Thursday, April 3, 2014

Taking a Step Back in Time

Fashion: a sense of style that changes from decade to decade, century to century. Each era of fashion can change by very little or drastically.

     When I go shopping, my mom will say "I used to wear patent leather heels, flattering work pants, and my nicely tailored suit with the shoulder pads in the 80's. Now we can barely find you a dress that its long enough." With times changing, so do the styles. The "styles" for our age include way too tight, short, skimpy, and unflattering clothes. Looking back at the beautiful classic styles I find it tragic that stores are advertizing these so called "clothes" as actual fashion. Although I didn't live through it, the days of women wearing classy dresses, men wearing suits and ties not flip-flops and baseball caps, and kids with ironed, clean cut clothes were spectacular in the world of fashion. For this post, I want to take a step back in time and appreciate the true golden days in the world of fashion.

The Roarin' 20s 
Women won the right to vote, Prohibition, Ragtime and Early Jazz, Flappers and so much more! 

Elegant and simple: black, white, and floral

Actress Marie Prevost

Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel

From the movie The Artist

From The Australian TV show Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Mary from Downton Abbey


The 30s Era

The American stock market crashed, Dust Bowl hit, Amelia Earhart flew, Swing n' Blues were created, and newly developed film revolutionized film making.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were popular cinematic dancers from the 1930s. Ginger Rogers, who started her career on the Vaudeville Circut, stared in more than 70 movies and her partner Fred Astaire is regarded by many as the greatest popular music dancer of all time. Together they danced their way into the hearts of America with in films like "Top Hat", "Swing Time", and "The Gay Divorcee". They are important because the type of dance they performed was unique and characteristic of the 1930s.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were popular cinematic dancers from the 1930s

Shirley Temple, known as America's Sweetheart, started her career in 1934 with the film Stand up and Cheer! when she was six years old. She usually played the typical innocent child roles and never ceased to put a smile on the face of people watching.
Shirley Temple - child actress of 1934 in Stand up and Cheer!

Cecil Beaton and Gary Cooper, 1930s #1930s #men #30s #menswear #fashion
Cecil Beaton and Gary Cooper look clean and classy in their finely tailored men's suits

Icon of the 30s actress Jean Harlow sports the drop waist, fine silk, and luscious fur fashions of the time

Women's fashion often included firgure-hugging fabrics often with ruffles or flares to accent certain areas

From the TV show Upstairs Downstairs

Half a Milenium- The 50s

Countries are industrializing, people are immigrtating, and the world keeps changing. Both the Korean war and the Civil Rights Movement sprouted. The 50s were age of poodle skirts, Christian Doir, and jukebox dinners. 

Women dressed "smartly' in the Fifties. Good grooming and a tailored look were prized. Acting and looking "every inch the lady" was taught virtually from the cradle and wearing a dress was a given.

Elizabeth Taylor - A Place in the Sun. Ballgown features the 50s flowers and her pearl earrings.

Christian Doir launched his "New Look" featuring the Bar Suit (right), which emphasized small waists with very structured overall look, and the flamboyant and  extravagant evening dresses. 

Actress Grace Kelly

"Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world." ~Marilyn Monroe

Cary Grant sports the classic tuxedo and a charming smile: a trend that's always in style. 


A 1960's Salute

In the 60's the people were in control. They exercise their freedom of speech, were active in the Cuban Missile Crisis, fought in Vietnam and for the Civil Rights Movement, and landed on the moon for the first time in history. Flower power ruled with the coming of the Beatles and the "hippie" was born. 


Edie Sedgwick
In the early 60's women typically wore mini skirts and paisley/ plaid patterns

Audrey Hepburn in the iron Givenchy "little black dress" featured in Breakfast at Tiffany's

The evolution of women's fashion in the 1960's

60s Mens Suit Jacket
Men's suits became for colorful and patterned

Julie Andrews, 1960's
Julie Andrews is most famous for her roles in The Sound of Music (1965) and Mary Poppins (1964)

Poofy hair and psychedelic patterns bookmark a new era of fashion 

1969, women's fashion has evolved because of political influence for peace and pop cullture

1970s Decade

Unprecedented history was made in the 70s. The first American Top 40 countdown aired nationwide, 18 year-old earned the right to vote, Nixon was caught for the Watergate incident and resigned, and Bill Gates founded Miscrosoft. Pop culture was booming around the word and as reflected in the fashions, people were driven and felt free.

Whoops! Young men sported long hair, big sunglasses, and a chill attitude

Florals, platforms, and flowing clothing were all popular 70s trends

Seventeen Magazine, May 1973
Seventeen Magazine May 1973: Bell bottoms and print

Grease, a 1978 film was a huge hit feature a cliche good-girl & greaser couple

Dame Maggie Smith crushing it in the 1970s
Maggie Smith, an icon of the 70s won an Oscar for her role in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie


Prime Time: The 80's

Although I'm a 90s baby, I'm partial to the 80's. The pop culture and music was off the charts. But the 80's weren't all music: PCs were introduced by IBM, the first women was appointed to the U.S. supreme court, new Coca-Cola hit the market, and the Berlin wall fell. Let's start the vinyls over and see the 80's magic.  

Aspiring to one day be as cool as the teens in John Hughes movies.
The Breakfast Club, 1985. 

Because this movie is too amazing not to mention. I mean look at that cheetah scarf and Solane's jacket. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986.

Duran Duran was one of the biggest band of the 80's. Their addictive songs and good beats had everyone signing along. A number of male stars were eccentric with the hair and makeup- but hey! It's the 80's!

Icons of the 80's set trends that revolutionized the fashion industry. Crazy, weird hair and alien makeup we now a must-have.

80s fashion | Vintageville . 80’s Fashion, “More is more” | Design Catwalk |
Only in the 80's could you wear spandex one day and baggy sweats the next. During what other timeperiod was is socially acceptable, and not to mention cool, to wear neon mini skirts with Reebok shoes, and leg warmers. 

Princess Diana -slimming and chic shoulder-pad style


During all eras there were distinct patterns and parallels, all of which have impacted today's fashion industry. Although times have changed, designers have modernized past trends that are timeless. This post took lots of time between the research and perfect photos but really furthered my understanding of the impact of history on fashion, and how things change even between a few short years. I hope you learned something from reading this just as I did:) 

So, what is your favorite fashion era? 



  1. wonderful list! i like the 20ties very much

  2. Love this list, and so much effort and research that went into it! It's definitely a shame that we don't still value looking put together and just good, too many girls in tank tops, shorts, and yoga pants.
    With Love, Madylin @


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