From 1881 to 1883, the New York art periodical The Art Amateur featured a remarkable column entitled “Art in Dress,” wherein writer Mary Gay Humphreys sought the opinions of American artists associated with the National Academy of Design on how women should dress. In analyzing this column’s critical approach to modern fashion with its advice on how to dress artfully in an American way, we reflect on the discursive construction of the natural female body in print culture and highlight the relationship between gender, dress, American arts institutions, and popular aesthetic culture of the late nineteenth century.

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