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Shelby Foster

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Many things changed about the way we live during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the way we dress. More time spent at home meant loose fitting, comfortable clothing became de rigueur and anything with buttons sank farther and farther into the depths of our closets.

To mark this time—and to show the common thread of at-home dress throughout the decades—the Texas Fashion Collection at the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design brings 14 looks to NorthPark Center for a special exhibition titled Fashion in Residence.

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“From transforming homes into venues for entertaining during Prohibition in the 1920s to the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping our living spaces into primary sites for leisure, our wardrobes have long responded to changing demands of our times,” curator Annette Becker said.

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Within American popular culture, advances in at-home dress have empowered women by gently challenging the boundaries of acceptable clothing. While women wearing pants was not widely accepted until the 1970s, hostess ensembles as early as the 1920s included bifurcated garments. When televisions flooded American homes in the 1950s, designer Claire McCardell designed the first "television suit," an ensemble somewhere between a house dress and nighttime pajamas. The late 1960s sexual revolution pushed lingerie out of the bedroom and onto the pages of fashion magazines, enlivening options in intimate apparel. In 2020, the "Nap Dress" skyrocketed to fame, a lightweight cotton garment created by Hill House Home founder Nell Diamond. 

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The exhibition also features looks from Lilly Pulitzer, Todd Oldham, Emilio Pucci, and Bill Blass, just to name a few. Discover the colorful, flowing garments up close on Level One between Neiman Marcus and Dillard's through June 6.

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