Fashion Through the Decades: Unveiling Style Trends from the 1920s to Present

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Benches standing tightly together, around the stage. A place for concerts and entertainment of people during the holidays. Improvement of territories.

Ah, fashion – it’s a spectacle that never seems to fade, no matter which decade or era of humankind. Through the years, styles shift and trends come in and out of fashion, even recycling and resurfacing in entirely new and creative ways. But, have you ever stopped to reflect on the evolution of fashion trends that have endured? Let’s go on a journey through time to uncover the different trends in fashion over the decades, from the roaring twenties all the way up to the present. Embark now and get ready to uncover the fashion from days gone by!

1. Defining Fashion Through the Past Century

Fashion is ever-evolving and as each decade passes, we see a new interpretation of style, materials, colours, and silhouettes. From flapper dresses to French cuffs, shoulder pads to PVC leather, over the past century fashion has had multiple interpretations, sought to redefine definitions, and created ongoing trends.

1920s: A time of 1920s jazz and the glamour of Hollywood, this decade saw femininity and sexuality celebrated through fringes, feathers, and bold patterns. A timeless look is the classic flapper dress, featuring a drop waist, beads, fringes, and a straight fit skirt. The term ‘flapper’ was coined by the media to describe young fashionistas who embraced this new fashion attitude that was available to them.

1940s: The middle of the 20th century is known for its hard times, with the effects of World War II felt all around the world. To counteract clothing rationing, a technique known as draping was employed, producing shoulder pads, crop top jackets, and rough fabrics. Sexy yet powerful, utilitarian fashion of this era lives on in fashion today.

1960s: The mid-century saw a shift in fashion towards youth culture, with a celebration of movement and freedom. Iconic looks such as mini skirts, go-go boots, and babydoll dresses are now synonymous with this decade. Pop art influenced fashion, with bright colours, psychedelic prints, vintage tweeds, and bold hues creating a vibrant style.

1980s: Typical of the 1980s were oversized silhouettes, leg warmers, and power dressing. The Saturday Night Fever phenomenon popularised tight-fitting shirts, off-the-shoulder tops, and large shoulder pads. PVC leather and animal prints added a more risqué attitude to fashion, while frayed denim jeans and floral overalls created a fun and daring expression of creativity.

Today: trends have changed with advances in technology and the world is presented with a wider range of options in fashion. Simultaneously, the ideas of inclusivity, sustainability, and personal expression reign. Low-waisted flared trousers, spaghetti straps, cargo pants, and even haute couture – anything goes. Clothes play an important role in contemporary fashion, allowing people to express their ideas, beliefs, and emotions with their style.

2. Roaring at the 20s: A Glimpse into Flapper Style

The 20s roar with the excitement of a new era of fashion, and the flapper made her mark during this revolutionary decade. She was an empowered woman, unafraid to step outside of social conventions. This spirited individual was far from shy and embraced her independence in a world that hadn’t seen a woman quite like her.

A Flirty Flapper Wardrobe

The roaring 20s also roared with fashion, and the look of a flapper defined this time. Her wardrobe revolved around one key look: the daring-yet-glamorous, skirt-over-trouser silhouette. Flappers proudly wore knee-length skirts paired with high-waisted trousers. They experimented with bright, standout colors and distinct, geometric patterns.

Topped with cloches and tightly pinned curls, flapper style was unapologetic and unencumbered by traditional rules of modesty. The flapper broke barriers and set trends with her revealing (by the time’s standards) ensembles. From T-strap shoes to adorn her feet and slim cloche hats to adorn her head, she was always dressed to impress.

The Elusive Flapper Symbolism

The flapper was seen as a symbol of rebellion by those of the era. Women embraced a more provocative silhouette and a lifestyle that was more progressive and visible than what was accepted. Flappers enjoyed parties, alcohol, smoking and sparked a new appreciation for fashion and glamour. What the flapper represented embodied the idea of the spark of young creativity and individualism, spreading a contagious, lively energy.

A Vestige of Flapper Style Too Irresistible to Ignore

The style and symbolism of the iconic flapper every woman had in the roaring 20s remain a testament to an era of unbridled spirit. Though much of the aspirations that defined her had since been realized, women in the post-1920s era continue to be inspired by her evolving look and attitude. From the beading and tassels of fringe dresses to the sleek and sophisticated lacquered bob, she makes her presence known in fashion today.

3. Disco Fever: A Retrospective on 1970s Style

The 70s were the golden age for disco. From bellbottoms and disco balls to polyester suits and platform shoes, people of the time put their own spin on fashion.

The funky fashions of the era brought bold colors, layers of clothing, and a unique mix of textures. Women in the 70s focused on billowy blouses with butterfly collars, floral maxi dresses, and bell bottoms while men donned colorful suits, white loafers, and a giant medallion necklace.

The disco look could not be complete without the necessary accessories. Florescent colored scarfs, headbands, and dangling earrings added a glamorous flair to any ensemble.

The 70s also saw the rise of the afro, a hairstyle associated with African Americans, as well as the mullet, a hairstyle for both men and women. Both were huge trend-setters of the time and are still seen today.

Fashion in the 70s was all about taking risks and being daring. Clothing was a form of self-expression in which people could showcase their own unique style. People of the 70s were not afraid to make a statement and their fashion choices still have an influence on modern style.

Some elements of 70s style are still alive today. Whether it’s bellbottom jeans or a blazer with shoulder pads, many looks from the era have been resurrected. And no matter the decade, bold colors, retro prints, and funky accessories will surely never go out of style.

4. All That Jazz: A LookBack at 1980s Flashy Fashion

Remember back in the ’80s when you would often see people sporting outrageous colorful outfits, loud makeup, and untraditional hairstyles? Well, you’d be looking at 1980s flashy fashion! This hedonistic decade brought on a wave of flamboyance that would go on to influence a multitude of styles for decades to come.

When it comes to ’80s fashion, the first thing that comes to mind is neon—lights and colors were all the rage. You would see clothing that featured bold patterns and sharp angles, accessorized with bright colors like turquoise, safety-pinned jewelry, and chunky fluorescent sneakers.

Men added to the mix by donning brightly-colored jeans, leather jackets with fur linings, and aviator-style glasses. They had their own sense of eccentricity that was celebrated all over the world.

It was also during ’80s that hair metal took the world by storm. If you lived during this time, you were likely familiar with large, teased hairstyles, a trademark of the era.

The ’80s’ Influence on Today’s Fashion

  • The bright colors and neon detailing of 1980s fashion continues to inspire modern day garb.
  • Aviator glasses, faux fur, and leather jackets, once staples of 1980s fashion, have become staples of modern-day fashion.
  • Hair metal staples such as long hair and teased hair can still be seen today in both men’s and women’s hair styles.

From colorful clothing to teased hair, ’80s fashion was certainly a wild ride. Flamboyance was in and it took over the world. This decade still serves as a source of inspiration for modern-day fashion. Today’s fashion may not look exactly like ’80s fashion, but its spirit continues to live on.

From the trendsetters of the 1920s to the influencers of the present, style has been an ever-evolving landscape. It is through fashion’s wild twists and turns that shine a light on the times we lived through, and it is an ever-inspiring adventure that will never cease to amaze. Now that we have unveiled somewhat of a timeline of style trends from the past almost 100 years, it is abundantly clear that fashion and its past stories will continue to inspire us into the future.

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