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Evolution and History of Fashion

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Jenny Bellefontaine

on 22 January 2015

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Transcript of Evolution and History of Fashion

Evolution and History of Women's Fashion
Clothing in the first two decades of the 1800's resembled classic Grecian drapery and was made for simplicity. The dresses had minimal bodice and ended just below the bust allowing a high waist line defining the silhouette. Necklines were mostly low and the sleeves could be long or short with a little puff at the shoulders.The dresses usually opened in the front with pins or drawstrings and the fabric of the dress was lightweight with little embroidery and were mainly white or ivory. In Eighteen ten soft colors returned after a ten year absence. Eighteen twenty simplicity was replaced with decorative excess. The neckline was widened to emphasize shoulders, designs, colors and prints were added, the waist line dropped closer to the natural spot and was often accentuated by a wide belt. In eighteen thirty sleeves became huge and the puff dropped down to the elbow. The skirt of the dress became fuller and needed several petticoats underneath to support it. This produced the 19th centuries first version of the hour glass silhouette.
In the eighteen fifty's the hoop or crinoline cage had arrived allowing the skirts to grow to their maximum size, women were happy about this because it relieved the weight of the many petticoats that were worn. Sleeves had lost their fullness and became slim or tight at the shoulders then loose. Necklines were worn high during the day and low at night while the bodice of the dress had dropped to just above the hips. Dark colors and bold prints were in. Cloaks and shawls were worn as outerwear because they were the only coats that could fit over/around the hoops. The bustle came out in the sixty's allowing the back of the dress to flow out and be seen but then disappeared until its return in the eighty's with a reconstructed look being lowered and skinnier.
As the Victorian era drew to a close the 1900's dress evolved from big to slim and flowy. During the day dresses were worn with a high neck line and became decorated with buttons, lace insertions and ruffles. Evening dresses became more daring with off the shoulder sleeves if any and a slim fitting bodice. Bustles, cages and hoops were deminishing while the nineteen hundreds were about being 'simple and practical'. women still wore dresses but also wore 'walking suits'. A popular image was the Gibson girl.
The sixty's was a very big decade for fashion and was unlike any other era it had its classy style but also its bright colors and bold prints. In the early sixty's women followed the trend setting Jackie Kennedy with her classy yet fashionable style. this consisted of pearls, oversized sunglasses, pill box hats, suits in pastels and shift dresses. Twiggy was known for her pixie look with cigarette pants, shift dresses ballet flats and and short chopped haircuts. Audrey Hepburn was also a fashion icon due to her screening in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Bold prints, mini skirts and gogo boots were very popular aswell. There was also the hippie fashion in the sixty's. This fashion group wore bell-bottomed jeans, tie dyed shirts, flowy dresses gypsy skirts fringed vests and headbands/flowers and had peace symbol necklace/ bracelets.
While they did have dresses in the nineteen fifty's with corsets and crinoline hoops they also had slim fitting sheath dresses usually worn with cropped bolero jackets (blazer). In the late fifty's girls wore poodle skirts and bobby socks with saddle shoes and ponytails; while the women would wear sweater sets or blouses and skirts during the day wearing dresses at night. Polka dots were also a big print in the fifty's.
The utility scene came into play in 1939 when there were huge restrictions on fabric because of WWII. All of the resources were being used up on the war and you couldn't import anything because the country was at war so nothing was really coming in or out of the country. It wasn't safe to import either because their could have been explosives put in the shipments. The ration for women and men to purchase there clothes was sixty six coupons a year. Eleven coupons would get you one wool utility dress and twelve coupons could get you six pairs of stockings (last all year). There had never been so little fabric used in fashion. Knee length skirts and short sleeves that were fitting and accentuated the figure were in. With the fabric being used up by the war there was a shortage of nylon stockings. This led cosmetic manufacturers to invent "paint on stockings". It was extra work for women to do before they went out for the night. A friend was also needed most times to apply the seems with eyeliner.
In nineteen fourteen came the hoop skirt raised eight inches from the ankle with a circular silhouette and a chemise frock dress designed by Callot Soeurs. The waist was free fitting far from a corset. Young Coco Chanel fell in love with the look and adapted the dress adding drop waist belts creating the early flapper dress. Jeanne Lanvin made it even simpler by adding a round neck line and elbow sleeves and had a tasseled girdle around the waist. Women's frocks became sleeveless had necklines as low as evening gowns and were worn during the day and sometimes at night. Evening gowns now daringly exposed women's backs. Costume jewelry was also a major accessory thanks to Chanel who specialized in faux gems. Head dresses also became very popular.
The early seventy's was much like the late sixty's with bell bottom pants, long flowy skirts and bright colors. In the mid seventy's the fashion world became dominated with suits. There were leisure suits, jump suits, track suits and of course pant suits. Hairstyles were now natural and long and jewelery wasn't a main asset anymore. Roller blades were also popular in this decade.
Fashion in the eighty's was colorful bold and full of neon. spandex or jean miniskirts paired with leggings or leg warmers were a big trend. The aerobic exercise craze hit the nineteen eighty's full force with leotards legwarmers and headbands in every color imaginable including neon. Jennifer Beals started the trend of wearing slouchy tops off the shoulder with leggings or acid wash jeans. The early nineteen ninety's was full of denim shirts, pants, skirts, jackets and vests. Mid nineteen ninety's was considered the grunge era. Boot cut jeans with flannel shirts and dock martens was the style. Crop tops were very popular.
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