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Who hasn’t found herself lying prone on a physician’s table, staring at the ceiling, thinking, This paper gown is sooo comfortable! If only I could just throw on my panties and spend the rest of my day wearing it! Well, a generation of women has already tried, and failed, to make the material wearable. In “Looking American: Disposable Fashion—1960s Paper Dresses,” lecturer Priscilla Wood tracks the path of the paper dress from corporate promotional item to high fashion to the trend’s inevitable demise. Paper apparel was thought to be the wave of the future, but, even with nylon reinforcement, the frocks were no match for jumpy cocker spaniels or careless smokers. Though traipsing around in notebook paper no longer seems very practical, there is still plenty of disposable clothing to be had: We may not have paper dresses, but we do have H&M. Find out why it ain’t paper that is the fabric of our lives at noon in the National Museum of American
History’s reception suite, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Sarah Godfrey)