Dress is a powerful bearer of memory. It shapes gender, helps determine social status and simultaneously expresses and sculpts identity, just as fashion marks and drives technological and social change. Coat Tales: A Social and Cultural History of Australian Menswear explores men’s dress in twentieth-century Australia with this in mind.
Focusing on men’s engagement with clothes allows us to jettison the assumption that fashion is a solely feminine concern. Investigating historical menswear also debunks the notion that no social and other distinctions register in Australian men’s clothes.
Coat Tales brings an historian and curator together to investigate twentieth-century men’s clothes and fashion and the stories behind them. We revel in striking garments and looks, but also in what humble items reveal about everyday experiences of gender, sexuality, relationships, Aboriginal culture, material culture, consumer practices, the menswear industry, immigration and other social change.
This project will lead to a book, articles, symposium and digital exhibition based on our research. We also have a blog and social media pages. To share your memories and knowledge, follow us on Facebook and Instagram or get in touch via email.