MANNERS & MORALS: Revolution

For two decades, U.S. women had been striving for what fashion writers called the "American Look." This called for a certain litheness, a casual jauntiness, a healthy complexion, broad shoulders and, above all, slim hips. In pursuit of such lean, athletic elegance, women zipped themselves into elastic girdles, consigned themselves mercilessly to seven-day diets, rolling machines, long walks and meditation over calorie charts. At the same time, they luxuriated in what was known as "freedom of movement"; no joke tickled female audiences quite so much as references to corsets and the...

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