Last modified on August 13th, 2016 at 7:44 pm

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100 Years of Fashion

The trends of fashion and its shift in timeline

100 year fashion trends - TimelyBuzz

Last updated on August 13th, 2016 at 07:44 pm

Fashion by definition is Fashion is a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body, or furniture. Fashion is a distinctive and often constant trend in the style in which a person dresses. It is the prevailing styles in behavior and the newest creations of textile designers. Throughout centuries Fashion has been altering the social, economic and political landscapes benefitting and stimulating our society and during the process has promoted creativity.

Fashion in its earliest days was quite different than what it is now mainly because of the cultural diversity; but now that owing to the modern technologies the world has become a modern village fashion trends around the world can be observed to be quite similar.

The 1910s

1910 fashion - TimelyBuzz
1910 fashion – TimelyBuzz

The 1910s were known as the Era of the Nouveau Styled figure, meaning the “new style” and fashion back then was very conservative characterized by tall, stiff collars and broad hats. Materials like silk, linen, cotton and wool were quite common. In the year 1908, the stereotypical “S” shaped figure of women pulled into place by corsets was replaced by a much straighter and a natural look and the frills and the flounces of the previous decade were replaced by the hobble skirts which were a trend until late 1915.

On the right is quite popular Hobble Skirts of the early 1910s. Later on, the Fuller Skirts took the women by storm and replaced the Hobble skirts with their cut just above the ankles which made them more appropriate for both casual and outdoor wear.

1910s Outdoor wear

In the year 1914, the first world broke out altered the fashion trends of the 1910s and the dresses were now designed more by necessity than fashion. With the war came the neutral colors of wartime and particularly black which was quite common in the dress modes highlighted the need to mourn to mourn the increasing numbers of dead.

A poster highlighting the role played by the women during the first world war.

For the men, the fashion trend in the 1910s was not much different from what it is today. The crisp shirts, high collars, and bold stripes were a typical style with short, well-groomed hair was the popular look. The fabrics were all wool with hints of striping, checks, and plaid. The sack suits worn by men in the 1910s were long, plain, loose fitting (some might say baggy) suit jackets with wide lapels and a one to three button closure, a little similar to the modern suits which are slightly fitted and a little shorter in length. It was also a trend to wear a matching waistcoat or vest along with the suit. Topping a man with a hat was the last bit of fashion a well-dressed man required. The trendy colours in the era for the men were dark navy, grey, green and brown.

The 1920s

1920 fashion TimelyBuzz
1920 Skirt Style – TimelyBuzz

After the end of the first world war in 1918, the United States Of America benefitted from its role in the war. The optimism brought along by the end of the war relaxed the social customs and morals and the economy boosted. The fabrics used during this decade were wool, silk, cotton, rayon, georgette, and knits. During the Roaring ’20s, the style was a bit looser, with sleek, clean lines. The most memorable fashion trend was “the flapper” look. The flapper dress was functional and flattened the bust line rather than accentuating it .The straight-line chemise topped by the close-fitting cloche hat became the trending dress. The women were cutting their hair into bobs and wore iconic cloche hats. In the year 1925, “shift” type dresses with no waistline emerged breaking the norms and towards the end of the decade, dresses were being worn with straight bodies and collars.

The trending Chemise Dress that hung from shoulder to just below the knee with the waist dropping to the hips.

For the first time in centuries, women’s legs were seen with hemlines rising to the knee and dresses becoming more fitted. A more masculine look became popular, including flattened breasts and hips, short hairstyles such as the bob cut, and a more boyish figure.One of the first women to break the norms and wear trousers, cut her hair and reject the corset was Coco Chanel. She is believed to be the most influential woman in a fashion of the 20th century, Coco Chanel  and is said to do much for the liberation of women’s fashion.

Chanel wearing a sailor’s jersey and trousers breaking the typical norm of women wearing dresses in the 1920s.

Chanel Sailor’s Jersey Trouser – TimelyBuzz

In the dapperness of the Roaring ’20s the men’s fashion was the start of the menswear as we all know it today. In the dapperness of the Roaring ’20s the men’s fashion was the start of the menswear as we all know it today. An essential part of the men’s wear throughout the course of time has been his suit. The distinctive qualities about the men’s suit during the 1920s were the fitting and the quality of the suit.Suits were mostly made of thick wool or a wool tweed and pants made of wool based flannel which made them heavier than today’s suit materials but lighter than the previous decades. Suit jackets were either single or double breasted and featured 3 or 4 buttons up the front. The top button came to the center of the heart giving way to notch lapels. The highness of the suit lapels is what really sets 1920’s suits apart from suits of other eras.


Double Breasted Overcoats - TimelyBuzz
The double breasted overcoats trending in the 1930s.

In the 1930s the waistline made a comeback to the fashion trends. Also, the Great depression led to fabric rations, therefore, dresses were slimmer with more movement. Fur and floral patterns were quite trending during that era and makeup was an important element in getting dressed up. Shoulder pads were the new trend until the late 1930s. Trending in the menswear was sporting fedoras and double-breasted overcoats.


The Utility Suit.
In the 1940s the women’s fashion had wide padded shoulders, nipped in high waist tops, and A-line skirts that came down to the knee trending. With the start of the second world war, there was a strict rationing on the fabric which leads to the shortening of the dresses up to the knee length. Even the pants had a similar shape and the 940s fashion was mainly about wide shoulders tiny waists and full hips. In the 40s Utility, suits became a thing so women could, therefore, mix and match different components to wear.

Utility Cloth Fashion 1943 - TimelyBuzz
Utility Cloth Fashion 1943 – TimelyBuzz

Following the war, in the 1950s the fashion trends saw a resurgence of haute couture. And the trends varied greatly, many of the old school styles from the 1920s made a comeback while there were also some new trends introduced.

In the early 1960s, the trend was more like conservative and restrained and towards the classy style while the drastic change in trend made it completely opposite in the late 1960s with the bright swirling colours, psychedelic, tie-dyed shirts and long hair and beards were trending hot.


Women were observed to be wearing short skirts while menswear included capes and tunics.

1980 Double Press Suit - TimelyBuzz
1980 Double Press Suit – TimelyBuzz

In the early 1970s, the trend of bright colours on polyester continued and men and women were seen wearing tight fitting pants and platform shoes. By 1973 some women were also wearing high cut boots and low cut pants.

Tunics, culottes, and robes were all very popular. The trending fashion included chest hair, medallions, butterfly collars, bell bottoms, skin-tight T-shirts, sandals, flower patterned dress shirts and tennis headbands. By 1979, the colour almost disappeared and shades like gray, white and black were back in full force.

1980’s was the time of double press suit. Army, officers, teachers all were seen wearing the double press suit.

Bright colored accessories like the sunglasses, bangles, and hoop earrings were a necessity of the 1980s. Teased hair, loud makeup, and neon were trending. For the men, the clothing was snug fitting and comfortable. Soft fabrics were used everywhere.

Vintage Suit Fashion
Vintage Suit Fashion – TimelyBuzz


Fashion trend in the 1990s was loose fitting and colorful. Tapered pants, big T-Shirts, and extra long shorts were a thing back then. Boys and Girls both had the trend of wearing baseball caps in different ways. Clothes worn by many hip hop singers was quite trending. Opposed to this was the grunge or the punk look which saw color as its enemy. The clothing style in the 1990s is not much different from what it is now, back then as well as now singers and designers had a major influence on what people wore.

1990s Famous Grunge Style - TimelyBuzz
1990s Famous Grunge Style – Source

The 2000s fashion is described as being a ‘mash-up’ of different styles from the previous decades, the Hip Hop fashion culture being the most famous. Now in 206, almost anything you wear works up as the fashion trend, just don’t forget to take a selfie.

The 2000s trend of selfies
The 2000s trend of selfies – TimelyBuzz

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Written by Syed Anwer Ali

Ali Anwer is a veteran journalist having worked in Asia’s leading English daily newspaper for almost a decade. A prolific writer, he has contributed articles to different newspapers and established websites. He has also engaged in sports reporting for a brief period.

Having traveled the world extensively, he is a repository of information on world history, current affairs, political events and the entertainment industry. Being a movie buff he is an encyclopedia on Hollywood movies and actors.

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