Fashion Statement Changes over the Years

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It’s incredible how much fashion has changed meaning in the past century alone. Of course, the phrase “fashion” refers to the type of style and clothing that is worn by an individual or by society; however, the implications of fashion and being fashionable have vastly evolved over time, particularly between decades. The “flapper” look for women that included the well-renowned cloche hat and the sporty attire of men accompanied by top hats or fedoras that was considered fashionable in the 1920’s would not be seen on the front covers of Vogue or Cosmopolitan today. Even as we simply glance over the signature fashion trends of each individual decade throughout the twentieth century, it is evident that fashion has taken dramatic twists and turns to establish the fashion trends that society has today in 2020. And it doesn’t end there. We can only expect to see more changes the presentation of fashion when we have our own children and grandchildren, observing the manner in which they dress and accessorize, etc.

Dressing like different decades aesthetics as we look at 100 years of fashion trends (1920-2020) ‘Fashion Through The Decades’ is something I’ve tried before, on a lesser scale, but with 2020 upon us I thought it’d be the perfect time to take a look back at trends gone by.

A very Brief History


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The flapper dress rose to popularity during the 1920s. The drop waist shift style accompanied by the decorative beads, fringe, and other embellishments added playful elements to the dress that reflected the exuberance of the decade. Tremendous social change post-WWI caused women to feel empowered due to gaining the right to vote in 1920. The heavy prevalence of Jazz music and prohibition also inspired recklessness amongst the youth. This societal shift made for perfect timing for the flapper dress to make an unconventionally stylish statement, along with the short bob hairstyle that was often worn in conjunction with the dress.

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Women’s 1920s clothing centered around revolutionary freedom in both fashion and morals. Ladies’ 1920s clothing left behind the prim and proper mold of Victorian ideals and launched into more free-spirited and casual clothes. . Thanks to a surge in media depicting life in the 1920s such as Peaky Blinders, Downton Abbey, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Cable girls, Z, and The Great Gatsby, the prohibition era has become the “new” vintage revival era.


The 30s was and is still seen by many as the ‘Decade of design’ and saw many technological advances and changes in attitude towards design as a profession. This clearly had an influence on fashion during this time – as clothes for all classes became became an outward expression.

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1940s women’s fashion was about creating an hourglass silhouette with masculine details: padded shoulders nipped in high waist tops, and A-line skirts that came down to the knee. This was the everyday shape for clothing, from suits to dresses. Even pants had a similar high waisted, wide leg shape, more details here. 

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Women of the 1950s were expected to look and dress a certain way and many, for the most part, conformed to this newly established standard of beauty, unlike the fashion-forward, independent flappers of the Roaring 20s. As their husbands returned from war, the American women of the 1950s were expected to focus on their role as homemakers.

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The babydoll dress was seen everywhere during the ’60s. Women wanted to visually express their newfound liberation during the Second Wave of Feminism, and therefore were seeking styles of clothing that weren’t quite as restricting. The high empire waistline combined with the ultra-short hem length that the babydoll dress offered was the ultimate articulation of the modern feminist statement women were looking to make. Celebrities including Twiggy frequently wore this dress style.

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dresses princess



Check out ‘Fashion Through The Decades’- Part 2