Dress Like a Woman: Working Women and What They Wore

Abrams Books, Vanessa Friedman, Roxane Gay

A woman can be a firefighter, surgeon, astronaut, military officer, athlete, judge, and scientist. So what does it mean to dress like a woman?Dress Like a Woman turns that question on its head by sharing a myriad of interpretations across history. The book includes more than 240 incredible photographs that illustrate how women’s roles have changed over the last century. The women pictured in this book inhabit a fascinating intersection of gender, fashion, politics, culture, class, nationality, and race. You’ll see some familiar faces, including trailblazers Shirley Chisholm, Amelia Earhart, Angela Davis, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Michelle Obama, but the majority of photographs are of ordinary working women from many backgrounds and professions. Pioneering scientists and mathematicians, leading civil rights and feminist activists, factory workers and lumberjacks, stay-at-home moms and domestic workers, and artists and musicians; all express their individual style and dress to get the job done.

With essays by renowned fashion writer Vanessa Friedman and New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay, Dress Like a Woman offers a comprehensive look at the role of gender and clothing in the workplace—and proves that there’s no single way to dress like a woman.

Creator Bio

Vanessa Friedman is the fashion director and chief fashion critic at the New York Times. She was previously the fashion director of The Financial Times, and her writing has appeared in Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and more. She lives in New York City.

Roxane Gay is the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist. Her writing has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, Difficult Women, and the forthcoming Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She resides in Illinois.



“Dress Like A Woman, with a foreword by Roxane Gay and introduction by Vanessa Friedman, features more than 300 pictures showing women at work across the world – and examines their evolving roles, from domestic servants to astronauts” The Guardian

“This fascinating book chronicles women’s working outfits across history, from the now-outdated (a uniform for selling cigarettes in the cinema), to the interesting and unexpected. You’ll find such familiar faces as Amelia Earhart and Michelle Obama, as well as some real grit in the form of ordinary working women.” Daily Mail

“The Golden Globes may have signalled a change in how we report on the red carpet, but women’s wardrobes have always meant more than designer labels and risqué lines. Dress Like a Woman: Working Women and What They Wore explores the changes in fashion that reflected the evolution of women’s roles over the last century, with 300 photographs of females in various jobs, an introduction by The New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman, and a foreword by feminist icon Roxane Gay.” Image magazine, Ireland

“What does it mean to dress ‘like a woman’? For a long time (read: too long) the answer was dictated by men. Nowadays, that’s changing, albeit with a few exceptions, with women able to choose what they wear to work based on factors like (shock, horror) comfort and style. This evolution is explored in new book. Dress Like A Woman: Working Women And What They Wore. As the 300 photographs show, it means Malala Yousafzai in her salwar kameez, Michelle Obama’s power dresses, and the overalls of a million female mechanics, engineers and needleworkers. The point being? That dressing like a woman means dressing however said woman pleases.” Red Magazine

“What does it mean to #DressLikeAWoman? Roxanne Gay and Vanessa Friedman’s new book, Dress Like A Woman – with 300 images of female firefighters, health workers and astronauts – shows that there’s no easy answer.’ Harpers Bazaar

“Clothes are fun, obviously, but they’re fascinating, too. The way women have dressed through time has reflected economics, politics, and the way women’s roles have changed. I am so glad someone has taken the time to put all this information in one book, and I can’t wait to read it and share it.” The Pool

“With introductions by Vanessa Friedman and Roxane Gay, this photo book explores the history of female power dressing across different classes, cultures, and careers.” InStyle

“Three hundred photos of working women, from astronauts to Amelia Earhart: we heart Dress Like a Woman: Working Women and What They Wore by Roxane Gay and Vanessa Friedman.” Irish Tatler

“a sprawling collection of photos that capture celebrated looks…unusual uniforms…and historically specific tools” New York Magazine

“From astronaut to surgeon, ‘Dress Like a Woman: Working Women and What They Wore’ (Abrams Image, £18.99) illustrates women’s changing roles over the past century. Among the 300 photographs are famous faces, but it’s the images of ordinary women that are the most fascinating, from a teacher in the Democratic Republic of the Congo holding a baby as she points to a blackboard (1989) to a woman helping to construct a dive bomber in Tennessee (1943).” i newspaper

Price £18.99
Format Hardback
Publication Date 27 February 2018
Pages 224
Height 241mm
Width 165mm
Illustrations 300 colour photograph
ISBN-13 9781419729928