When you talk about women’s fashion, you may be thinking of ancient Greece or the 19th century. You may even consider the suffrage movement and the Great Depression. These are all very important periods in women’s history. However, there is one important thing to remember: women have always been conscious of their clothes, regardless of age or body shape. So, how do you understand what is considered fashionable by different generations of women? Read on to learn about the history of women’s fashion.
In ancient Greece
In ancient Greece women wore a wide variety of clothing styles. The basic outer garment of the period was called a himation, and it was worn by both sexes. The himation was a large rectangular garment that spanned the shoulders and went under the left arm. It was often brightly colored and decorated with painted or woven designs. The ancient Greeks were known for their fashion sense, which was like the fashion of the day.
Although the toga was a common garment in ancient Greece, it was not the only garment worn by women. It was used to communicate social values and cultural status and was more than simply a fashion statement. Ancient Greek women wore a variety of clothing styles, including a symmetrical veil. The garment was worn by women and men alike. While this style may seem, a little bit revealing to contemporary eyes, it was still widely worn in Greek society.
In the 19th century
During the nineteenth century, women’s fashions changed significantly. Women no longer wore flowing skirts made from lightweight fabric; instead, they were cut with corseted waists and full sleeves that fit snugly around the wrist. Also, the necklines on gowns shifted upwards. And women began to experiment with hairstyles, including the use of ringlets and high-crowned curls. Headwear of the time also included straw hats and small muslin caps. A woman could change up her look just by adding a new pair of gloves, scarf, pearl silver earrings or hat.
Women also wore underwear, starting in the 1800s. These garments were called drawers, as they were basically two pieces of clothing tied together at the top. These remained popular as underwear throughout the 19th century, becoming more familiar as knickers in Britain. Women had to wear corsets to hold their waists in place, but that did not stop women from wearing knickers and a chemise.
During the Great Depression
During the Great Depression, women’s fashion was very simple. The clothing of the day was made of simple materials like cotton and wool. Decorative buttons added charm to a dress. Buttons were often quite pretty, which made them a popular focal point. Some women even made their own buttons by snipping off old ones and stitching them on to new clothes. Today, buttons used in women’s fashion are collectors’ items.
While a simple dress was more practical for the working class, the more extravagant clothes were out of reach for the poorer classes. The cost of materials like silk and wool were too high for many, so American designers created simpler versions of French fashions. Short sleeved, printed dresses with belts were the most popular dresses for women during the Depression. Synthetic fabrics such as rayon, nylon, and polyester were substituted for expensive materials like silk and linen. Women began to accessorize simple dresses with belts and other accessories, and even started to wear legging, sheer nylons, and skirts.
During the suffrage movement
Fashion was a powerful tool of political protest during the suffrage movement. Women wore brightly coloured skirts and sleeveless blouses to show their political conviction. They were often photographed in front of a camera, which heightened their status. While they did not want to appear rebellious, they wanted to appeal to the public’s eye. To make this image as powerful as possible, the sellers of suffragette clothing were expected to dress as smartly as the suffragettes themselves.
Early suffragists believed that traditional women’s clothing was restrictive and harmful to their health and best interests. Tightly fitting corsets hindered women’s ability to catch their breath, and a popular nineteenth-century trope depicted a woman fainting in a corset. By redefining the style of women’s clothing, they would be able to move freely, enjoy better health, and maintain vigor.