Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Winona Koch

Committee Members

Ana Jean Treece, Beverly H. Owen


Purpose of the study:

The purpose of this study was to survey the extent of religious comments dealing with modesty as observed in women's dress in the United States from 1900-1964. The intent was to study written comments, condemnations, and restrictions made by the church or synagogue against certain types of women's apparel on the grounds that they indicated immodest or improper dress and to determine the extent of the religious concern with women's apparel as expressed in the sources available.

In the past the church or synagogue played an important part in influencing women's dress. The desire was to ascertain whether religious comments in the twentieth century continued to be antagonistic to movements in fashion as Nystrom claimed:

The established church has always opposed fashion movement, particularly in apparel and adornment of both men and women. New fashions have been declared to be both immodest and sinful. It would be easy to compile large volumes of quotations of judgments and pronouncements of church dignitaries against fashion. They have apparently appeared in every age and against every innovation and the more powerful the church, the greater its opposition to fashion.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."