The Women's Fashion Debate took place between 1869 to 1896. The debate centered around the idea of women being able to choose what they want to wear, rather than dressing the way men wanted them to dress or the fashion of the day. The debate also raise many health issues concerning the use of the corset and the many layers of petticoats and bustles that Ladies were suppose to wear. The Women's Rights Movement also became involved in this debate; it added fuel for their Movement.
What is the Gilded Age?
The period in American History following the Civil War until the beginning of the twentieth century came to be known as the Gilded-age. As the name would imply, it was a time of national prosperity. However, this prosperity came to many by means of corruption and greed, which filtered beyond the rapidly growing industries into the government itself.
It was a time where the evidence of wealth served to impress one’s importance to others. And not since the Gilded Age ended with the Great Depression has the possession of wealth in this country been as lopsided as it was then.
Mark Twain called the last nineteenth century the "Gilded Age." By this he meant that the period was glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath. It was a time of greed and guile, of shady business practices, scandal-plagued politics and vulgar display.
It is in this time that females decided to start having some say in what they wanted - and what they wanted was the same rights as everyone else. This included the right to wear what they wanted to wear.