Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Service and Style: How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class” as Want to Read:
Service and Style: How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Service and Style: How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  56 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Downtown department stores were once the heart and soul of America’s pulsing Broadways and Main Streets. With names such as City of Paris, Penn Traffic, The Maze, Maison Blanche, or The Popular, they suggested spheres far beyond mundane shopping. Nicknames reflected the affection customers felt for their favorites, whether Woodie’s, Wanny’s, Stek’s, O.T.’s, Herp’s, or Bam ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 22nd 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Service and Style, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Service and Style

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 264)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I spent my semester researching a historic department store in Baltimore, and I used this book. Perhaps a bit heavy on the nostalgia, but Whitaker is correct in pointing out that department stores were considered to be a threat to small dry goods dealers, and were viewed much as some view Walmart today. Because of this book, I wasn't surprised to find that the Maryland legislature repeatedly brought forward an "anti-department store bill," starting in the 1890s.

I don't know whether it was a nati
Jan Whitaker has cornered the market on documenting retail history. This was a really fascinating look at the history of the department store. Lighting and air conditioning played a big part in its early success and its view of how "the other half" lived was available for everybody to see and buy.
Coincidentally, this book found me as Masterpiece Theatre is between two series set in department stores: Mr. Selfridge and The Paradise. Both are relatively mediocre series, but that's beside the point. This book is great background and detail on the development of department stores, back when they were way more than department stores as I know them. I can't say I'm nostalgic for them, as the author seems, but I do miss companies investing money in really attractive architecture. Tar-jay, eat y ...more
I love the history of retailing. I just finished "Look to Lazarus", the sole purpose of which was to indulge baby boomer nostalgia: oh we loooved our department store downtown, things were so much better then...
By page 12 of this book I am disabused of the notion that department stores were universally adored. In the late 19th century people slammed them just the way we do malls and chain stores now. they were said to be putting small merchants out of business, mistreating employees, selling sho
Apr 09, 2014 Liza rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: did-not-finish
It was boring.
If you want to know how things used to be before the malls and big box stores then read this book. The author breaks it all down socially, economically and historically. She really sums it up in the end: yes, we have come full circle. If you are into the retro world, you'll appreciate this book.
Interesting read on how an American business segment adapted to the current needs of their customers, and at the same time "taught" their customers what was "proper" about shopping. Too much detail for the casual reader, but easy to skim.
Jun 14, 2009 Bryan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Heard about this one here:
Great illustrations.
Apr 15, 2012 Gwen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gwen by: Etsy blog 5/31/2011
Crissy marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2015
Molly marked it as to-read
Apr 27, 2015
Zuri Bennett-paden
Zuri Bennett-paden marked it as to-read
Apr 20, 2015
Jessica marked it as to-read
Apr 09, 2015
Carol Saddoris
Carol Saddoris marked it as to-read
Apr 08, 2015
Rebecca marked it as to-read
Apr 03, 2015
Zelina marked it as to-read
Mar 25, 2015
Amanda Quental
Amanda Quental marked it as to-read
Mar 25, 2015
Rae marked it as to-read
Mar 11, 2015
Nora is currently reading it
Mar 10, 2015
Jennie marked it as to-read
Feb 27, 2015
Sydney Scott
Sydney Scott marked it as to-read
Feb 16, 2015
Aimee marked it as to-read
Feb 15, 2015
Kayla Boesche
Kayla Boesche marked it as to-read
Feb 12, 2015
Rajeswari marked it as to-read
Feb 11, 2015
Emily marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2015
Hisela Arzu
Hisela Arzu marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2015
Yahaya marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2015
Breezy marked it as to-read
Jan 17, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Hollywood and History - Costume Design in Film
  • The Devil's Cloth: A History of Stripes
  • The History of Underclothes
  • Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940
  • The Language of Clothes
  • Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey
  • 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment
  • Patterns of Fashion
  • Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail
  • Costume Close-Up: Clothing Construction and Pattern, 1750-1790
  • The Medieval Tailor's Assistant: Making Common Garments 1200-1500
  • Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute - A History from the 18th to the 20th Century
  • Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries
  • 100 Dresses: The Costume Institute / The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Edith Head: The Life and Times of Hollywood's Celebrated Costume Designer
  • White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf
  • Russian Elegance: Country and City Fashion from the 15th to the Early 20th Century
  • Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America
In a sense I backed into writing books via a postcard collection. After years of collecting postcards of restaurants and tea rooms, I wanted to learn more about them and began sending around a proposal for a book on tea rooms. I love doing research and visiting libraries and archives. When I published Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America in 2002 it had not ...more
More about Jan Whitaker...
Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America World of Department Stores Department Store: History, Design, Display From Betty Crocker to Feminist Food Studies: Critical Perspectives on Women and Food

Share This Book