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    'The American Look': memories of not fitting in

    Kealy-Morris, Elizabeth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2843-1916 (2023) 'The American Look': memories of not fitting in. In: Memories of Dress: Recollections of material identities. Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 157-174. ISBN 9781350153790 (hardback); 9781350153806 (ebook); 9781350153813 (ebook)

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    This chapter introduces the term ‘body dressing work’ to articulate the author’s experience negotiating the social norms and expectations of clothing the suburban American female body with the anxiety of living with a spinal deformity. Two disciplines of memory are employed in this chapter: personal memory and cultural memory. Personal memory is articulated via photographs and autoethnographic prose, and cultural memory is explored through a study of the casual style of clothing known as ‘The American Look’, and, in particular, the shift dress, a key garment to emerge from this style. This chapter will demonstrate that the cultural myths of America, which have developed through official and popular channels, are embedded into expectations of the body politic and the dressed body corpus: what we ought to fit into.

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