Sartorial Codes In The Twentieth Century Essay

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Raul Corniner a graduate student presented on gay dress and sexual identity in the Twentieth Century. During most of the twentieth century being gay was not something that was accepted by the majority leaving these people limited ways to express their sexual identity. Because being gay wasn’t accepted these people adapted sartorial codes among each other in order to communicate their sexual identity to each other through dress. In the early twentieth century sartorial codes were not used as a demonstration of gay pride but were secret codes that were mainly only understood by the gay community. Moving towards the later part of the twentieth century these sartorial codes became less of a secret and changed into deliberate expressions of ones sexual availability and orientation.…show more content…
Although many people were not openly gay during this time they had more opportunities to express themselves through dress than previous times. Some of the secret sartorial codes in the early twentieth century included wearing flower boutonnieres, green ties, pocket squares with loud colors and prints and suede shoes. The gay community associated these items of clothing with being gay but the majority of people just saw these items as things well dressed men would wear. Moving into the later part of the century the gay community started to be less secretive about their sartorial codes partly due to the Stonewall Riots in 1969 where gays fought back because they wanted to seen as equals to the rest of society. These riots were a turning point for the gay community leading to more deliberate sartorial codes including keys on a belt loop, single earrings, t-shirts and jewelry. One of the biggest sartorial codes of this time was the hanky code, which is a system of coding to communicate sexual availability through the wearing of bandanas. The color of the bandana worn represents a specific sexual fetish and the sexual role

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