10 Ordinary Pieces of Clothes That Have Gone Through Several Transformations in the Past Century
Times change and so does fashion. The tendencies in clothes reflect the processes that happen in our lives. This is why when you compare the looks of people from different decades, they are really different, even though there may be some similar details.
We at Bright Side decided to find out how some popular pieces of clothes have changed over the past 100 years.
The corsets that women once used to shape really thin waists were an integral part of their outfits from the Middle Ages on. But wearing them was actually very uncomfortable. And at the beginning of the twentieth century, women started tying the laces so that the body would look as if it was in front of the hips. The S-shape was achieved this way.
In the 1920s, straighter clothes were trendy, so corsets were no longer needed. Women used bras and belts. But in the 1950s, corsets made a comeback. The new corsets were different from the old ones because they didn’t have laces but hooks. Actress Lana Turner said that only a man could invent something like that. A woman would never do this to another woman.
At the beginning of the 2000s, corsets became a fashion trend. Of course, they changed and were not as tight as before, and they were combined with everyday clothes, such as jeans, skirts, and shorts. Today, in 2021, fashion experts are saying that corsets are popular again. But this time, they’ve become smaller in size and are shorter, and they’re worn on top of T-shirts, turtlenecks, and shirts.
These super-functional pants made of thick denim appeared in the nineteenth century. Workers really appreciated the durability of denim. They were the main target audience of this material. Later, military men started wearing denim too.
Like many other things, Hollywood made this material popular among ordinary people. In the 1920s, movies with masculine cowboys in denim appeared, and in the 1950s, popular actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean wore denim. And it was only a matter of time before an actress wore denim. One of the most attractive actresses of her time, Marilyn Monroe, wore denim in The Misfits. And young people have been wearing denim ever since.
Since the moment jeans appeared in movies, they’ve been popular. However, the types and styles of jeans were different.
In the 2000s, low-rise narrow jeans became really popular. Not only were they impractical in the colder months of the year, but they would also show a line of skin above the belt if a person wasn’t careful when sitting down. This is why a lot of people rejoiced when high-rise jeans returned to the scene.
In the 1920s, women wore wide coats with massive cuffs and collars with fur. The color was usually dark blue, brown, or dark red. The coats were wider in the lower parts, so women appeared to be small and fragile in them.
In the 1950s, a lot of different colors and models were created, but they were supposed to highlight women’s femininity. Coats could be pretty slim or even loose. The latter type was more popular because it looked better with the big skirts that were popular back then. Additionally, there was a baby boom at the time, so big coats were popular because they helped to hide a pregnant belly.
If you look at the fashion trends of the past decades, you will see that slim and big coats replaced each other all the time. In the 1960s—1970s, women liked to show their waists, and in the ’80s and ’90s, they wore bigger clothes.
In the 2000s and 2010s, we saw lots of women with slim coats, and in 2020-2021, oversized clothing with minimalistic designs became popular. But fashion experts think that classic slim models will make a comeback very soon.
No matter how strange it might seem, only in the 1920s were women able to swim in the sea and not be ashamed of anyone seeing them. In Victorian times, ladies could swim only when nobody could see them. This is why the first swimsuits for women were made of wool and looked like overalls.
And in the 1950s, fashion designers wanted to be more inventive. They wanted to make swimsuits not only comfortable but also attractive. There were so many different kinds of swimsuits back then: bubble, princess, baby doll, and more. If you saw a 1950s swimsuit today, you’d think it was a short, elegant dress. And in the middle of the twentieth century, bikinis appeared, and those haven’t changed a lot since then.
At the end of the twentieth century, the series, Baywatch, was released and everyone loved the hot female characters that wore bright red swimsuits. Thanks to the series, these types of swimsuits became incredibly popular, but in the 2000s, bikinis made a comeback. Today, both models can be seen on beaches everywhere.
In the 1920s, the so-called sheath dresses with lace became popular models for weddings. Brides were tired of the boring rules of Victorian times and wanted to dance faster, so their dresses needed to be shorter.
In the 1950s, women wore wedding dresses with big skirts that highlighted their narrow waists. Lace dresses were also very popular. At the time, they were no longer made by hand, so they were quite affordable. By the ’60s, the skirt got shorter, but the long multi-layered dresses eventually returned. And in the ’90s, brides really loved big sleeves.
In the 2000s, open shoulders were a distinctive feature of wedding dresses at the time. It was because fewer couples wanted church ceremonies, so brides could wear something a little more revealing. But women still wanted to look like princesses, so they wore big skirts during the ceremonies.
Today, simpler wedding dresses are trendy. Designers recommend avoiding multilayered skirts and choosing simple lines. Well, fashion is cyclical, which explains why dresses from the 1920s are popular again today.
Tights and pantyhose
Before the 1920s, pantyhose were only used to keep women’s legs warm. But skirts got shorter, so calves became visible. This was the first time in history when women were puzzled by the way pantyhose looked. Because of this, all sorts of pantyhose were invented and were made of materials like silk, wool, cotton, and viscose. They were really shiny, and women used powder to make them appear matte.
By the 1950s, nylon was invented, so tights and pantyhose of different thicknesses were made. There was a big visible seam along the back part of the leg. Women loved it so much that when seamless pantyhose appeared, women avoided them for a long time.
In the middle of the 2000s, colorful tights came back for some time, and then, just like that, they disappeared — but not for long. Fashion magazines in 2021 are already talking about colorful tights making a comeback. Not only bright colors are appearing again, but interesting patterns as well.
Thin scarves are a popular accessory that women use. And even though they haven’t changed much in the past 100 years, they still deserve to be mentioned. In fact, the way scarves were worn has changed. For example, in the 1920s, women wore them on their heads with the ends appearing loose along the back.
In the middle of the previous century, women tied scarves under their chins, or, if the material was large enough, they would cross the ends and put them on the back. Upper-class women wore them like that. This allowed them to protect their hair during car rides.
In the 2000s, silk scarves were worn not only as accessories for the neck but they were also turned into tops. Some celebrities and designers still wear them like this today.
In 2021, it’s recommended to use scarves in hairstyles, like putting them into tails and braids. Of course, you can wear them the classic way, and you’ll still look great.
The first glasses that actually protected eyes from UV light appeared in 1913. In the 1920s, they became popular and movie stars were the first people to wear them. Sunglasses were advertised as something good both in summer and winter. They were round and remained like that throughout the ’30s.
Later, the shape and the color of sunglasses developed rapidly: in the ’60s, square-shaped glasses appeared; and in the ’70s, they featured big semi-transparent lenses. In the ’90s, trendy people wore narrow frames but got so tired of them that in the 2000s, people began to wear gigantic sunglasses.
It seemed that by 2020, designers would have nothing left to surprise us with. But boy, were we wrong. In one more recent fashion show in Paris, there were glasses that sported one giant lens. Perhaps we’re going to wear glasses like these very soon.
In the 1920s, when women could finally stop wearing corsets, they needed bras to replace them. The bras of those times were just rectangular pieces of fabric that looked a lot like the crop tops of today. Also, there were models with more fabric in the middle. In the 1950s, cone-shaped bras called “bullets” were invented.
In the 2000s, semi-transparent clothes were popular and so were push-up bras. The bras that are now popular in 2021 are reminiscent of the ones that existed at the beginning of the twentieth century. After all, the simpler, the better.
For a long time, suits were only worn by men, but in the 1930s, famous actresses, such as Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, and Katharine Houghton Hepburn started wearing them. The conservative society at the time didn’t approve of this style, but many women were tired of abiding by stereotypes, so they bought pantsuits to wear around town.
In the 1950s, fashion became more feminine and suits were worn only by very few people. In the 2 previous decades, women wore men’s suits, but in the 1950s, models for women became available. For example, Marilyn Monroe wore shorter pants in The Seven Year Itch. Since the 1960s, suits became more and more popular and were viewed as elegant outfits for the working woman, and in the ’80s, a lot of prominent business ladies wore suits.
Over the course of the first 2 decades of the twenty-first century, we saw a different style emerging. Wide pants and massive jackets replaced more fitted, elegant-looking suits.
Modern designers offer a lot of different types of pantsuits and colors. Marlene Dietrich would be delighted to see the variety if she were still around today.
Tell us about the fashion era you like best. Do you hope some of the trends from the past will return?