Women’s clothing has evolved through the years. Nowadays, if you take just one single glimpse away from the magazines and fashion shows, you will find that things have already changed. How trends are determined is still unclear, but if you travel back in time to study how women used to dress, you will realise that some designers derive inspiration from fashion in the past. In order to gain a better understanding about how women dress, and how modern designers come up with their ideas, you might want to learn about the history of women’s clothing.
Right from the moment that God banished Adam and Eve, He gave them garments to cover themselves with. These garments eventually evolved into what we now properly refer to as tunics, and throughout the biblical years, men and women basically dressed the same way; in garments that extended down to their knees.
It was not until the fifteenth century, that it took a different turn. During those years, women were seen wearing long gowns with sleeves, and these were worn over a chemise that covered their skin. It was also during this period that the corset was introduced. Women back then had to have very slim waists and so they wore corsets under their gowns to hold their figures.
During the 1700s, still donning gowns, women from this era wore petticoats that were worn to open the skirts like a flower in bloom.
If you could travel back in time, you will find yourself browsing through the early years and then slowing down towards the 1900s, where women’s fashion will suddenly become more familiar. Many of the styles of the clothes in these years, are still seen in the clothes today. In this era, women encountered lingerie dresses, which are basically day dresses made of cotton or linen. These are heavily laced and preferred by women during warm weather. Tailored clothing also made an entrance during these times, and they basically looked like men’s shirts with high collars and were used during work, as a uniform. The term ‘haute couture’ also made its debut in these years, as well as form-fitting high gowns with high waists, long tunic-like jackets, straight-line corsets, and ankle-length skirts. Gone are the petticoats and tight-fitting corsets, women of these years appreciated straight silhouettes with very minimal bust, waist, and hips.
Fashion was incredibly modernised by the year 1920s. After WWI fashion, especially in the US and Europe, became less conservative and slightly more boyish. The skirts had pleats, were shorter, and as the corset was slowly disappearing from the scene, women preferred the more flattening style.
The year 1950 was the year of the poodle skirts. As this was the decade of swing, these skirts became really popular. Another skirt type that became rather popular, were the pencil-type skirts. These skirts were narrow and quite sexy, and women of those years just loved them.
In the 1960s women’s clothing became even more diverse and it was during these years when fashion trends gained momentum. In the early 1960s, pastels, geometric shapes, and big buttons became really popular.
The 1980s fashion was the most diverse. Women of these times could dress as a Valley girl, which is basically the preppy look of flared skirts and leg warmers, or they may have supported the ‘New Wave’ fashion, that consisted of leggings and jackets, that also appeared to look like pirate clothing.
In recent years, fashion can no longer be considered ‘new’, but rather, inspirations of past fashion trends. We have seen the 20s, the 50s, as well the 80s, being resurrected in the fashion world and while they all look quite different, you will see that they are mostly just a finer or more modernised version of the old trend. They are new. They are fresh and up to date, but are really more or less the same.