Saturday, 27 March 2010

Fashion through the Ages.

1920s- Known as the “Roaring Twenties”, a time of rebellion and newfound freedoms. Fashion became extravagant, due to prosperity. Women’s style, known as the iconic “flapper” reflected women’s liberation, as hemlines rose, women cropped their hair and wore more make up than they had ever before!

1930s- The great depression gripped Britain, but there was a sliver lining of Hollywood’s golden age, as glamorous starlets evoked aspirational styles for the masses to imitate.

1940s- Hard times hit Britain and fashion during the war. As clothes were about being functional, not fashionable, “utility” clothing was plain yet long lasting. People were urged to “make do and mend” as rationing meant that fabrics were scarce.

1950s- The Glamorous style of the 1950s injected life and colour back into fashion. With Iconic idols such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley heavily influencing styles, women adopted the glamour of Monroe wearing full- skirted prom dresses, whilst men were either “good guys” who conformed to the clean cut “preppy” look of v- neck sweaters and blazers, or they imitated the rock n roll swagger of Elvis wearing leather jackets and tight- fitting jeans.

1960s- The “swinging sixties” was an era of revolutionary change. Young people invented their own styles disregarding the fashion rule book.
London in the early sixties was at the epicentre of fashion, rebellious young people rocked the Mod look, a vibrant and flamboyant style which saw men wearing brightly coloured paisley suits, whilst women wore scandalously short mini- skirts in psychedelic patterns.

Late 1960s- Saw the emergence of the “flower power” Hippies; often wearing casual flowing clothing in paisley and flowered patterns, they rejected the mainstream fashion trends creating their own unique style. Loose bell bottoms with tie- dye t- shirts were the look!

1970s- Disco danced its way into young people’s hearts, the craze took over dance clubs in the 70s; a prominent figure John Travolta encapsulated the disco scene with “Saturday night fever”. It was all about flares, hot pants, platform shoes and jumpsuits!
Alternatively there was the radical style of punks, who sought to shock people with their extreme take on clothing often wearing ripped, slashed clothes adorned with dog collars, chains and razor blades. Not to be missed out in a crowd they styled their hair in sky- high spikes or Mohawks.

1980s- Known as the “decade of greed” when the economy was thriving and the look was high- powered and business like. “Power Dressing” impacted the fashion scene where people wore designer suits with large shoulder pads to convey an image of success.
The phenomenon of “fame” and the fitness craze of the 70s propelled legwarmers and leotards onto the masses.

1990s- Unlike other decades, fads were influenced by the entertainment industry, celebrities and popular music.
Sexuality became an important element in fashion. “Hip Huggers”, were low cut jeans that exposed the bare midriff, a trend that was kick-started by sexy sweetheart star Britney Spears.
On the other end of the fashion scale, influenced by rock bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the Grunge trend evolved. Baggy, ripped jeans or long baggy shorts with flannel shirts were the look!

2000- The fashion industry today has spanned the ages of fashion reworking trends from as early as the iconic 20s flapper dress, to the awful shoulder pads of the 80s! It relies on significant looks from earlier decades, which we see as “retro” or “vintage”. Without the fashion sensations or faux pas of the past, our shopping experience today would certainly not be the same!

This article, and the following are articles that have been published in the University of Portsmouth's student magazine, Pugwash. I currently hold the position as Life and Style Editor, and plan to write more for our third and final issue! :) Check out Pugwash magazine online at for online articles! X

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