This article uses the prism of dress to explore the ways in which ordinary women negotiated Catholic morality codes in Italy during the great social transformations of the ‘economic miracle’ and afterwards. These years saw dramatic changes in gender roles and the influence of the mass media in society, as well as a rapid increase in migration, urbanization and financial well-being among Italians, and all of these changes were reflected in a very visible, everyday sense in changing fashions. At the same time, the Church was on the defensive and launched a morality crusade, focusing particularly on feminine ‘purity’ and modesty in dress, seeing more modern ways as a threat to Catholic values and traditions. Here, the advice column of Italy's leading – Catholic – magazine in these years is used to examine how individual Catholic women negotiated the competing influences of these years as they decided how to dress.
- Famiglia Cristiana , fashion, morality, Catholicism, magazine advice columns, social history of ‘economic miracle’