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

January 29, 2019
In all the hurly-burly of life, it’s easy to lose sight of two things, but there are two life enhancements that can elevate your game.
January 18, 2019
Suzanne Lenglen was about as badass as you could get for a sportswoman in the 1920s. The ‘first diva of tennis’ had a serious temper, she drank from a flask between sets, smoked and had many lovers. She scoffed in the face of customs and traditions, and played to win. And she wanted to look damn good doing it, too.
The Atlantic
October 28, 2018
Yoga pants, tennis shoes, and the 100-year history of how sports changed the way Americans dress
Fast Company
September 24, 2018
The president of the French Tennis Federation lambasted Serena Williams’s catsuit last month. It wasn’t the first time an outfit worn by a female athlete generated outrage.

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.
Business and CommunityNovember 13, 2014
Exhibit explores history between the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 and the City of Las Vegas.