The history of women fashion 2: 20th century


With the arrival of the 1900’s, women’s fashion begun to change. The Victorian era is finished and women begin to wear dresses that fulfill a practical purpose. This is the era when female suits were born. In these early years of 20th century, fashion accentuated the form of the mature, curved woman’s body. In the early beginning of the 1900s, new fashion styles in the Western world were often seen during horse races, where French fashion was most popular, deriving from Paris. When the 1910s came, the style of the gowns changed from long and full skirts to shorter dresses that often revealed the ankles. Until the beginning of World War I, fashion moved towards embracing a new type of style – highlighting flat chest and skinny hips. No further development was made until the end of the war in 1918. Clothing industry came to a modern era in the 1920s where women started deliberating themselves which could clearly be seen through clothing. They started wearing pants and short skirts. The Great Depression during the 1930s caused clinging to more conservative styles – longer dresses and an emphasized waistline.

Another big difference in clothing that discerned the 30s from 20s was also induced by the Great Depression. During 1920s women could wear impractical dresses whole day without a problem because they had servants that took care of the domestic chores. The hard times of the 1930s made women participate much more in chores around the house. That lead to a need for a more practical apparel during the day. So, women used different styles during the daytime, when they had to wear clothes in which they had eased mobility, from those they wore at night, when it was all about luxury. With the arrival of the 1940s and a new war on the horizon, fashion embraced uniformity and minimalism. Considering that during the war the materials became hard to get, dresses became shorter, buttons became rarer (3 per item) and women had to do their best to look as ladylike as they could with highly limited clothing choices. In the 1950s the so-called New Look was popular. Expensive fabrics were used and clothes were being decorated with luxurious ornaments. Accessories became necessary.

The 1960s are known for the rejection of traditional fashion by young people. It was s Fashion Revolution in which they started nurturing their own styles and the fashion industry had nothing else to do but to try to keep up with them. This was the era of miniskirts, hot pants, and blue jeans. The 1970s were still under a great influence of the style diversity in 60s, so anything could be “in”. From the 1980s on, designer styles became very popular. Even though many people could not afford the popular clothing of the era, some designer brands, such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren produced lines for the non-wealthy costumers. The 1990s were a time when women chose a more casual, relaxed, not over-priced style. Even though some women rather opt for the designer apparel, the casual style at normal price is mainly popular today and it seems to continue to be in the future. But who knows what tomorrow brings?

Nessie L.B.


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published