Farzana Alam Piya, Research Assistant
Fashion is never permanent. It changes with the time, it changes with the progress of culture, economic and social life. Relating to glamour and elegance, it is a sort of art that constitutes an important a part of the cultural lifetime, may replicating the recent cultural trends. In this article, the changes of fashion through 20th century is represented. Fifties were the epoch of changes and growing contradiction between the trends.
1900s were known as Edward era in England, because it was the region of Edward VII. It was also called “The beautiful age”. The S bend corset was fashionable then. Pushing chest forward and the hips backward, into a fashionable pouter-pigeon shape, 1900s clothes emphasized on puffed, frilly, layered blouses and fluted skirts, with lace collars and broad ribbon ties. Feathers and pearls were also used, in dresses. Hairstyle was worn with low crowns, under vast, broad-brim hats. On the other hand, working women used to were simple dresses, with sturdy buttoned boots or shoes. Paris was the center of all fashion then. Rich female used to go there, to buy their clothes.
1920s clothes were designed to give freedom to the women. After the World War I, the number of working women increased. So, clothes emphasized on giving comfortableness to women. Corset fell out of fashion then. High waisted, shorter hemline, barrel shaped outfits were popular. During 1920-22, waist line dropped to hip level. Prominent jewellery, with large broonch and long strings of pearl were on fashion. Women liked shorter haircuts. Close fitting Bell or flower shaped hat was highly popular then. Strappy shoes were worn, tied with bows and buckles.
1930s the cloths reflects a serious mood than in 1920s. The Wall Street Crash, a disaster in the banking world, meant many people had less money to spend on cloths and fun. Women’s dresses in this decades were long and lean. The “bias cut” was invented. This meant cutting material for cloths diagonally across the fabric, which made it cling to the body. Hair was set in waves, covered with a small hat worn at a jaunty angle. The draped fashion of the 1930s was inspired by Ancient Greek & Roman statues.
1940s, because of World War II, clothes were made with the minimum amount of fabric, with few pleats and no trimming. Many women wore uniforms, then. Others used to wear boxy jackets, with broad padded shoulders. Skirts were straight and a little bellow than the knee. Hairstyle was long, with stylish waves and rolls on the top of the head. After the war, in 1947, Christian Dior introduced his new look, that was the revolutionized of 1940s fashion. Skirts became longer and fuller. Boxy shoulders became softened to be sloping. Waist were cinched. Hats grew wider and saucer shaped.
1950s was marked for dramatic changes, in fashion world. As 2 international systems capitalist and communist got contradicted then. Glamour & positivity were returning. Cocktail dresses made of silk & velvet were highly on demand. Full skirt & tight tops created an outline with small waist & balanced proportion, called hourglass shape, then. Waist length cardigans were popular. Hats were either small pill box shaped or large brimmed, saucer shaped. Hairstyle was both cropped short and long, curled or tied.
1960s the fashion was defined by mini skirt and mini dresses, much shorter than hemline. Tight pants were invented then to deal with the short dresses. Hippie fashion was also popular then that was a sign of protest against war and violence. It was influenced by the Indian fabrics, included a mix of bright colors, including embroidery and patch work. Representing a break with the past and the old fashioned values, bold fabrics with shiny and metallic surface gave clothes a space age feel.
1980’s fashion was about power dressing, about showing confidence. More female than ever were going to work then. Their dressing style emphasized on heavily padded shoulders, strong colors, big hair & spiky pointed shoes. Jewellery was big and bold. Logos were shown on the clothes and bags. After the anti-fashion hippie look of last decade, designer label made a comeback. Female, who had no office, were influenced by the singer like Madonna. The punk look was another reaction. Punks wore ripped tartan, Doc Martin boots and Mohawk hairstyle, with one stripe of hair running down their heads.
20th Century, fashion in 20th century went from strict corseted dresses to the “anything goes” attitude of today. In 1900, most men wore suits and everyone wore a hat when they went to public. The jazz age flapper of the 1920s got rid of all those restrictions in order to have fun. Two world wars led to ups and down in how fun and frivolous cloths could be. There was a golden age of beautiful evening gowns (formal dresses) for women in 1940s and 1950s. In the 60s, swinging London trendsetters brought in the super short miniskirt and futuristic fashion. The 70s was a time of hippie cloths and the era of disco. The 1980s was a time of “conspicuous consumption”, which meant showing off your money and status. The five fashion capitals are London, New York, Tokyo, Paris and Milan
What goes way, comes around — this line is so true in the era of fashion. When a customer purchases and wears a style, the style is considered accepted. The acceptance leads the style to become fashion. Thus, the styles of 1900s, with a little modification, have come back and started all over, in 21st century.