The Little Black Dress and Zoot Suits

Depression and Wartime Fashions from the 1930s to the 1950s

From the Series Dressing a Nation: The History of U.S. Fashion

  • Interest Level: Grade 5 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 6

What would you have worn if you lived during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s? It depends on who you were! For 1930s high fashion, nothing beat Coco Chanel’s women’s suit—a slim, straight skirt with a matching boxy jacket. And for a classy evening, men donned black tuxedos and velvet smoking jackets. Read more about depression era and wartime fashions—from the form-fitting little black dress to polo shirts, stylish snoods, and chic chignons—in this fascinating book!

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Interest Level Grade 5 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 6
Genre Social Studies
Copyright 2012
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 64
Publication Date 2011-08-01
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS JNF025210, JNF059000, JNF006030
Dewey 391.00973
Graphics 1-color illustrations, Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 8 x 10
Lexile 990
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Table of contents, Teaching Guides, Timeline, and eSource

Author: Alison Marie Behnke

Alison Marie Behnke is a writer and editor. She has written about a wide range of topics, including immigration, world and cultural geography, ethnic cuisines, American and European history, biographies, and fashion. She lives in Minneapolis.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Dressing a Nation: The History of U.S. Fashion

What was it like to wear pumpkin breeches in colonial times? Or hoopskirts during the Civil War era? Find out in this fascinating series that covers American fashions through many historical time periods. Each volume shows the trends and influences on clothing designs, hairstyles, and… View available downloads →


  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books, Winner, 2012


The Horn Book Guide

“Well-researched texts…archival photos and entertaining sidebars contribute to a lively read.” —The Horn Book Guide

Library Media Connection

“This series, a history of fashion in the United States, is more than a simple account of fashion during particular eras. A variety of interesting aspects are examined, such as the ever-present influence of Europe on American tastes and how wars affected fashions.” —Library Media Connection

School Library Journal, Series Made Simple

“These well-written and appealing books place clothing and fashion, from underwear to headgear, in the larger context of American history, emphasizing that for most of our past, clothing signified status and reinforced societal roles, especially for women….. This series is certain to draw both researchers and browsers.” —School Library Journal, Series Made Simple


“The book’s sharp, bold, rather tidy design features eye-catching art from the period.” —Booklist