Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fashion: Early to Mid 1900's

I've always thought it interesting how fashion and the world's idea of beauty change throughout the ages. The early to mid 1900's was a crucial time for the evolution of women's fashion. In those years, skirts shortened, women started wearing pants, and the terribly uncomfortable corset fell out of use.
1900's
In the early 1900's women's fashion still retained a Victorian influence. Women always wore corsets and long skirts. For fancy occasions, dresses usually trailed onto the floor.
This dress from 1908 would probably have been worn for quite a fancy occasion. Mostly only the well off could have afforded something like this.
The Gibson Girl was the fashion icon of the era. Women wanted to copy her soft feminine look.
For everyday wear, women wore something like this. Shirts were always tucked in, and skirts were never any shorter than this. Women wore hats to protect their skin from the sun, as fair skin was still considered a sign of wealth and beauty.
1910's
In the 1910's fashion had less of a Victorian influence. Clothes began to have straighter lines and less of a tailored cut.
A wealthy woman on the Titanic could have worn this dress, dating from 1911. You can see how the style changed from the Victorian look. The waist is empire and the skirt doesn't trail on the floor.
Something like this would have been worn for an afternoon tea. It has the same empire waist, draped side look that the aforementioned dress has.
This dress has a slightly lower waist, but you can see how it still has really detailed fabric like the other dresses.
And for all you Downton Abbey fans, here's a picture of Matthew and Mary in 1910's formal attire.
1920's 
In the 1920's women's fashion really started to change. The freedom and prosperity after the War inspired  many women to reject previous social norms, especially in the way they dressed. Women traded the corset for a loose camisole and shorted their skirts.
Known as flappers, these women loved fringe, strands of beads, and the shocking Charleston.
A flapper could have worn something like this for everyday. Notice the knee length skirt and the new style of hat.
Many women tried to copy this drop waist, Coco Chanel style.The silhouette of the dress differs greatly from the Victorian style. This boyish figure replaced the Gibson Girl ideal.
Coco Chanel's influence also ushered in the new style of short wedding dresses.
1930's
The Great Depression affected the common woman's ability to dress fashionably, but for those who had money and influence, they still managed to dress with dynamic fashion and created fashion icons for women all over the country.
A wealthy woman could have worn a gown like this for a formal occasion. This dress dates from 1936.
Fur was all the rage, as shown in this picture of Lucille Ball. You could only afford real fur if you were really wealthy.
Skirts fitted through the hips became popular. Interesting necklines such as this triangle cut one were common.
Film star Ginger Rogers always dressed at the height of fashion. In this picture, she also wore a fitted skirt. Capes rather than jackets were popular.
A housewife would have worn something like this for everyday. Many people made dresses out of patterned flour sacks.
1940's
The 1940's started a businesslike trend in women's fashion. Women had to go work while their husbands and boyfriends fought in the war.
Many women wore suit jackets and matching skirts. The woman on the left as a necktie, but it's much more feminine than a man's necktie.
Hair rolled in the front and victory rolls were common. I love this hairstyle. And the shirt!
The necessity of women working made it socially acceptable for women to wear pants. However, women still mostly only wore them in the workplace.
Ava Gardner was a fashion icon. Women's fashion for leisure sports started to become more popular.
Movie star Rita Hayworth was one of the most popular fashion icons of the age.
1950's
The 1950's. The War was over. As a culture of consumerism spread, the latest fashions became accessible to more women. Big skirts were all the rage.
My friend has a theory that the reason skirts became fuller is that fabric was no longer rationed and people had more money to buy material. That seems like a reasonable theory!
Polka dots were very fashionable.
High necklines such as this were seen as classy and sophisticated.
New, bold patterns began to come out.
Something like this beautiful tulle dress could have been worn to prom.
So, as you can see, women's fashion changed dramatically over a sixty year period. Fashions recycle themselves too! The fifties style of a fuller skirt has been coming back!
So, I hope I can continue to keep up with my blog, but I've really got to start doing my AP Euro summer work. I'm also skipping a year of Latin, so I have to squeeze in a lot of studying before September.
Also, if you are confused about what I'm referring to in the captions, I am usually referring to the image above. I'm not sure why I did it that way; I just did :)

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