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Shop To It: Think it all started with Fashion’s Night Out? In 1915, Fairchild Publications launched a nationwide Dress-Up campaign to take place, in most cities, the first week of October. The movement was meant to spur consumer confidence —not just to buy more, but buy better and dress better, as a result of the growing prosperity in the U.S.
“Today we face a situation very different than that of last August,” wrote WWD on July 23. “Now we see beyond uncertainly that this country already is lapped by the first waters of a great tide of prosperity….Let us clothe our minds in Optimism and then express our minds’ attitude in better clothes than we have been wearing in this last year since the war began.” Coverage of the movement made all the national papers. “Dress Up Week—The Easter of the Fall,” declared the Boston Sunday Globe on September 19. WWD itself added on September 24 that the notion of Dress Up was “uncompromisingly American and that, in characteristic American style, it goes straight to the point….It represents the new note in merchandising—a disposition to play up quality and to commit the bargain idea—for one week at least—to the limbo of things that have failed.” Another article on October 22 offered this tag line: “‘Dress Up’—The National Tonic.”