Women’s fashion has undergone significant evolution since the beginning of time. As far back as the 1800s, when ankle-skimming dresses, silky elbow-length gloves, hats, bonnets and soft silk slippers were the norm, women have always been conscious of their outfits and how it affects their appearance.
There was a time when women had to wear big metal contraptions beneath their dresses to achieve the full effect that was so common back then, a feat which Marie Antoinette took to the extreme. Although women’s fashion has undergone a lot of changes over the years, there are a few trends that significantly shaped the modern woman’s fashion sense.
These trends are:
Around the 1920s, women began to shed the meek, conservative look that society deemed appropriate and embraced shorter hemlines, shorter sleeves and lower necklines. The flapper dresses, which were sleeveless dresses with short skirts, first became widely popular around this time.
Gradually, the dresses reduced in length until the little black dress was developed by Coco Chanel, who wanted to create a dress that would be an essential fashion piece for all women. Today, the LBD comes in a wide range of designs that can be worn to all occasions, both formal and informal.
The 19th century also brought about the wrap dress, which was a real fashion game-changer. The popularity of the wrap dress arose as it flattered women of all shapes and sizes by highlighting their best features.
As hemlines became generally shorter in the 1990s, skirts that came above the knee, called mini skirts, became popular. Women began to wear them publicly in the 1960s as a way of protesting against the rigid tenets of society and a way advocating for women’s rights and freedom.
Women wanted to show that they were in control of their bodies and no longer wanted to conform to the stifling image that had been enforced on them for so long. Due to how short the skirts were getting, women began to wear hosiery, which was usually made of silk. However, nylon stockings were produced in the mid-1900s and it is still one of the most widely used materials for stockings today.
Although bust supporters had been in use since as early as the 1800s, it wasn’t until the 1950s that various patents of bras were developed. The famous media personalities of that era, like Marilyn Monroe, played a huge role in women’s acceptance of the bra. Although, in 1960, a lot of women burned their bras publicly in protest.
The establishment of luxury underwear fashion lines that brought about sexy underwear like French lingerie played a significant role in transforming women’s underwear from articles of necessity to sexy pieces that are appreciated by women and men.
Women wearing men’s clothing was severely frowned upon until the 19th century when women began to wear trousers but only when they were indoors. However, in the 1920s, more and more women started to wear pants as they went about their daily activities.
Although denim jeans had been worn by working men for a long time, the 1980s brought about fashionable styles and designs that made them widely accepted by women. Presently, jeans have become a fashion staple that almost every woman has.
As showing skin of any kind was still widely frowned upon in the 18th century, it took a long time before the bikini became widely accepted. Although women had already made great strides in showing off their skin to celebrate women’s rights, no one was ready to risk wearing such revealing clothing as most of them were still conservative.
When a patent of the bikini was first developed in 1946 by Louis Reard, no respectable model was willing to model it until he found Micheline Bernardini, a nude dancer who modelled the bikini for the first time. By 1950, the bikini became sought after among women in most countries. These fashion pieces are now available in a variety of styles and colours that caters for every woman’s sense of style.
Apart from these trends, a few other fashion items have also played roles in the evolution of women’s fashion. Things like the pantsuits and high heels have contributed to the modern woman’s fashion sense. Although, the change that the women’s fashion industry has undergone is mostly good, there are excellent styles that can be salvaged from past fashion trends, as evidenced by the rise of women interested in vintage dresses and accessories.