Social Life 1 (Unit 5)

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Unit 5

Fashion and Style


Text 1


What is fashion? Well, it's the way of dressing or behaving that is usual or popular at a certain time. Every fashion goes through three stages: at first it is different, it may be new and exciting, shocking and surprising. Then it becomes popular, and the original idea is imitated. Finally it becomes boring and out of date as a new fashion starts.

Being fashionable says something about you. It means that you know what is smart, and suggests that you are up to date in other ways. Some changes in clothes have been practical and reflect the different way that we live. Today fashion is a big industry.

When fashions shock, it is usually more than clothes that are changing. In the 1920s people were shocked when women cut their hair short, and wore short skins. At this time more women began to work outside the home and started to wear trousers.

Later in the 1970s may young people shocked and frightened the older generation. They cut their own hair and styled it themselves using everything to make their hair stiff: sugar, toothpaste, butter, oil, glue, soap, orange, juice, and even egg. The clothes were also DIY and young people spent hours tearing their jeans and packets and creating the new look with pins, studs, bicycle chains, and paper clips. They were the punks and followed their own fashion and style. By 1977 punk music (loud, fast, tuneless which shocked with violent lyrics) was at the top of the hit parade and the punk look was high fashion. Fashion designer Zandra Rhodes produced a collection of clothing based entirely on the punk look. Today's haircuts are far more exaggerated and colourful than anything existed during the early punk era. These haircuts have been created for American cameras and Japanese television crews, and punk rockers are one of the few youth movements to have sold themselves in this way.

Hairstyles, like clothes, follow fashion. Many past fashions were not practical and showed that the people who wore them were wealthy, and didn't have to work. Hair can be long, or short, coloured, plaited or worn in a bun. You can curl it or cover it with a wig. Every gentleman in the 18-th century wore a wig.

At the beginning of the 20-th century, very young girls and boys wore dresses and had long hair. Teenagers dressed like adults. Men's clothes have also changed a lot. Brightly coloured embroidered dresses in the 16-th, silver buckles on shoes and sleeves with lace in the 17-th. Man could be fashionable because he was rich. However, not every fashion started with the wealthy. Trousers were worn by the working men as well. Now men wear dark suits and patterned tie.

After the World War 1, women's fashions changed much more than men's. In the 1920s in Europe many young women began to wear shorter skirts and very short hair. Since Dior launched the New Look in 1947, women's fashion has continued to change rapidly.

Do you want to know the secret of being well-dressed? Here is some practical advice.

When you buy your clothes, go in for simple, well-cut suits and dresses that will look 'right' for almost any occasion. Concentrate on styles that are not expensive but elegant and remember that the keynote of all good dress-making is simplicity.

An extra dress is a perennial 'must' with women. The short evening dress is a much better buy than the long one and it can look quite as glamorous.



Vocabulary Exercises



I. Divide the following adjectives related to style into those which are generally positive (P) and negative (N)

frumpy, stylish, dowdy, drab, chic, elegant, classy, scruffy, cosmopolitan, sloppy, sophisticated, over the top, tacky, tasteful, gaudy, tasteless, unkempt, disheveled


Which of these adjectives can only be used to describe clothes, or people, or both?

Which can be used predicatively?

Are there any adjectives which cannot be used in the following sentences?

1.      She is wearing a (N) _________ pair of jeans.

2.      Her clothes are very _________.

3.      He is a really __________ person.

4.      He is really __________.



II. Choose the best alternative to complete these sentences.

1.      There is something reassuring about Lisa. She has such a lovely _________.

a) style; b) manner; c) position

2.      She’s got a lot of style. It is not only her clothes or anything like that, it’s just that she ________ well.

a) walks; b) moves; c) goes

3.      He’s always careful about what colours he wears and he’s very well-groomed. I think that’s why he comes _________ as such stylish person.

a) up; b) through; c) across

4.      I like that sweater. That colour _________ very well with your hair.

a) fits; b) suits; c) goes

5.      That colour ________ you perfectly; you ought to wear blue more often.

a) suits; b) matches; c) fits

6.      I don’t know why I bought this jacket. It’s not really _________.

a) me; b) myself; c) I

7.      There’s a trend amongst. Hollywood stars at the moment to dress _________, perhaps because they feel guilty about having so much money.

a) up; b) down; c) off

8.      They don’t enjoy rock concerts and parties much – they’re more _________ yoga and Jen Buddism.

a) out; b) into; c) up



III. Use the words and phrases to discuss what is fashionable – in clothes, restaurants, music, free-time activities – at the moment in your country.

the latest thing, trendy, all the rage, in, the latest craze, out, slaves of fashion, haute couture


IV. Discovering the Past

Text I



As with the man's shirt, the linen shift is a woman's basic undergarment. It was made in much the same fashion as the shirt, but with the addition of triangular gussets beginning at the waist and widening to the hem. As with men's costume, a white or off-white blouse may be substituted, providing that very little of it will show. Otherwise, use a pattern for a nightgown that pulls on over the head and fastens in the front. The only adaptation necessary is to cut it fuller in front and gather it into the neckband, which fastens with ribbon ties.


The petticoat could be made of a variety of fabrics; both linen and wool were common in Plymouth Colony. These were ankle-length and fastened at the waist with a drawstring or waistband. Any number from one to seven could be worn depending on the social status of the individual.

As the petticoats will not be seen, or only from a distance, use muslin or some other plain cotton or poly-cotton blend.


This article of clothing is made of a bodice and skirt sewn together at the waist. It fastens down the front with buttons, hooks and eyes, or ribbon ties. Some vest patters, providing they have high-cut arm-holes, may provide a basis for the bodice pattern. Portraits of the period are useful for creating variations in the neckline and treatment of the waist. This is a style which is somewhat old-fashioned by 1620, and is more likely to be worn by older women.


The skirt is ankle-length and gathered onto a waistband or placed on a drawstring. They are always made of wool and it is important to remember that these skirts were full, so a sufficient amount of material should be used for each skirt.


The fitted, long-sleeved upper garment could He made of either linen or wool. The most common type had shaping created by gussets at the hips. It will be necessary to work from a pattern taken from a period garment. These are available from several of the books listed in the bibliography.


This close-fitting white linen cap covered the hair. It is gathered at the back of the top seam with enough room to accommodate the hair bun and fastens at the base of the neck with a drawstring inserted into the casing.


The apron is essentially a large rectangle of cloth, either wool or linen, placed on a drawstring, such as twill tape. The apron was then gathered in the front to expose the skirt, or drawn around to protect it while performing messy tasks. Aprons occasionally had a bib. Aprons should be hemmed to just above the bottom of the skirt.


Discuss the clothes in the past, give your opinion.


V. What constitutes “Style”?

In groups, discuss and put the following in order of importance. Add anything else you think is important.


(__) clothes and accessories

(__) hairstyle and cut

(__) accent

(__) posture, movement

(__) facial expression

(__) vocabulary

(__) actions


VI Points to ponder:

1. Style is knowing who you are, what you want to stay, and not giving a dawn

                                                                                                                Core Vidal

2. Enemy Number One both to chic and charm is untidiness.

3. Not every fashion starts with the wealthy.

4. Being fashionable says something about you.


VII. Say how you understand the following:

1)      That’s another pair of shoes.

2)      Clothes do not make a man.

3)      Clothes name the man.

4)      Good clothes open all doors.

5)      Over shoes, over boots.

6)      Tastes differ.


VIII. Translate from English into Russian


Text II



This child's cap can be made by enlarging the pattern for a fitted baby's cap which ties under the chin. It can be made either of linen or wool.


A child's apron may be sewn in the same fashion as the woman's, or gathered onto a narrow waistband with a bib attached.


The child's gown is an ankle-length garment which laces closed in the bank. The bodice has a plain round neck, full-length sleeves, and joins the skirt at the natural waist. It may be made of either linen or wool.

The shirt or shift, cloak, shoes, stockings and hat for a child are essentially small versions of adult clothing. See the appropriate sections above.


IX. Translate the text using a dictionary

Самая модная модница

 Думала ли голливудская актриса Николь Кидман, что после «самого страшного события своей жизни» — так она назвала развод с мужем актером Томом Крузом — в ее жизни наступит череда побед. Потеряв личное счастье, она обрела удачу в жизни творческой. За какие-то полгода она получила премию «Золотой глобус», свой первый «Оскар» за роль писательницы Вирджинии Вульф в фильме «Часы», на Бульваре звезд была открыта ее личная именная звезда.

К вышеперечисленному теперь добавился титул «Идол моды», который присудил ей совет модельеров Америки. 450 дизайнеров, владельцев дорогих магазинов и журналистов, пишущих о моде, единогласно решили, что Николь Кидман оказывает огромное влияние на современную моду. Исполнительный директор совета модельеров Питер Арнольд считает, что у актрисы есть врожденное понимание того, как надо одеваться, а главное, она смогла создать свой элегантный и неповторимый образ. Кидман умеет носить не только роскошные вечерние платья. Простая, повседневная одежда, например джинсы и свитер, смотрится на ней также шикарно, стильно. Новый титул чрезвычайно обрадовал Николь: «Я могу получать сколько угодно призов за творческие успехи, но «Идол моды» — очень женский и трогательный приз, любая женщина на моем месте была бы счастлива». Не все знают, что Кидман в детстве страдала от многих комплексов — за высокий рост ее звали «шваброй», за непокорные рыжие волосы — «морковкой», теперь же 35-летняя актриса считается одной из самых красивых дам Голливуда.

В разные годы лауреатами премии становились такие звезды, как Одри Хепберн, Софи Лорен, Элизабет Тейлор. Николь Кидман совершенно справедливо заняла место в их ряду.



X. Find the picture of your favourite actor or actress and describe them.

XI. Read the text and write down all the new words and then make a plan for short retelling.


Text III

The Changing Face of Fashion

Whether we realize it or not, our daily decisions as to what we will wear are shaped at least to a degree by fashion. Ultimately, the forces of fashion largely determine what is available to buy. Even items of clothing that we now take for granted were once the latest style. The man's dress shirt and necktie, for instance, became the fashion rage over a century ago. And the woman's sweater became an established style back in the 1920's.

Two basic desires fuel the fashion industry — novelty and conformity. Nearly everyone likes to wear something new. That is why we sometimes buy clothes, not because an older garment has worn out, but simply because we want a change. At the same time, we do not want to look out of place, so we buy clothes that conform to some degree to the style worn by our associates. Over the centuries the clothing industry has catered to — and sometimes exploited — these desires for novelty and conformity.

A Brief History

To create a style, designers use five basic elements: colour, silhouette, drape, texture, and line balance (or patterns, on the surface of the material). The options available to designers and dressmakers in all five areas have multiplied over the years. In ancient Egypt, for example, locally produced see-through linen was the fabric of choice, and it was ideal for a warm climate. But since linen could not be dyed easily, it was usually just one colour — bleached white. Still, Egyptian fashion designers pleated the material so that their clothes had a pleasing drape and silhouette. Thus one of the world's most enduring styles was born.

By the first century C.E., new fabrics and colours were available. Romans imported silk from China or India, although the expense of transport made woven silk as costly as gold. Another fashionable material was dyed wool from Tyre, a kilogram of which could cost 2,000 denarii — six years' wages for a typical worker. The new dyes and materials enabled wealthy Roman women to wear a stola — a long, ample outer garment — of blue cotton from India or perhaps yellow silk from China.

Although new styles arose periodically, in past eras a costly garment would likely be in fashion for a lifetime. Changes came slowly and usually affected just the nobility. With the coming of the industrial revolution, however, fashion became much more relevant to the common people.

During the 19th century, whole industries arose to clothe both the rich and the poor. Mechanized cotton and woolen mills proliferated, and the price of fabrics came down. Because of sewing machines, clothes could be produced more cheaply, and new synthetic dyes offered a much greater choice of colours.

Social and technological changes played an even greater role in clothing the masses. In Western Europe and North America, people had more money to spend. In the 1850's, women's magazines appeared, and soon thereafter department stores began to offer ready-to-wear clothes in standard sizes. Also in the 19th century, Charles Frederick Worth introduced fashion shows, using live models to spark the interest of prospective clients.

In the 20th century, new synthetic fibres, such as rayon, nylon, and polyester, offered manufacturers a wider array of fabrics. Computerized designs made it easy to produce new styles, and because of globalisation, new fashion trends could appear almost simultaneously on the streets of Tokyo, New York, Paris, and Sao Paulo. Meanwhile, designers and manufacturers have found new ways to promote their products. Today young people have taken the place of the wealthy as the most ardent fashion enthusiasts. Every month, millions of them buy new clothes, arid the trade produces hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of clothing a year*.

* In one recent year, the value of garments produced was estimated at $335 billion.


The Image Makers

King Louis XIIIFor centuries kings and nobles' set the standards of dress. In the 17th century, King Louis XIII of France decided to wear a wig to cover his baldness.2 Before long, European nobles were shaving their heads and wearing wigs — a style that lasted more than a century.

In the 19th century, women's magazines brought fashion trends to the fore3 and even offered inexpensive patterns4 so that women could make their own clothes. In the 20th century, as movies and television gained popularity, stars became international idols and set trends in fashion. Popular musicians too sported5 radical styles, which many youths quickly imitated. Today, little has changed, as advertisers make effective use of fashion shows, glossy6 magazines, billboards,7 shop windows, and television advertisements to generate a demand for new clothes.

1              nobles — дворянство

2              baldness - плешивость

3              to the fore — на передний план

4              pattern - выкройка

5              to sport - (разг.) носить, щеголять

6              glossy - глянцевый

7              billboard - рекламный щит


XII. Describe the pictures. Prepare your own one for discussions.



This ancient Egyptian linen garment was one of the world's most enduring fashions.

 In ancient Rome women wore a stola.

 In past eras a costly garment would likely be in fashion for a lifetime.

 The industrial revolution made it possible for common people to be more fashion conscious.

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