Date of Award

Spring 2022

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts


Art History


Dr. MacKenzie Moon Ryan

Committee Member

Dr. Susan Libby

Committee Member

Dr. Kimberly Dennis


Fashion has been a catalyst for social change throughout human history. Fashion in 1920s America in particular reflects society's rapidly evolving attitudes towards gender and race. Beginning with how corsetry heavily restricted women for nearly four hundred years up until the twentieth century, this thesis explores how clothing has acted as a tool for societal progression following World War I and Women's Suffrage and during the Jazz Age and The Harlem Renaissance. Specifically, this thesis examines how the influence of jazz music and dance that originated from Black American communities led to the creation of the flapper evening dress. The impact of the rise and fall of corsetry, the infamous flapper, and Black culture has shaped fashion throughout this highly influential decade and in turn, these fashions helped shape society.

Rights Holder

Julia Wolffe