The exhibition His & Hers, on view November 30, 2010 May 10, 2011, explores the relationship between gender and fashion over the past 250 years. In her book It’s Still Spinach (1954), fashion designer Elizabeth Hawes noted that American women usually wore skirts, while men almost always wore trousers. "Year in, year out...the adult population of a great country arises and puts on a certain garment without the faintest notion of why they are doing it."
Why, indeed? Fashion scholars argue that clothing serves as an immediate signifier of gender and most people do dress in ways that they consider to be appropriately "masculine" or "feminine." However, perceptions of gender vary according to place, time, and individual experience, and no clothing style or color is "naturally" linked to one gender or the other.
His: Cucci, man’s tuxedo, slubbed silk, satin, wool, 1957, Italy, gift of Elizabeth E. Brady.
Hers: Fontana, evening dress, silk taffeta and raffia, circa 1957, Italy, gift of Barbara Halpern.