Feminine Modernity in Interwar Britain and North America: Corsets, Cars, and Cigarettes
Warsh, Cheryl Krasnick
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Cars, corsets, and cigarettes occupied a prominent place in British and U.S. editions of Vogue in the interwar years. All three products were presented as quintessentially modern and possessing the capacity to modernize the women who used them. This article addresses the relationship between consumption and feminine modernity, showing how affluent British and North American women were encouraged to remake themselves as modern feminine subjects through the purchase of cars, corsets, and cigarettes. By scrutinizing representations of women’s relationship to modern and modernizing goods, key constituents of interwar affluent feminine modernity are identified. While Britain, Canada, and the United States took distinctive routes through twentieth–century modernity, Vogue encouraged wealthy women to imagine and create forms of feminine modernity that transcended the specificities of place.