History of 20th Century in Women’s Fashion

Topics: Trousers, World War II, Clothing Pages: 8 (1536 words) Published: September 6, 2014

History of 20th Century in Women’s Fashion

In every period, women’s fashion is a reflection of their political, culture and economical views. It makes people to realize how important fashion is. Women's clothes help people to know the history in great detail. Fashion has been the key to women for presented them to the world, and how society wants to present women to the world. Political, cultural and economical values build and change the views of our society in many aspects. Throughout history clothing styles are constantly in flux. In every era women's fashion always follows the trends to promote a kind of dressing to advertise a particular culture and its unity. During the last century, women’s dress in the Western world has experienced continual upheavals and major changes. In a recent “Wikipedia” article, "Women Wearing Trousers in the Western World After 1900." notes that: During World War I, women wore their husbands' (suitably altered) trousers while they took on jobs previously assigned to men, and increasingly wore trousers as leisurewear in the 1920s and 30s. And for a period in the 1970s, trousers became quite fashionable for women. In the United States, this may be due to the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which ruled that dresses could not be required of girls. Dress codes changed in public schools across the United States. (Wikipedia) In other words, fashion changed in the early twentieth century because of the War. As the war unfolded, men went off to fights, and women started taking on responsibilities that men would normally handle. This influences fashion causing it to change. Men’s trousers are functional and comfortable, so it is became the women’s fashion. For women who wear trousers, Coco Chanel, a great influential designer has played a huge role in promoting, reporter Eleanor Dunne writes in “seven wonders: How Coco Chanel changed the course of women's fashion”: Although during the war women often had to wear trousers when working in traditionally male jobs, Chanel played a huge part in accelerating their popularity as a fashion item. While at the society beach resort of Deauville she chose to wear sailor’s pants instead of a swimming costume to avoid exposing herself, and the style spread quickly as her legions of followers emulated her. (Dunne) Coco Chanel influenced “pants” on women’s fashion trends; she decided that women can enjoy the same freedom as men. That is what we call feminism. She released women from the tight corsets of the era. Because women dressed for new roles, gender dictated dress codes are more relaxed. “Random History” points out, Skirts are cut shorter, “While popular fashions remained relatively conservative prior to 1925, short skirts, low waistlines, and revolutionary styles of the flapper era characterized the latter half of the decade” (Random History). Turn to the fashion and the new look during the 1940s – 1960s, the prevailing social values of the time reflect in a great deal in women’s clothing. According to “Random History”: As Europe, and later America, entered the landscape of World War II, fashion responded to the restrained mood and economy of the war. Drabness and uniformity in clothing were embraced, and people were encouraged to make do with and mend the clothing they already had. (Random History) This is a period of stagnation in style. World War II led to an economic decline, lack of material and design restrictions. But this actually is a motivation that leads to the post war fashion revolution. The “V&A” has reports that, “In 1947 Christian Dior launched his New Look collection which, in direct contrast to wartime clothing, reveled in the unashamed luxury and corset styles of the late 19th century” (Roth). After years of military and civilian uniforms, design restrictions and material shortages, Dior indicated not just a new look but a new outlook. Fashion in the 1950s was greatly different from beginning...

Cited: Dunne, Eleanor. "Seven Wonders: How Coco Chanel Changed the Course of Women 's Fashion." Wonderland. Visual Talent Ltd, 9 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
Roth, Martin. "Introduction to 20th-Century Fashion." V&A. Martin Roth, n.d. Web. 9 Apr. 2014.
"The History of 20th Century Women’s Clothing." Random History. RandomHistory, 2 May 2007. Web. 9 Apr. 2014.
"Women Wearing Trousers in the Western World After 1900." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
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