“Fashion is not just about trends. It is about political history. You can trace it from the ancient Romans to probably until the eighties, and you can see defining moments that were due either to revolutions or changes in politics.” – Daphne Guinness
Without a doubt, fashion is one of the many worldly aspects that does not stay stagnant. It changes throughout the season, but the changes it goes through a decade are monumental and vast. Indeed, there are moments in time wherein a history in fashion is made punctuated by classic styles that remain relevant even until today. And as Valerie Steele would say, fashion is a part of the world. It is not simply a meaningless swirl of meaningless clothes. The clothes would reflect the times. In fact, most of the fashion whether wholesale clothing or retail present in a particular decade are heavily influenced by that decade’s specific and defining moments such as cultural assimilations, revolutions and even changes in politics. Here are some of the best and worst moments in fashion history:
The 1900s: Feathered Hat
In the 1900s, a woman would be considered awfully under dressed should she come in an ensemble sans a hat. The hat is not only considered as a complementary accessory the way it is today, but it is also, in fact, a part of the whole outfit. One particular hat that was all the rage was the feathered hat, often referred to as the “Plume Boom” which had real feathers attached to hats. In the 20th century, these hats reached their peak.
The 1910s: Edwardian Corset
Even if the Edwardian Corset was conceived more than a century ago, women all over the world would still be seen sporting them, albeit underneath their clothes or as supplementary gears for their workout routines. It was during this time wherein slimmer waists, and heightened busts were all the rage, and the Edwardian Corset was the perfect fashion piece for that. It cinched a woman’s waist while accentuating her breasts and hips; it created the illusion of a perfect hourglass figure. Unfortunately, style and beauty did not come without any discomfort as wearing this corset can, in fact, be very uncomfortable.
The 1920’s: Flapper Fashion
The 1920’s was an excellent time for fashion as it introduced a myriad of styles to women that an still be seen in some contemporary clothes today. Flapper fashion was a big thing where women wore straight cut dresses that showed their legs and bras made specifically made to flatten their chests. Often complemented with an appropriate head accessory, the flapper ensemble was incomplete without a flapper headband which kept a woman’s bob haircut in place. To give it a softer and more feminine look, it usually cut across their forehead.
The 1930’s: Puffed Sleeves
1930’s fashion was defined by the innovation of puffed sleeves where women preferred more feminine shapes in their wardrobes. Wearing a puff sleeve was meant to highlight a woman’s curves or create the illusion of having it when she did not possess one.
The 1940’s: Utility Dresses
The 1940’s fashion was characterized by war, and much of it is evident in women’s style. During this decade, women mostly wore what people would say as “civilian uniforms” which were made of fabric that is durable and affordable due to the scarcity of materials. As this was the case, women were constrained to repurposing old clothing and other fabrics such as bed sheets and other scrap materials with creative patterns to make their clothes less monotonous and drab.
The 1950s: The Poodle Skirt
As the war drew to a close, the end of rationing began, and a rise in the generation of rock n’ roll dancers ensued. Seeing as how women loved to dance, they looked for clothing pieces that made it easier for them to do so without so much restriction and with this, the poodle skirt was conceptualized and invented. These knee-length skirts were often worn with cardigans, bulky belts, oxfords and frilly socks and were given the moniker “poodle” as many of them had the image of a dog at the hem.