress, Appearance, and Identity
    • 3. Identity, Social Justice, and Dress
    • 4. Social Science Theories
    • 5. Culture
    • 6. Subculture and Group Membership
    • 7. Fashion Theories
  • II. Dress and Marginalized Communities 
    • 8. Sex and Gender
    • 9. Sexuality
    • 10. Beauty and Attractiveness
    • 11. Disability 
    • 12. Religion
    • 13. Race and Ethnicity
  • Final Student Reflection
  • Book Contributors

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  • About the Book

    This book introduces topics about identity, dress, and the body. Through the content, readers explore how individuals and communities use dress as a way to communicate (i.e. “negotiate” in fashion studies) their various identities. There is heightened attention to social justice, power, privilege, and oppression. That is, the content focuses on the experiences of historically marginalized communities and the ways they navigate dress and dressing their bodies in different contexts. In the first part of the book, readers are introduced to concepts and theories related to fashion, clothing, dress, and/or accessories. In the second part, readers examine the role that fashion, clothing, dress, and/or accessories play in identity development for individuals in marginalized communities in the United States.

    About the Contributors


    Kelly L. Reddy-Best is an associate professor in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design at Iowa State University and the curator and director of ISU’s Textiles and Clothing Museum. In her research, she examines the interrelationships of dress, identity, consumption, regulation, and the fashion system. All of her work is rooted in a social justice lens. She has taught courses across the apparel curriculum in design, product development, merchandising, culture, and history.

    She has taught Dress Appearance and Diversity in US Society every semester since starting at Iowa State in 2016, including winter and summer sessions. The course enrollment averages 280 students, and she has delivered the course in-person and online.


    Abbey K. Elder is the Open Access and Scholarly Communication Librarian for Iowa State University. She provides support for authors developing open textbooks and other open educational resources (OER) at Iowa State.

    Lesya Hassall leads technical and pedagogical support of audience response technology. Her primary duties revolve around the design, development and implementation of faculty training opportunities for meaningful and effective applications of instructional technologies, including audience response technology.

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