Some Recent History of Women’s Fashion

Every year, designers produce an array of trends and styles that seem to catapult everyone into a flurry of shopping. Of course, all know that the purpose is to encourage the purchase of the latest and to get rid of anything that was so-last-season.  Women’s styles, unlike the male counterpart, are on a continuous roller coaster of change. In the past, fashion was actually dictated by what was going on in the world.


Skirt length has long been subject to whether or not the country was involved in a war. The longer the skirt length, the more apt the country was in economic upheaval. Shorter skirt lengths were introduced in the 1920’s in between the various global conflicts and they have risen and lowered ever since.  The exception to this rule was the introduction of the mini-skirt in the 1960’s when the Vietnam War was still on.  This radical change was in conjunction with the women’s movement and was more akin to a demonstration (or demand) of freedom of choice.


Fabrics are another area that have been controlled by the economic times. During the World Wars, there was a reduction in the use of the luxury fabrics such as silk, wool, and nylon, as they needed these for the war effort. Instead, women’s fashions added fabrics such as rayon and viscose as substitutes. 


Furs and feathers might have been all the ‘rage’ as a complementary add-on to women’s clothing. But these adornments also brought the downfall and near extinction of the poor animals and birds that they were robbed from. When organizations such as Greenpeace first exposed the horrid practices of beating baby seals for the fur, the world started to add a more enlightened attitude and there was an addition of more realistic man-made furs.


Hollywood has had a major influence over the various American fashions. Movies became the manner that designers and stylists could expose their creations and many of the stars that donned their ‘wares’ became associated with the trend of the time. While this has continued, it has evolved into a situation at the turn of the Twenty first century to take it one step further. The styles that are now worn by celebrities, in any and all situations, are now those that are captured by the paparazzi and can become an overnight success.