Sex and Unisex: Fashion, Feminism and the Sexual Revolution grew out of the last two chapters of Pink and Blue, particularly the one on unisex clothing of the late sixties through the mid-1980s. I was puzzled by how that period seemed to be headed in one direction, but then suddenly reversed course. In 1970, designer Rudi Gernreich was predicting miniskirts and caftans for everyone, and a futurist author was declaring the death of the gray flannel suit. But by 1980, preppy was all the rage and not only were men still wearing suits, but women were wearing them as well.
My research began there, and led me in what seemed like a hundred different directions. Eventually, I ended up considering the present, because so much of our current cultural landscape is unfinished business from the 1970s. Along the way, there are chapters on
- the interplay of the Baby Boom, the Civil Rights movement, and the sexual revolution
- women’s fashion, feminism, and antifeminism
- the so-called Peacock Revolution in men’s clothing
- unisex children’s clothing
- the legal battles over men’s long hair and pants for women
It was great fun to research, and more than a little confusing to write, and I am looking forward to the reaction when it comes out later this year!