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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

There Must Be Something in the Water: Fashion, Wellness, and Class at Saratoga Springs, 1875–1925
by Novitch, Avery, M.A., Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2020, 108; 27994581
Abstract (Summary)

Since the early nineteenth century Saratoga Springs, New York has been regarded as a preeminent watering-place. While it has not remained steadfastly en vogue, Saratoga has always had a unique relationship to fashion. What has distinguished Saratoga from similar resort communities is the value assigned to both the leisure class and the aspirational class. For the past two centuries, the city has developed a variety of institutions and cultural fixtures that garnered publicity and enormous waves of tourism. Scholars, however, have generally neglected to analyze the city using economic and social class-based theory. Examining Saratoga and the innumerable ways that its visitors engaged in meaningful consumption reveals valuable information about the relationship between resorts, leisure, and fashion.

This paper aims to provide a cultural study of Saratoga Springs, New York from 1875 to 1925. Many historians fail to explore this period, due to the misconception that the value of the city’s history lessened after the Civil War, as it altered the course of domestic tourism. The first chapter of this paper will analyze the social scene around the mineral springs in relation to wellness and inconspicuous consumption. The second chapter will interrogate the relationship between Saratoga’s hotel scene, the culture of the Race Course, and conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure. This qualifying paper aims to analyze this prolific watering-place through the lens of Thorstein Veblen’s 1899 Theory of the Leisure Class and Elizabeth Currid-Halkett’s 2017 theory of the aspirational class, and in doing so, engage in crucial discussions regarding resort culture, social and economic hierarchies, and American ideology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Byrd, Sarah
Commitee: Font, Lourdes, Montegut, Denyse
School: Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York
Department: Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: MAI 81/11(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, American history, Fashion
Keywords: Leisure, Resort, Saratoga Springs, Spa, Upstate New York, Wellness
Publication Number: 27994581
ISBN: 9798645446192
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