History of Fashion / Open Lines

Hosted byIan Punnett

History of Fashion / Open Lines

About the show

Filling in for George Noory, Ian Punnett (Twitter) welcomed law professor and cultural critic Richard Thompson Ford for a deep dive into dress codes throughout history, why fashions have developed and changed, and what it all means. "When I talk about fashion I don't just mean high fashion or things that only rich people buy, but any clothing that's expressive," Ford said, noting almost all contemporary clothing is expressive of something. Today's styles have evolved from fashions that had explicit and well-codified (written into law) meanings, he added. Even if the meaning is not written down, clothing maintains cultural and social significance, Ford continued.

In the ancient Greek and Roman worlds clothing was in the form of draped garments (such as the Roman toga), and no one wore tailored clothes, he explained. According to Ford, draped clothing evolved into other forms, including gowns and robes, until the emergence of plate armor which, in turn, led to the development of pants. "The undergarments worn under that plate armor... were later worn without the armor as a sign of status and it eventually evolved into tailored fashion," he revealed. Ford also covered the connection between tailored clothing and masculine fashion, as well as how the 'traditional' kilt was as fusion of Scottish attire and influences from the British military and industrialization.


Open Lines followed in the remainder of the program. Blair in Sedona phoned in with his theory about contemporary fashion. According to Blair, several decades in the 20th century had easily recognizable and coherent trends: flapper skirts (1920s), gangster/bootlegger clothes (1930s), the zoot suit (1940s), Elvis-inspired clothing (1950s), and hippie fashions (1960s). "I think for the last thirty years... we've been stuck in the 1990s style-wise," Blair suggested, noting he has not seen any forward motion in fashion. Ian pushed back by pointing out one of the biggest trends in contemporary fashion: casual activewear and workout clothing.

William from Laughlin, Nevada, announced he is the predecessor of the Antichrist. He compared his role to that of John the Baptist who, according to the gospel narrative, prepared the way for Jesus, and claimed he was born with this knowledge. The Antichrist is the mediator between God and the Devil, he explained, noting people know in their hearts that something is wrong and the Antichrist is on his way," he said. Walter in Graham, Washington, lamented about why no one ever attempts to call down Jesus, God, and Mary. "Church should be nothing but we sit there and say, 'Okay, God, could you please appear here?'" he said.

Bumper Music

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