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Type III: the 18th Century's Influence on Modern Fashion

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Charlie Sutcliff

on 23 May 2013

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Transcript of Type III: the 18th Century's Influence on Modern Fashion

The 18th Century's Influence on Modern Fashion Background In the 18th century, the style was all about elegance and luxury. Not many everyday clothes were saved, but mended into other clothes, so all that historians were left with was the fancy clothes worn to formal occasions like dances and balls. The eighteenth century was that little glimmer of fanciness and aristocracy still left in many clothes today, but imagine an elaborate and decorated lacy dress today. Now make it about 100 times prettier, frillier, and motion limiting. The rich and upper class people dressed completely all out, until through the centuries, that charm gradually faded and now is only found in traces. People, styles, and events like Marie Antoinette, Rococco, and the American revolution influenced and sculpted how people dressed in that period, and people's impression of the time and its clothes now, three hundred years later. Presently Now, in the present, many people look at pictures of the clothes people wore in that decade and think that the attire that humans used to wear looked silly and too frilly. While some think that humans would have done better without that decade, they don't realize that unless people had fashions like fancy dresses, they would not come out to be what they are now. Dress now is much simpler, but Now, there are many articles of clothing inspired by the 1700's........................... Let's get started! The Turn of the Century .....is when the clothing, in my opinion, changed the most to get ready for the nineteenth century. Essential Question How did 18th century womens' dress affect modern fashion? Answer Well, this can't be answered easily, or in one word, but what we do know is........ Let's Start Underneath! The underwear in that century is considered a bit over the top by some. The fact is, even though underwear isn't usually seen, people still like it to look good, and the same goes for people in the 18th century. Underwear has a purpose today, and had a purpose back then that is arguably more important. Many styles of dress had to do with fancy silhouettes, and underwear reenforced them, doing a job that most clothes alone could not. Crinolines and corsets made unnatural and breathtaking shapes, usually sucking in the stomach, pushing up and enhancing the bosom, and widening at the bottom to give an impression of flared, childbearing hips.
Stays- A shaping undergarment worn on the upper body that was tied with leather and designed for improvement of posture, slimming the waist, and accentuating the bosom. This garment was later renamed the corset.
Crinoline- An adaptation of the hoop skirt, a structured undergarment.
Mobcap- First popular in the 1730's, a mobcap was a casual headwear usually worn at home with a puffed cap and often a frill
Gown- The word for a dress
Dress- Dress is the word for formal clothes. If you were having friends over or going to a party, it would be called dress.
Undress- Undress is casual clothing. You would be in a state of undress at home or on a regular day.
Petticoat- A skirt- like piece worn with a jacket or under a gown. This is a good example of a corset from the third quarter of the 18th century. Corsets were known as stays until the late 19th century. Clothes would usually have a metal or bone base, a heavy cloth overlay with slits in the back to tie up with laces, for skirts, as well as panty-hose beneath. Tops had underwire and laces, also called stays, tied back under the shoulder blades very tightly. Now, people primarily use underwire, cloth, and elastic in their underclothes. Like then, they are still used to look thinner, and sometimes to enhance the bosom. Underclothes are also used for comfort, protection, and coverage. Today, many underwear pieces are modeled after pieces from the 1700's, and style is still somewhat modeled after shape. Many people still wear corset-like tube tops, and garments inspired by structural underclothes like in the Goth culture and for Halloween costumes. People use crinoline inspired cages for plays, movies, and for some people everyday to give volume to skirts and dresses and play surreal characters in the entertainment industry. It is fashionable now to have large hips, large behinds, and skinny middles, much like the structure of dress using crinolines and corsets to squeeze in the middle and puff out the hips and behind. Glossary The 1790's A lot of change happened at the end of the 18th century. Because of the French Revolution, the Empire Style was inspired by Napoleon. Empire waists went up as necklines plunged down. Dresses became more often single pieces instead of separate bodices and sleeves, and consequently it must have been faster to get dressed. Cleanliness and soap were important because natural beauty was trending, and unlike other decades, hygiene was practiced thoroughly. Curls that framed the face like a Roman statue were very popular. Why this matters:
The sudden uptake in hygiene practices and natural beauty is probably one of the reasons we bathe so much today.
The natural and 'no make-up' looks are very popular with women in the 21st century.
Because of the Roman Statue Curls trend, many people discarded their wigs, giving way to hair.
The empire waist dress seems to never go out of style.
Many dresses today are one piece.
It is common for a dress today to have a plunging neckline. The Empire Waist
The popular empire waist style was first worn in the 1790's. The style defines a woman's slimmest areas between her bust and her waist, creating a “false waist” to accentuate curves and hide the stomach with an a-line pleat. “The empire waist hides a multitude of flaws,” says Avril Graham, New York fashion editor. “It’ll fit and flatter any woman.” The Big Deal About Skin Back in the 1700's, showing even your ankles was considered scandalous, but some bodices went so low that ladies had to put scarves on their necks to be modest. Now, girls wearing short shorts, crop tops, and bandeaus are normal. Now:
Showing neck and bosom skin is fashionable with some restrictions for appropriateness.

Too much leg skin is still deemed a little inappropriate, just like too much bosom skin.

Many popular clothes today can be tight and uncomfortable, such as skin-tight jeans and dresses. Clothes To Restrain Women Uncomfortable shoes, crinolines and corsets were designed to to make it difficult for those who wore them to be active or involved in society, politics, business, or physical activity or exercise.This was thought to be too dangerous- women were believed to be weak and vulnerable by both genders alike. Upper class ‘breeded’ women were expected to look frail and fragile, like a puff of wind could blow them over, but in that time’s reality, women’s outfits were like carrying weights around all day. After the revolution, this was less commonly thought, since the women kept everything running at home without men present. Also, during the revolution, corsets and crinolines that were made of metal were melted down and remolded into weapons, machinery or whatever was needed to be used during combat. Though now most people encourage equal rights to both genders, women still often are expected to wear certain things that may not be comfortable, such as certain dresses, skirts, and pantyhose, or showing off certain part of their bodies. Many places are not in an easy place to show and still be active in what one is wearing. These expectations influence the amount of activity one woman can do, which is very hard for active and involved twenty-first century women, who still have to present themselves how they are expected. Now:
Politics and corporations are traditionally run by men through the 20th century, and have just recently given political power to women. For example, for the first time ever, IBM chose a woman CEO, Virginia “Ginni” Rometty. Hewlett-Packard, another technology company, named Meg Whitman as their CEO in September 2011. And Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer has been driving positive headlines for the company. These are just three examples of global, male-dominated technology companies now run by women. As of January 2013, 21 of the Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs.

It is fashionable to show off the legs, bosom skin, and stomach in certain situations which can make women uncomfortable and handicapped. Coming back to my answer....... 18th century women’s dress affected 21st century women’s fashion through structure, styles, and shape. It left us in the 21st century with empire waists, plunging necklines, corset-like tops, underwire, and a curvy standard of beauty. It started regular bathing, a definition of what is and isn’t appropriate, and the recognition of how poor women’s rights were. Though New England and the U.S. has changed so much since then, we are reminded of the era on the runway, in the world of fashion, and in our everyday lives.
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