In The Lost Art of Dress, historian and dressmaker Linda Przybyszewski explores how American women's fashion went from floor-length dresses to bloomers to shirtwaist dresses to, yes, flour sack dresses. Before ready-to-wear and before fast fashion, American women created affordable clothing for themselves and their families with help from the Dress Doctors—the thrift experts, home economics professors, and fashion guide authors who advised women how to craft the most appropriate looks for less. Style changed with every step forward for women: gaining the vote, entering the world of work, heading academic departments. Recently, Przybyszewski and I talked about the evolution of American style, the fraught subject of home [...]
Well, now that we're SlutWalking, creating alternatives to marriage, defending Planned Parenthood, and basically bringing feminism back (you're welcome!), it's about time we re-acknowledged one of the most important figures in women's lib, turn-of-the-century birth control activist Margaret Sanger.
Sanger's own mother gave birth to 11 children in 22 years, suffered seven miscarriages, and died at the age of 48. At the time, Comstock laws prevented women from accessing contraception or even receiving information about family planning through the mail; such matters were considered obscene. Seeing firsthand the perils associated with pregnancy, Sanger made it her life's mission to provide a legal, accessible, female-controlled method of [...]
Patricia Marx was the first woman elected to The Harvard Lampoon, her first paid job was writing for Saturday Night Live, and she currently writes “On and Off the Avenue” and occasional “Shouts & Murmurs” columns for The New Yorker. She also writes books: the satirical How to Regain Your Virginity, the children’s book Dot in Larryland (with illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast), and, as of today, the novel Starting From Happy. So we asked her some hard-hitting questions, like who she’s dating, why she doesn’t like shopping, and how to make friends.
So you worked on SNL, the Lampoon, and now the New Yorker. [...]