The 20th century is considered by many to be one of the most transforming and developing centuries humankind has ever experienced.
During the 20th century the pace of change occurred by years, and sometimes months. Society changed the way we lived, and we changed society.
The first decade of the 1900s lit the spark of flame. Here’s the 20th Century Fashion History: 1900 -1945.
Blouses and dresses were full in front and puffed into a pigeon breast shape of the early 20th century. Tall stiff collar characterize the period. Neckline were supported by very high boned collar. The fashion houses of the Paris began to show a new silhouette, with thicker waist, flattered bust, narrower hip. Beginning of 1920’s it was fashionable for women to wear high waisted cloth. Parisian countries introduced bias-cut into their design, which enhance the fabric to skin over the body. Long, simple and clinging evening gown were popular at that time. As the result of war, severe fabric shortage, due to which minimum fabric were used or less pleats and no trimmings in dress.
As the result of war, severe fabric shortage, due to which minimum fabric were used or less pleats and no trimmings in dress. From 1942 onwards some clothes were made under the government Utility Scheme that Rationed material. They are identifiable by ‘CC41’ stamp (Civilian Clothing Act of 1941) In 1947, Christian Dior introduced his ‘New Look’ which revolutionized 1940’s.
Sportswear and Tailored Clothing
Revolving from Victorian era to Edwardian era which started a new lifestyle and this time brought a new fashion trend known as the “New Women”. New Women were those women who came out from domestic circle and to pursue higher education like office, job, and also participating in sports or outdoor sports. Tailored suits became more popular for the women as they were working in white collar. The outfit worn by the typical college girl was a skirt that are usually shorter than current fashion, and a shirt waist , which is the best described as the equivalent of jeans and T-shirt today. During the mid to late 1930s, swimsuits became more revealing than those of the 1920s, and often featured lower necklines and no sleeves. These were made from nylon and rayon instead of the traditional wool.
Headgear & Hairstyle
Two new style of headgear which were popular- motoring veil for driving, sailor hat for tennis matches or for bicycling. Gibson girl hairstyle was also popular. Masses of wavy hair were fashionable. Huge, broad-brimmed hat were worn in mid-decade. Large hat were worn with evening wear. Also hair was worn in center parting, often looped around pad and false hair to create volume.
There were shoes for every occasion oxford for a tailored costume, slippers with straps, for festive occasion or pumps with pearl buckles, and finally boot for winter season. At the beginning of 1900s shoes still maintained the same design of the Victorian Era. These shoes were commonly made or found in seal skin or Moroccan leather.
It was prominent, including large brooches and long string of pearls.
Rise in Haute Couture
This decade marked the full flowering of Parisian haute couture has the right to decide the style and silhouette for women of all classes. The new style began like form-fitting gown with high and undefined waist, or ankle length skirts are long tunic like jackets. The Paris correspondent for Vogue described this new look as “straighter and straighter”.
The sack coat or lounge coat continued to replace the frock coat for most formal and semi-formal occasion. Trousers were shorter than before, often had turn-ups and cuffs, and were creased front and back using the new trouser press. The Norfolk jacket remained fashionable for shooting and rugged outdoor pursuits. The cutaway morning coat was still worn for formal day occasion in Europe. At evening party, they worn evening jacket with white bow tie, and shirt with winged collar.
Dinner jacket was worn with a white shirt and dark tie, knee length topcoat and calf overcoat were worn in winter. Formal dresses shirt turned over or pressed into ‘wings’. The usual necktie was a narrow four-in-hand. Ascot tie were worn with formal day dress and while bow tie with evening dress. From 1914, mostly men were found in military uniform. Men wore a plain or simply patterned modern knot tie. In 1930, men generally worn 3- piece suits for work or formal occasion only. After 1945, many men leaving the armed force were issued with a de-mob suit.
Headgear & Hairstyle
Top hats remained a requirement for upper class formal wear; two most popular hat were worn at that time was Homburgs and bowler hats. As hat were worn with lounge or sack suits, and flat straw boaters were worn for casual occasion. Cloth cap were also popular amongst the working class. Hair was cut very short at the sides, and most men were clean shaven. Beards were now reserved for mainly older men.
Shoes for men were mostly over the ankle. Toe cap, lace up boot in black, gray, or brown were the most commonly used. In the Edwardian times basic lace up oxford shoes were introduced.
Girl fashion for this time period imitated older women of the same time. They wore dresses of knee length, with trimming at the hem such as a lace of embroidery. Their hair are generally worn long and curly with decoration of ribbon. They also wore kidskin and crochet gloves. Bonnets were being replaced at that time so girls wear a hat at that time. Young boys found comfort in Russian style blouses. Fashionable clothing for boys included sailor suits, consisting of a shirt with sailor collar and trousers.
Both men and women working on war service wore practical trousers or overalls. Women bundled their hair up in caps, scarves.