Women's Fashion Throughout 20th Century America

 


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If we were to take an unscripted took throughout history – looking at pictures that were not identified by year or event – we could still more than likely place the period of time by the fashion worn in the pictures. Fashion is a visual timeline, distinguishing one generation from the next and, yet, having the uncanny ability of finding its way back around again from time to time.

Nothing influences American society more than fashion. It’s a trend seen over and over again as designs find their way from the designers to the masses. As a culture, we are pre-disposed to be “in style;” and those who set the benchmark of style have changed throughout the generations. But no time period saw greater changes in fashion than the twentieth century.

The fashion of the early 1900s was influenced by the advent of the automobile – as women’s dresses began to include the dustcoat which protected clothing from the dirt coming off the road. Then as quickly as the 1920s, women’s fashion shifted completely as the Jazz Age produced the “flapper” style – complete with short, simple fringed dresses and long pearls.

Not even a decade later, the Depression greatly changed the style of fashion – no longer was material a luxury item; women wore what they could find and afford. The 1930s began a trend towards following movie star fashion. And in the war-torn 1940s, a uniform-like sophistication including padded shoulders, short skirts, and a close tailored look became popular.

The 1950s were a return to the full skirt and cinched in waists. Hollywood greatly influenced the fashion of the 50s with women looking to the styles of stars such as Marilyn Monroe after which to pattern their clothing choices. The 60s brought a more colorful period of fashion and no one was more influential than First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy. Women everywhere began wearing the pill box hat that Mrs. Kennedy made popular and emulating her sophisticated style.

Nineteen-seventy fashion was all about loose and comfortable – bell bottom pants and tie dye. Disco was hot in the early seventies and didn’t fade until the end of the decade. But the disco fashionistas of the day influenced an entire generation of clothing choices.

When Madonna hit the scene in the 1980s she changed the music world as well as the world of fashion. Young girls emulated her look of leggings, skirt, off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, headband, and bracelets.

The 90s had their own look; completely different at the end of the decade - with sleek and sophisticated - as it was from the beginning of the decade - with acid wash jeans.

Fashion will always change. But the one thing we can always count on is the influence that fashion will have on an entire culture.

For easy to understand, in depth information about fashion visit our ezGuide 2 Fashion .

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