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Fashion History: 20th Century to the Present

(1900-1950)

In the 1920's sportswear for women was introduced in fashion.

 

Fashion History: 

20th c. Through Present (1900-1950)


 

     The early 1900's were known to much of the English speaking western world as the Edwardian Era, which was named for the reign of King Edward of Britain from 1901 until 1910. During this time period, the industrial revolution was coming to a close, railways extended across America, and inventions such as the telephone and the light bulb changed the world. Fashion too was changing. 


 

     In 1909 Vogue magazine featured a women on its cover wearing a soft, loose fitting styles. This silhouette was a stark contrast to the styles popular in the Victorian Era, which were marked by tight corsets, an hourglass figure, and elaborate decorative designs.  


 

     The 1920s too saw a great change in fashion, especially for women. Flapper culture shortened hemlines to unprecedented heights, women bobbed their hair when for centuries only long hair had been acceptable, and the silhouette, rather than expressing a womanly shape, opted for a boxy, long, loose shape. In 1926 the Women's Fashion Institute designed a one hour dress, meaning the dress could be sewn in one hour. Also during this time, forward-thinking designer and legend Coco Chanel was one of the first designers to introduce sportswear for everyday clothing and trousers for women that would influence fashion forever.


 

     During the 1930s-1950s there was a new source of fashion icons, found  Hollywood movie starlets. They set fashion trends in hair, makeup, and clothing. Hollywood brought glamour to America and the world. In the 1940s, the silhouette again changed, with wide shoulder lines and wide trousers desirable for both men and women. Still, women wore skirts and dresses more often than not. The 1950s again brought the hourglass figure back into popularity and the sheath dress (now more popularly called a wiggle dress) was the standard. Teenagers at this time began wearing jeans and creating styles distinct from both childrenís wear and adultís wear, which had not been done before.  


 

     The invention of the first manufactured man-made fiber, Rayon, led to more functional clothing for women and men who were entering the work force. Before that, cotton and wool were the main natural fabric sources available.


 

     DuPont changed the world by inventing nylon, another man-made fiber. Hence, nylon stockings were invented and gave the look of silk but with cheaper prices. During WWII clothing was rationed and style was conservative. People wanted more luxury after the sacrifices that were given during the war.  To meet this demand, French designer, Dior, launched his brand in 1947 LIFE magazine called the "New Look".

 

 

 

 

 

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