Deirdre Clemente

Associate Director, Public History program
Expertise: 20th century American Culture, Fashion and clothing, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Museum studies


Deirdre Clemente is a historian and curator of 20th century American culture, specializing in fashion and clothing. She is an expert in the use of fashion in the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald and served as a historical consultant for costume in Baz Luhrmann's film, The Great Gatsby.

Clemente is the associate director of the UNLV public history program. She holds a master of arts degree in Museum Studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in history from Carnegie Mellon. Her research on the intersection of clothing and social change has been published in the Journal of Social History, New England Quarterly, Journal of American Culture, and others. Her book Dress Casual: How College Kids Redefined American Style was published in spring 2014 from UNC Press. The book explores how and why collegians pioneered the adoption of casual dress – one of the most pervasive cultural shifts of the 20th century. Clemente is currently working on her second book titled, Chic Streets: Urban Development, Shopping, and the American Fashion Industry which considers the evolution of New York's Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive and Miami Beach's Lincoln road as places where American clothing was made and marketed.

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Deirdre Clemente In The News

KLAS-TV: 8 News Now
July 25, 2019
UNLV students are taking advantage of a unique opportunity — to do some history detective work. It’s being done as part of UNLV’s Public History program
The Guardian
July 22, 2019
It was at the beginning of a shift at Harrods that Georgia Brown told her manager where to go. Brown, then aged 22, was working for a temp agency that supplied shop assistants to the department store. She cannot remember the name of the manager. But she does remember why she lost her cool: she had had enough of being forced to wear heels on the job.
July 22, 2019
“Heel shoes are a symbol of female oppression,” said Professor Mary Beard last week to Manola Blahnika, a renowned luxury shoe manufacturer, whose brand was especially famous for Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City. While not everyone may identify with the professor's assertion, the fact remains that if heels do not have to go to work, why it should be women's responsibility, Sirin Kale says in an article mapping this growing displeasure and titled Why should I have to work on stilts ?: the women fighting sexist dress codes . "Women are often the victims of working dresscodes, even if they don't have to wear a uniform," she writes.
Canal Antigua
July 22, 2019
About 100 years ago, women in their workplaces looked a little different from what they look like today. But many of the basic garments at the time of dressing to go to the office remain today.

Articles Featuring Deirdre Clemente

John F. Kennedy
Arts and CultureSeptember 27, 2016
History professor Deirdre Clemente chronicles the increasingly casual nature of presidential fashion.
Homecoming royalty from 1976
ResearchSeptember 1, 2016
UNLV history professor Deirdre Clemente's newest book highlights a convergence of fashion and consumerism on college campuses.
The jumpsuit may have originated as standard issue for airplane pilots in WWII, but its constant reinvention proves that utilitarian comfort can mesh with haute couture. This early piece by French designer — and Sidney favorite — Thierry Mugler features patch pockets and a drawstring waist but is made with hand-printed silk. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)
Arts and CultureDecember 7, 2014
The Dec. 8 University Forum Lecture explores fundamental themes in 20th Century fashion.
UNLV signpost
Business and CommunityNovember 13, 2014
Exhibit explores history between the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 and the City of Las Vegas.