Many of the world's greatest inventions occurred during the 20th century. We were introduced to airplanes, television, antibiotics, computers, and cell phones to name a few, but the 1900s also gave us some amazing breakthroughs in the fashion industry. Style during this time went from long dresses to mini skirts and long hair rolled into a bun to the awesome pixie cut of the 1960s. Women's roles in society were rapidly changing and with that came the ability to break out of the rigid confines of old world fashion and try new and daring styles. No matter what your personal style is today, it can most certainly be traced back to a style from the 20th century. I like to think of fashion as a revolving door...it always comes back around again and I have been seeing more and more of that as we get further into the new millennium. Are you currently stuck in a style rut and wanting a bit of a change or maybe you just want to update your current style a bit? Check out these 9 style inspirations from the 1900s.
I'm starting off 10 years into the 20th century because that's when fashion really started to take flight. During this time women's dresses got a bit shorter and the heels got a little higher. In the 1910s fashion was characterized by a rich atmosphere and women were wearing long silky lace dresses with expensive jewelry. These women spent a lot of time and money looking amazing until World War 1 then they went to the more practical hobble skirts with jackets and boots. I used a combination of these two styles when choosing my fashion inspiration example. I chose this gorgeous lace ankle length dress and paired it with a nice pair of black lace up heeled boots and an adorable little fur purse. You can shop this look HERE.
The war was over and women were once again wanting to spend money. But this time the skirts got a lot shorter and so did the hairstyles. Enter the age of the flapper...women who broke conventional rules and flaunted their disdain for "acceptable behavior". These women wanted to be seen as equals so instead of wearing form fitting clothing they wore straight dresses that were boxy yet flashy and cut their hair to boyish lengths. For my fashion inspiration example I chose a beautiful red fringe flapper style dress and paired it with some adorable heeled mary janes and a cute fan shaped bag. You can shop this look HERE.
In the 1930s America saw the Great Depression and many women had no choice but to switch to more practical clothing instead of the extravagant items they were used to wearing. Also, many women went to work during this time to help provide for the family so female business attire became mainstream. Most women during this time wore skirts or jeans at the natural waist and accentuated this with a small belt. I used this style for my fashion inspiration example. I chose a long high waisted skirt with a flared bottom and paired it with a black and white polka dot button down blouse, a pair of black and white heeled shoes and an adorable two tone purse. You can shop this look HERE.
The 1940s saw another World War as America went to war yet again but this time women had to step into formerly assumed male only jobs to compensate for the huge amount of men who went to war during this decade. This required more loose fitting attire and shorter skirts (shin length) to allow for better movement. During this time button down dresses became the norm as women everywhere were donning them and heading to work. The waistline got a little lower as women didn't feel it necessary to have a super tiny waist. For my fashion inspiration example I chose a simple green button down dress with a pair of two tone nude short heeled shoes and a tan purse. You can shop this look HERE.
In the 1950s the cars got faster, malt shops became the norm, and girls everywhere wanted poodle skirts and sneakers. Even the women were wearing their skirts wide...the wider the better which is why many ladies during this period would wear petticoats with hoops in the bottom to keep their skirt looking full all day. For my fashion inspiration example I steered clear of the poodle skirt because while I feel this style of skirt might see a comeback I doubt the poodle will. Instead I chose a super adorable black and white polka dot dress with a small belted waist and wide flared skirt and paired it with some cute black heels and a black purse. You can shop this look HERE.
The 1960s saw the huge Beatles craze sweep the nation. Everyone loved the Beatles and this gave way to London fashion becoming widely popular in the states. The female silhouette went from curvy to super thin with the introduction of the popular model Twiggy and women everywhere started wearing straight boxy dresses again (kind of like in the 20s) but this time plaids and wild floral prints were popular instead of fringe and sequins and the hem was WAY shorter. Also, the 1960s saw the beginning of the knee high boots frenzy and everyone had at least one pair of "go go boots". For my fashion inspiration example I chose a cute red plaid mini dress and paired it with some black heeled knee high boots and a cute black bag. You can shop this look HERE.
America went to war yet again in the 70s only this time it was met with a lot of opposition especially from the young generation. These flower children as they would soon be called were all about peace and love...and of course some really amazing music! During this decade jeans became more popular for women who loved their hems wide and their waist high. The dresses once again got longer (maxi dresses) and women were wearing tops that tied around the neck (halter tops) as opposed to having sleeves (even though many wore bell sleeved tops as well). Also, women still loved to wear heels but wanted them to be more comfortable so wedges were the solution that came out of the 70s. For my fashion inspiration example I chose a gorgeous pink halter top maxi dress and paired it with some white wedge sandals and a cute white cross body purse. You can shop this look HERE.
The 80s were the wildest and most inventive decade of the 20th century. We saw the first car phones during this time and of course style went in so many different ways that you couldn't really go wrong with whatever you decided to wear. The best style from the 80s (my birth decade) was the punk rock style. The makeup was super thick with bright colors and leather (or pleather to be more accurate) became the material of choice for all punk rock chicks. Anything with tons of lace or big shoulder pads was also super popular as long as you knew who you were and owned whatever style you were wearing. For my fashion inspiration example I chose a sleeveless black leather dress and paired it with some cute black heels and a black purse. You can shop this look HERE.
Clueless was the movie of the 90s and with it came some great style which shaped the way I personally dressed and how many other girls like me dressed throughout the whole entire decade. Plaid was super popular during the 90s and so were cropped shirts and clogs. Oh the clogs I used to own...Then the late 90s saw the rise of the Spice Girls and fashion once again took a turn only this time toward short shorts and dresses with pleather and platform sneakers being the most popular. For my fashion inspiration example I chose a red plaid mini skirt and paired it with a red cropped sweater, some cute red strappy heels, and a red purse. (Cher from Clueless would be proud) You can shop this look HERE.
I'm so thankful that I was born in the 20th century and was able to witness some of the greatest fashion breakthroughs of all time. Which decade is your favorite for fashion inspiration? Mine is of course the 90s with the 70s as a very close second, but as always I will look for anything to inspire my style. Hopefully you will now do the same. Remember...never let yourself get stuck in a fashion rut and seek out new inspirations daily. Have a wonderful day and happy shopping :)
Goodbye for now...Fashionable Tigress
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