History of fashion 1900-1990 Looking back over fashion trends for the past 100 years can only cause one to marvel at the drastic changes that have occurred, often in lockstep with societal changes. Women's liberation, for example, can be visually measured through the evolution from suffocating corsets to jersey fabrics to bikinis. A timeline of the past century shows how the times have changed. During ancient times people wore limited clothing made from animal skins and grasses. Then for hundreds of years during Greek and Roman times, cloth was merely draped over the body in various ways. By the Renaissance period in the 15th century, the fashions were elaborately constructed and women wore up to five layers of clothing. However, fashion changes still occurred slowly, sometimes hundreds of years apart. It wasn't really until the 1900's that fashion trends began to emerge more rapidly. A brief overview of these trends is outlined below: 1900-1910 This period is frequently referred to as the Edwardian period. The trend was for women to wear clothing that created an S shape silhouette. Corsets and padding pushed the bust upright, held the waist tightly in and created a high protruding bottom. It was rather torturous for women. Women were hidden under layers of underskirts, trains, scarves, hats, and gloves. Doctors advised against wearing corsets because they were restrictive to the point of damaging the health of those who wore them but women wore them anyway. 1911-1919 World War I heralded a fashion trend which would go on to become a classic unisex fashion-the trench coat. Thomas Burberry designed the trench coat to keep soldiers dry and warm in the trenches. However, perhaps the most notable trend is women wearing pants due to war time work meaning women needed to wear more practical clothing Along with the vote, women gained confidence and independence. Short skirts appeared, and a new era began. Men's pant legs peaked at a whopping width of 24 inches, and the look that emerged was that of a dandy, complete with cane, stiff collar, bow tie, and bowler or straw hat. The 1920's During this decade the desired silhouette was the boyish figure. Women typically wore straight up and down dresses with dropped waists. Hemlines began to creep up calves and women were able to enjoy newfound comfort wearing slip on dresses and no waist tightening corsets. Red lips, cigarettes, bobbed hair, flapper dresses, and a giant depression at the end. Men continued to look dapper, and spectator shoes became all the rage. The 1930's During the 1930's there was a return to glamour with Hollywood films influencing fashion. Think elegant bias cut gowns, worn with feather boas. Chanel introduces costume jewelry that is just as attractive as the real thing. Pleats, fur, and understated elegance replaced the exuberant styles of the Roaring Twenties. Skirts lengthened. Fashion was dominated by perfection, not creativity. The 1940's In the first part of this decade fabric was rationed due to World War II. Therefore fashions were understated, colors were dull and styles often had a military influence. However, in 1947 Christian Dior released a thoroughly feminine look called "The New Look". This was a dress with a tight bodice and extremely full skirt, sometimes requiring as much as 25 yards of fabric. Silk, which was used for parachutes, fell out of fashion grace. Most women couldn't afford hosiery, so they painted long lines down the backs of their legs with eyeliner, to mimic the look of seamed hose. The 1950's The tiny waist and full skirt remained a popular look during the 1950's. Levis Strauss began selling denim jeans to workers and when Elvis wears them on stage they start to become a youth coveted look. Chanel continued to market an elegant look which saw women wearing braid trim suits, hats, gloves and pearl necklaces. With the end of the war came a return to fashion sensibility. Christian Dior made a splash with his elegant, frothy creations. Women wore hats and gloves, and shoes always matched handbags. Pencil skirts featured slits in the back, so women could walk. The 1960's This was the decade of music that frightened elder generations, new music, Barbie, secondhand clothes, and models that became as famous as movie stars. Fashion became a template for individual expression. Colors, prints and silhouettes went wild during the 1960's. Young women wore a wide variety of trends like; the mini skirt, pucci prints, go go boots, babydoll dresses and even wearable art style creations. Older women tried to emulate the American Presidents wife, Jacqueline Kennedy. The 1970's One of the key trends during the 1970's were bell bottom pants. They were worn by men and women and even extended into office attire. Miniskirts, maxi dresses and hot pants were also a big hit. The television show Charlie's Angels inspired women to get the "Farrah Fawcett flick" hairstyle. Jeans, jersey knits, patchwork, pullover sweaters, and long hair for both men and women also characterized the 70s. The 1980's With women entering the workforce in droves the power suit is one of the most dominant fashions. This extended into all aspects of life with women wearing shoulder pads in every style of clothing including t-shirts. Wedding dresses were inspired by Diana Princess of Wales, wedding to Prince Charles. This was also the decade of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and extravagance and extremes in style. Leggings, headbands, shoulder pads, and workout wear dominated. Men's fashion became a force all its own. Miami Vice-style (white suits, rolled sleeves, and blow-dried style) appeared. The 1990's During the 1990's fashion was quite minimalist. Cardigans began to replace heavily padded jackets at the office and women wore stretch leggings everywhere. Elizabeth Hurley set a trend for daring evening attire when she wore a Versace dress held together by safety pins. Grunge, Goth, and a sense of anti-style appeared. Individualism reigned. For the first time, body art emerged.
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