- This thesis is a study of the clothing selection practices and
related problems of a selected group of low-income women enrolled
in work-training programs conducted at Lane Community College,
Eugene, Oregon and Southwestern Oregon Community College, Coos
Bay, Oregon. Sources of clothing, sources of information influencing
selection of clothing, types and numbers of outerwear obtained for the
training period before and after entry into the training program, types
and numbers of outerwear items owned for classroom and job-interview
use and for at-home wear and clothing problems encountered are
included in this study.
Interviews, to determine the type and number of outerwear
items considered most satisfactory for the training period, were
conducted by the writer with three community college instructors
and three Oregon Public Welfare Commission employees who worked
directly with trainees in work-training programs. Ten types of outerwear
were specified by those interviewed as the most satisfactory
types of outerwear for the work-training program. These types were:
all-purpose coats, tailored dresses, tailored suits, tailored blouses,
street shoes, nylon hosiery, handbags, tailored skirts, cardigan
sweaters, and gloves.
Forty-seven women enrolled in work-training programs completed
the questionnaire and met the criteria established by the writer
which included having a yearly family income which ranked as lowincome
when using the Orshansky income scale as a guide.
These low-income women obtained clothing from 14 different
sources, but 88.4 percent of the total number of outerwear items were
obtained from seven clothing sources: department stores, dress
shops, gifts, homemade, shoe stores, handed down, and rummage and
garage sales. Some outerwear items were obtained from one or more
of three sources of used clothing, handed down, thrift shops, and
rummage and garage sales, by 70.2 percent of the respondents; however,
all respondents obtained outerwear from sources of new clothing.
The sources of information which influenced the clothing selection
practices of the largest percentages of respondents were friends,
magazines, television, newspapers, and teachers.
Six of the ten types of outerwear designated as most satisfactory
for the work-training program by the work-training personnel were obtained by a larger percentage of respondents after entering the program
than before entering.
Over 68 percent of the respondents owned more clothing for
classroom and job-interview wear than for at-home wear, however
many women did not own the ten types of outerwear designated as
most satisfactory for classroom and job-interview wear by the work-training
Less than half of the respondents, 44.7 percent, classified their
wardrobes as satisfactory for classroom wear before they entered the
The clothing problems encountered by the respondents included,
obtaining outerwear too casual for classroom wear reported by 87.2
percent, and obtaining outerwear too dressy for classroom wear
reported by 68 percent. Certain functions were avoided by some
respondents because they believed their wardrobes were unsuitable
for the occasions, including social functions, employment interviews
and church services.