Fashion trends come and go and each and every one of us must have followed a number of trending styles in our lifetime. Even if you didn’t live through the fashion of a particular era, you will have discovered vintage styles through black and white classic films from the era, television shows, old fashion brochures and magazines, and through numerous books written about the history of fashion and style of the 20th century.
I choose to talk about the fashion trends of the 20th century because I love the styles of the 1900s. From the early part of the century to the latter part of it (with much emphasis on the earlier decades – 1900s to 1960s), some of the most striking vintage apparel styles fall within that era.
When we desire to recreate an era for a party or simply for a unique style of dressing, we probably want a roaring twenties theme, a swinging sixties fancy dress party look, the soft feminine creations of the fifties, or the Mod look with its own style of sharpness and individuality.
So, What’s Your Preferred Fashion Era?
From the classic and austere designs to the hippie styles and preppy looks, there is a style that must strike your fancy and be your absolute favourite.
If you are a wannabe vintage fashionista or you just want to know more about vintage fashion eras, you’ll want to view images to know your preferred choice(s). This post will show you some of the hottest ensembles of the glorious past of fashion and style.
The 1900s to 1920s Fashion Trends
Over a 100 years ago at the turn of the 20th century, the shortest dress you’ll find had a train and would sweep the floor, but by the end of the decade, skirts started to rise up to give a peep of the ankle. But when did it all start to change?
The S-bend corset which thrust the hips backwards and forced the chest forward into a ‘pigeon shape’ was a must-have item during the early 1900s. Women clothing was mostly puffed, frilly blouses often embellished with lace collars and broad ribbon ties, with skirts fitted over the hip and fluted out towards the hem.
By the 1910s, clothing became looser and less cumbersome and full-length fancy dresses were replaced with more practical and comfortable ones.
In the 1920s, women’s fashion became even more comfortable with elaborately beaded shorter dresses, glitzy headbands, and even shirts and trousers. By this time, corsets and bustiers became a thing of the not too distant past and were lost their place in a woman’s closet. The most memorable vintage fashion trend of the 1920s was undoubtedly the flapper style dress, a chic but functional attire that flattened the bust line rather than accentuates it.
Hemlines rose even higher to allow for the wild swinging dances so many flapper ladies engaged in.
The 1930s to 1950s Style
The flapper style dress of the 1920s that was characterised by the loose drop-waist embellished designs soon gave way to silhouettes of graceful femininity in the early 1930s. Couturiers designed simple outfits with the bias-cut and low scooping backs which caused fabrics to skim over a woman’s curves. Satin was popular for its slinky fluid look.
Daywear consisted of wool suits and stoles – jackets with collars and shoulder pads, and knee-length skirts with fluting. Wearing small pert hats at an angle, with a feather or floral detail was popular. Cardigans and sweaters were introduced and worn with day skirts or trousers.
As austere times also affected the fashion scene as a result of the war in 1939, fabric shortages called for clothes designs be made with minimum fabric and no trimmings. Dresses and skirts were straight and fell just below the knee and worn with boxy jackets with padded shoulders. This lasted until the end of the war in 1945.
First, there were pretty tall hats with flowery patterns and then wide and saucer-shaped ones soon became the trend. Suit jackets with softer sloping shoulders replaced the past’s boxy shoulders and cinched-waist skirts became longer and fuller.
The early 50s fashion continued from that of the late 40s style - very full skirts with cinched waists and jackets/tops with sloping shoulders. Soon, the fifties woman’s silhouette will include the narrow look with the pencil skirt. Pencil cut styles swing dresses, and full circle skirts were made with plain or floral print fabrics. Separates worn with waist-length cardigans were also popular.
Hats designs also changed with the famous pill-box hat styles being the trend. The large brimmed saucer-like hats of the late 40s, though modified, still remained in fashion.
The 1960s to 1980s Clothing Styles
Young fashion designers of the 1960s like Mary Quant and Biba designed and provided clothes mostly for the young people, one of which styles blazed a trail in the world of fashion - the mini-skirt. Towards the end of the decade, the hippie movement from America emerged, experimenting with strong colours, bold patterns and unique textures borrowed from other cultures.
And for those women who were more conservative or older, dressing still leaned towards below-the-knee skirts, tailored jackets, and cardigans.
By the 70s, fashion had changed considerably and we saw more of tie-dye and Mexican tops, folk-embroidered blouses, capes and ponchos, bell-bottoms, midi and maxi dresses and skirts, frayed jeans and gauchos.
Fashionable styles that took over the 70s fashion scene also include suits - leisure suits, pantsuits, and jumpsuits. Though some women wore pants in the 60s, not all of them like wearing them but by the time the 70s rolled in, women were wearing pants in every walk of life. Even women executives were wearing business suits with pants while their counterparts at home wore jeans.
The fashion of the 80s was all about colour, size, and unisex. Waistlines became high it was a time filled with shiny and printed leggings, high waist lines, high-cut spandex, slouchy sweaters, loud prints, and lots of neon. Many of the biggest fashion trends were parachute pants, punk styles, leather jackets, snakeskin pants, and plenty of large baubles.
Vintage Handbags of 1900 to 1950s
Images created by Viryabo@Polyvore
So, what's your favourite vintage fashion era? Fill your answers in the comments box below. Thanks