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The Nineteenth-Century Women's Dress Reform Movement

Part B: Essay

Directions:  Write a well-organized essay that includes an introduction, several paragraphs, and a conclusion.  Use evidence from at least five documents in the body of the essay.  Support your response with relevant facts, examples, and details.  Include additional outside information.

Historical Context:

During the nineteenth century, many reformers wanted to change the way women dressed.  Fashion dictated that women wear a long heavy skirt, several undergarments, a tight-laced, whale-boned corset, a tight-waisted blouse, delicate slippers, and an ornamental hat.  Female reformers attempted to simplify women's clothing for a variety of reasons, and with mixed results.


Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, write an essay in which you:

  • Describe the new designs for women's dress

  • Explain the reasons female reformers wanted to change women's dress

  • Describe the reactions to this new dress


In your essay, be sure to:

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