“Oh the Bliss”

Fashion and Teenage Girls
  • Kelly Schrum
Part of the Girls’ History and Culture book series (GHC)


This joke’s presence in a high school yearbook signifies the growing importance of dress in the social world of teenage girls as well as important fashion developments that shaped teen consumer culture in the twentieth century. It demonstrates increased access to fashion as a tool for constructing one’s image as well as consciousness of the power to manipulate social status through appearance. Teenage girls’ emerging group identity and interest in fashion, developments in the fashion world, and the growing interest of manufacturers, advertisers, and retailers in high school girls as consumers nurtured these trends.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    See Elizabeth Ewing, History of Twentieth-Century Fashion (New York: Costume and Fashion Press: 1992 [1985]), 119Google Scholar
  2. Lynn Schnurnberger, Let There Be Clothes: 40,000 Years of Fashion (New York: Workman, 1991), 357Google Scholar
  3. Sandra Ley, Fashion for Everyone: The Story of Ready-to-Wear (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1975), 104–6Google Scholar
  4. Grace Palladino, Teenagers: An American History (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 51–55Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    Sylvia Silverman, Clothing and Appearance: Their Psychological Implications for Teen-Age Girls (New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia Univ., 1945), 12–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Mary Mildred Knoebber, The Self-Revelation of the Adolescent Girl: An Analysis of the Attitudes, Ideals, and Problems of the Adolescent Girl from the Viewpoint of the Girl Herself (New York: Bruce Publishing Co., 1937), 129Google Scholar
  7. Lucretia P. Hunter, The Girl Today: The Woman Tomorrow (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1936), 7Google Scholar
  8. 4.
    F. F. O’Donnell, “The Adolescent and His Clothes,” The Parents’ Magazine (hereafter Parents) 6 (April 1931): 20–21.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    Beth Twiggar Goff diary, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Beth Twiggar Goff Papers, 90-M130, 1930 (hereafter Beth Twiggar Goff diary); Adele Siegel Rosenfeld diary, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Adele Siegel Rosenfeld Papers, 90-M109 (hereafter Adele Siegel Rosenfeld diary), January 29, 1931, December 14, 1931; David L. Cohn, The Good Old Days: A History of American Morals and Manners as seen through the Sears Roebuck Catalogs, 1905 to the Present (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1940), 285.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    Leora M. Blanchard, Teen-Age Tangles: A Teacher’s Experiences with Live Young People (Philadelphia: The Union Press, 1923), 160–65Google Scholar
  11. Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd, Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture (New York: Harvest/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1956 [1929]), 159–67Google Scholar
  12. August B. Hollingshead, Elmtowns Youth and Elmtown Revisited (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1975 [1949])Google Scholar
  13. 9.
    Knoebber, The Self-Revelation of the Adolescent Girl, 122, 128–30. Studies over the next few decades found similar responses. See Mary Shaw Ryan, Clothing: A Study in Human behavior (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1966).Google Scholar
  14. 10.
    Alice Barr Grayson, Do You Know Your Daughter? (New York: D. Appleton-Century Co, 1944), 25Google Scholar
  15. 14.
    Martha Neall Hogue, “The Scarf,” Saplings (Pittsburgh: Scholastic Publishing Co., 1931), 89.Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    Fredonia J. Ringo, Girl’s and Juniors Ready-to-Wear (Chicago: A. W Shaw Co., 1924), 33–44.Google Scholar
  17. 41.
    Paula Fass, The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1977), 227–34.Google Scholar
  18. 50.
    Memo from Arthur Rosenberg Company to Maidenform (December 1930), Maiden-form Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History; Alice Dowd, “Going After New Customers,” Maiden Form Mirror (August 1931): 5; Sears (Spring 1934), 90; Sears (Fall 1934), 98; Sears (Spring 1935), 119, italics in original; Schrum, “‘Teena Means Business,’” 151. See also Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau, Uplift: The Bra in America (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), 63Google Scholar
  19. 56.
    Joan Jacobs Brumberg, The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls (New York: Random House, 1997)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kelly Schrum 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly Schrum

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations