Fashion Through The Decades

Did you know how much I love fashion history? It’s so cool seeing how clothes came to be what they are today. If there’s anything I can talk your ear off about, it’s this.

I want to start off with the romantic era, or as I’d like to call it, Jane Austen times. If you’ve ever seen one of those movies, you know what I'm talking about! Weeks were spent preparing outfits for the ball. White was the colour of the time, but pastels were good. When dancing, you wore satin slippers. These were so delicate they were already worn out by the end of the night. The rich wore the same, just even fancier. Each outfit probably cost as much as your life.

I’m going to jump to the 1890s, when a American artist named Gibson published his idea of the perfect woman in a magazine. This character was based on his wife and known as the Gibson Girl. Every woman tried to portray this character, who was confident, wore makeup, had shirt and skirt outfits and thick wavy hair. I think this definitely says something about society‘s standards at the time.

The 20s are practically defined by the flapper and/or party girl, who was very modern. The twenties were the first time women’s knees and shoulders were exposed in public (shocking) because flappers wore short, sleeveless fringed dresses. Josephine Baker is the iconic flapper girl. She had a pet leopard and once gave a performance wearing a costume of rubber bananas (and basically nothing else.) She had to show it to the police ahead of time for approval.

Hollywood kept people going in the 30s. I suppose this is where celebrity crushes first started. A lot of thought went into the costumes the movie stars wore. Since film was in black and white, they used fabric that reflected the light and added flair. Good characters wore white, evil (or idiotic) wore black. Said by designer Elsa Schiaparelli, “what Hollywood designs today you will be wearing tomorrow.”

With the war in the 40s, women had to start taking over men's jobs. Everyone quickly discovered that their regular dresses and skirts was dangerous around all that machinery. The overalls were introduced into the woman's wardrobe, the turning point for when women started wearing pants. There was also a lot of rationing going on at the time, limiting the amount of supplies one could use. People got crafty - instead of a metal brooch, for example, people wore ones of plastic.

In the 50s, things were better than ever. Dior created his New Look, where extravagant ball gowns starred. The women who first wore his gowns were actually attacked, though! You don't hear much about death by fashion. People had this war mindset from the rationing of fabric, so the 25m of fabric each gown used seemed wasteful. On the other hand, a girl could also casualize with pants such as capris.

In the 60s, things turned more colorful and modern. I'd say this decade is where things started to get more casual. The colours were warmed-toned or in white and silver. People took inspiration from the model Twiggy, who wore plain clothes, short hair and three pairs of false eyelashes. The hippie movement also began, which we stereotypical think of as peace, love, tye-dye and bell-bottoms.

In contrast to the hippies, the punk movement started in the 70s. I am totally not a punk (despite the leather jackets and electric guitar) but I do like the style! Punks were mainly teenagers, it sounds like, who were angry about little opportunity for them. They wore Dr. Martens, studded jewelry and skinny jeans. The 70s hung onto the flared pants trend from the past decade, so skinnies could never be found in stores! Punks had to DIY their own skinny jeans from bell-bottoms.

Grunge started in 1989, and carried through the 90s. This look can't be considered vintage/retro, as people still wear it today! Grunge is essentially casual clothes that could be flexibly layered, creating multiple outfits for a cheap price. People got creative here, clashing patterns, tights under shorts, wearing tattoo necklaces and tying flannels around the waist.

The early 2000s were trending in 2020, for quite a while actually. This decade definitely has to be included. In the 2000s, the "tween" was invented, who was known for a funky style and playful hair accessories. Other early 2000s trends are long camis, low-rise jeans, sequined tote bags (I don't know why) and large sunglasses.

I'm ending off here. Honestly, I don't really know what to say about the 2010s. All the sweats? Seriously? Hope this post wasn't too boring and let me know if you'd like to learn some more fashion history soon!


  1. The Silver Fashionista's #1 FanMarch 5, 2021 at 9:33 AM

    I would love to live in the 60's! My Grandma told me it was a really fun time with all the clothing and big hair haha

    1. To achieve the 60s style, try a solid-coloured mini dress with tights, plastic jewelry, and bright colours. Hope this helps!

  2. I'm a history lover so of course I loved this post. If it's not too difficult, maybe next time
    you could include some photos or sketches?? Keep up the great work

    1. I was planning on styling an outfit for each look, but I was running super late with this post! Maybe you’ll see them in another post *hint hint*

  3. This was an awesome post! I loved learning about fashion through history, it was si interesting!
    Check out my blog here:


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