Skip to main content

Studies in Clothing, Dress, and Appearance

Julie Hillery,

Course Description

Everyone in society is affected by clothing, dress, appearance and fashion. In fact, dress is one of the most personal and visible forms of self-expression and can indicate an individual's current position or future aspirations in society. This class will provide a basis for introducing students to critical thinking concerning research projects and the design of sound studies from a variety of disciplines using clothing, dress and appearance as the overriding theme. We will begin by studying theories from a variety of disciplines such as sociology, psychology, cultural studies and consumer behavior. As we critique clothing, dress and appearance studies, we will also identify methods for examining current topics including survey questionnaires, focus groups, ethnographic studies, experiments, and participant observations. During the semester, each student will identify a topic of interest and review studies on that topic. Based on these findings students will propose research questions and a method for study, within a particular theoretical framework, to discover new information concerning clothing, dress, and appearance. Work throughout the semester will culminate with a final class critique of each student’s proposal. 

Readings and Texts

Flynn, J. Z., & Foster, I. M. (2009). Research methods for the fashion industry. New York: Fairchild Books. 
Readings assignments will be in the form of research articles from both scholarly and popular media and will be available for electronic download.

Films and Other Course Materials

In addition to the book I will provide scholarly readings posted online. Also, each student team will be responsible for providing the class with additional readings for leading a class discussion concerning a specific weekly topic. 

We will also access some of the more prominent research journals in the field of Dress, Clothing and Fashion such as: Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture and Clothing and Textiles Research Journal. These are available online through UNM’s library site.

 Course Fee


Student Requirements

Attendance and Participation 15% 150 
Discussion Leader 15% 150 
Written critiques (10 total) 20% 200 
Midterm/Final Writing 20% 200 
Final Project/Presentation/Critiques 30% 300 
Total Points Available 1000 

About the Instructor

Dr. Hillery is a Professor in Fashion Studies at Columbia College Chicago, and was also the Kohl's Professor of Retailing at Northern Illinois University. Her degrees include a B.S. and M.S. from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to writing two college textbooks, Dr. Hillery has received numerous teaching awards for undergraduate education. Since New Mexico is her absolute favorite place on earth she is thrilled to be teaching at UNM especially in the Honors' College.