In and are often shown in works of

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    In the 1920’s,
society was primarily split into two sperate groups with vastly differing
morals and values. The group typically displayed in pop culture are the
moderns. They greatly valued independence and were largely associated with the
significant increase in city population in the 20’s. They preferred the
fast-paced lifestyle and are often shown in works of the 20’s to fend for
themselves and doing whatever they can to achieve their dreams of becoming rich
and famous. On the opposite end, however, there are also antimoderns.
Antimodernist was a group of people who abhorred the modernist movement because
of their more traditional beliefs. They typically lived on farms or in more
rural areas and tended to value the past, preferring things to progress slower
in their society. Considering these two vastly different social groups, the
fashions of the time were split into two completely distinctive styles. The
modernist fashion movement, which is well recognized by the iconic flapper
dresses and head-pieces seen in media like The Great Gatsby or the Musical
Chicago. These styles included short close fit skirts, beaded and feathered
head-pieces, drop-waist dresses, and cloche hats, all worn specifically to
contrast the 1900’s fashion – commonly worn by the antimodernists. This style
included long sleeve, ankle length, Basque or natural waisted, high collared
dresses typically accessorized with large brimmed hats, covering virtually
everything but the hands and face. The modernist look was intentionally the
polar opposite of these fashions, intended to show independence and social

    With the start of
The Great Depression in the late 20’s, 30’s fashion was hit with brand-new,
more frugal trends and factory-made garments. At this point, clothing could be
mass produced for far less than made-to-order custom or home sewn garments.
This introduced shift in trends from being set by individual sewing companies
to designs seen in home catalogs. This, however, created a domino effect
because these sale ads and catalogs featured artistically drawn women who were
three times as tall and thin as any real and healthy woman could ever be. This
caused puff sleeves, shoulder pads, full collars, and cap sleeves to be
introduced into patterns, to create exaggerated shoulders which would, in
comparison, would make waists and hips to look smaller. Another type of dress
that was very in style were hooverette house dresses, made from affordable and
washable fabrics that were reversible. This was also the time when women were
first starting to wear pants in public, typically wide legged and with a double
sailor front, worn for a day at the beach or lounging at home.

    Women’s clothes of
the 1940s were typically modeled after the utility clothes produced during war
rationing making the fashions a particular combination of traditionally
masculine and feminine. Women’s clothes began to take on the masculine,
militant look with the invention of shoulder pads and the shortage of fabric
caused the Victory or Utility suits very popular. This allowed women to mix and
match skirts, blouses, and jackets for a different outfit every day.  However, this era also brought along the
iconic hourglass figure. Broad shoulders, a tiny waist, and full hips were
desirable and because most people aren’t naturally that shape, clothes were
designed to help achieve the look. This was achieved through the padded
shoulders, nipped in high waist tops, and knee-length A-line skirts – even
pants, which were now becoming a mainstream fashion, were created with the intent
to help attain this image. Unlike the decade before, women were now encouraged
to sew their own clothing at home, in fact, they were frequently educated on
how to update older dresses to the latest fashions in order to conserve
material. After WWII was over, the beginning of ’50’s fashion began to replace
the wartime utility fashions.

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This modern style embraced
femininity with modest, snug fitting tops, narrow high waistlines, rounded
shoulders, and shin-length skirts. Once rationing had ended, a brand-new
availability of different and larger quantities of fabrics allowed a completely
new type of fashion to bloom. The most infamous look of the decade, for
example, were full circle skirts worn over several layers of fluffy petticoats
to add to the volume. Intricate gatherings, pleats, and complex collars were
also newly fashionable. Tight pencil skirts were also beginning to become a
movement, usually including a slit in the back to make it easier to walk and
sit-down in. Dresses with these tight-fitting skirts were also starting to
trend, bringing it back into style for casual wear for the first time since the

Categories: Fashion


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