Fashion - from ancient history to the modern day
A (Very) Short Intro To The History Of Fashion
There are many different ways to express who you are through clothing. What you wear can also say a lot about your social status and what is appropriate for a given situation. The way we dress helps to set expectations for how we should behave, communicate, and relate to others.
Think about all of the times that you have had an interview or a first date. What did you wear? Did your outfit help or hurt your chances? Well-dressed individuals send signals about their intentions, trustworthiness, and confidence. In this website we’ll cover the history of women’s clothing as well as where fashion stands today.
Ancient History: Dressing For The Status of Women
For the majority of human history, the only way to express yourself through fashion was through what you wore. The types of fabrics, colors of dyes, and types of clothing that you wore were very closely tied to your social status. For example, did you know that in ancient Greece and Rome, it was considered scandalous for women to go out in public without their heads covered? This is because respectable women were expected to stay at home and perform domestic duties. Only lower-class individuals were out and about in public without a head covering.
In the Middle Ages, noblewomen wore long dresses and tunics that were extremely restrictive. This was in part due to the fact that fashion was meant to convey status, but also to protect against vermin and germs. On the other hand, poorer women often wore short garments that allowed them to move around more freely.
The Dark Ages: Restriction and Scandal
The Middle Ages were a time when life was not easy. People were struggling to eke out an existence between constant starvation and the threat of being killed by disease, war, or persecution at any given moment. These challenging conditions had a profound effect on fashion in the Middle Ages. There were no department stores or fast-fashion trends; what people wore spoke directly to their ability to feed themselves and their family.
Clothing was expensive and laborious to produce, so its makers had little incentive for excess. As a result, the general trend in fashion during the Middle Medieval period centered around longer hemlines, loose sleeves, and voluminous silhouettes that could be made from simple materials with a minimum of effort.
Fashion Trends of the Renaissance Era
The Renaissance period lasted in Europe from the 14th to 17th century. This was a time of renewed interest in learning and culture, bringing back many ideas and practices from the ancient world that had been lost to Europe in the dark ages.
With new exploration and trade came a great deal of prosperity, and this led to a revival of high-end art, literature, music, architecture, education, and fashion. Women’s fashion during this time period included trends such as houppelandes hoods, ruffs or sleeves that framed the face with layers of lace or cloth, winged sleeves hitting at the wrist or covering the hand entirely with feathers (or some other sort of flap), point collars that could stand up on their own with wire supports called cravats, tight bodices with very small sleeves and skirts with trailing trains behind them.
Victorian Times: Tight Corsets and Silky Dresses
As the Victorian era dawned, women’s fashion took a turn toward the ostentatious. However, it was a time of prudishness, repression, and sexual scandals. Full-figured women were considered beautiful, and heavy corsets were used to enhance their figures.
Other garments included long, tight skirts and layers of petticoats. Tight-fitting sleeves were very common in women’s clothing during the Victorian Era. These sleeves were decorated with lace or flowers.
Victorian Era women wore gowns that were made from heavy fabrics such as silk, velvet, or brocade. The floor-length dresses were often decorated with lace.
In the late 19th century, and the first few decades of the 20th, women’s fashion centered on gowns. Women wore long skirts, with corsets and bodices that emphasized their breasts and tiny waists. Their hair was piled up high on their head in elaborate styles that looked like works of art.
The clothing was not only time-consuming to put on, but also very restricting; so much so that it was virtually impossible for a woman in this type of dress to climb a set of stairs without assistance. Even sitting down could be challenging if she needed to raise her knees in order to cross her legs—something that would have been frowned upon in public at this time!
1920s Flappers: Behold the Rise of the Shimmering Shrug
The roaring 1920s ushered in a new era of fashion. Women began to break the corset, wear shorter skirts, and experiment with new fabrics and silhouettes. This decade is perhaps best known for two fashion items. The first is the “peek-a-boo” hemline, which featured a hem that rose above the knee. The other notable trend was the silk shrug, a loose, open cardigan that became a staple in many women’s wardrobes.
The 1920s also saw the rise of the “flapper” look, featuring short hair, a boyish silhouette, and brightly colored, eye-catching fabrics.
1980s: Neon Everything And Platform Shoes
The clothing trends of the 1980s are perhaps best remembered by the bright color palette and loud fabrics. This decade was all about being bold, making a statement, and standing out from the crowd.
Fashion designers were influenced by many cultures around the globe. This resulted in garments that used vibrant patterns and bold colors. In particular, designers drew inspiration from Asia.
Another notable trend from this decade was the rise of the platform shoe. This shoe type featured heels that were significantly higher than normal. These shoes were often made from brightly colored fabrics and featured decorative buckles on the sides.
Fashion in Women's Clothing In The 21st Century: What's In & What To Wear
Women’s clothing in the 21st century is an exciting time to be a fashion lover. The world has never been so connected, and that means there are more opportunities than ever to express one’s personal style on a global scale. The digital age has also created new ways for independent designers to share their work with the world, and social media has given rise to some truly unique and inspiring fashion influencers from all corners of the globe.
Where do we go from here?
Fashion is a constantly evolving phenomenon, but it is also a cyclical one. Trends and fashions go in and out of style, only to be reintroduced in new ways. The fashion industry is always changing and adapting to new trends, technology, and ideas.
The future of fashion is unpredictable, but one thing is for certain: it will continue to change, grow, and evolve. The designers of the future will be faced with the many challenges of climate change, sustainability, and accessibility. These challenges will inspire new designs that will push fashion to a new level.