Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Sara B Marcketti


The purpose of this research was to examine the fashionable styles available to women in the 1910s and 1920s, the advice, both prescriptive and proscriptive, given to plus sized women in the 1910 and the 1920s, and the apparel-related patents issued during the 1910s to 1929 to aid the plus sized woman. Primary sources analyzed included The New York Times, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, and utility patents. They provided multiple viewpoints regarding the plus sized woman during this period. The percentage of larger women grew during the early twentieth century, and it was estimated that by 1916 there were over 13 million women, or 12.7% of the total population in the United States was considered overweight or "stout." The term "stout" indicated a figure (often of matronly appearance), with generous bust, back and hip curves that decidedly did not fit in with fashion's demands for the slim figure. Generally, women ten to fifteen percent above the "average" weight were considered overweight. In 1924, The New York Times stated that stout sizes ranged from 38.5"to 52.5" bust; a 48" in "ordinary" or average sizes was comparable to a size 42" to 44" in plus sized sizing. This research demonstrated that plus sized women were able to purchase ready-to-wear clothing in the years 1910 to 1929. The ready-to-wear industry did exist for plus sized women in the 1910s though it was just in its infancy. By the latter half of the 1910s, the ready-to-wear clothing industry had expanded for the plus sized woman. Plus sized woman strayed away from dressmakers clothing because of the satisfaction and convenience of ready-to-wear clothing. By the 1920s, plus sized women were able to purchase ready-to-wear clothing specially designed for their size. More clothing manufactures saw the potential and purchasing power of the plus sized woman.


Copyright Owner

Carmen Nicole Keist



Date Available


File Format


File Size

147 pages