Fashion has changed incredibly through different eras of time. Have we ever thought about how much fashion has changed over the course of time? Have we ever searched why it has changed so enormously? Or how fast it could change? The way we dress now is completely different from the ancient times. This all revolves around making fashion statements. All the changes in the nineteenth and twentieth century are the reason behind the fashion in the twenty-first century and has impacted the lives of many people in different ways.
Before the 1960’s, long dresses, suits, hats and corsets were the main trend and fashion for the people of that time. But in the 1960’s the youth showed that they were powerful by changing the fashion trend to a much changed fashion environment which was known as the hippie clothing. The clothes of this century were much looser and dressing was in the form of a bit more revealing clothing, like mini-skirts. The clothes had a more casual look. There was the unisex look at the time of this century. The ragged jeans were also very popular.
During the mid 1800’s, all outfits worn by women consisted of different materials to complete a whole wardrobe. The dresses that woman wore, composed of pantalettes, chemise, corset and a petticoat. Pantalettes were long clothing worn under everything else. These were long underpants with a frill at the bottom of each leg made from linen or silk, designed with tucks and flounces to give a layered look toward the feet. A chemise was the main one piece undergarment worn over the pantalettes. A corset would be worn over the chemise; it is a tightly fitting undergarment which extends from below the chest to the hips. It is used to add lift to the bust area and to add shape to the waist and hips. This cloth was used to highlight the shape of the waist to draw attention away from the natural shape of the waist line. It caused health problems for some women due to tightness of the corset. The corset is pulled together so tightly that it would squeeze the inner organs of a woman’s body together causing digestive problems and may cause reproductive problems; also it could even result in death. According to the weather outside and the season would determine the necessity of wearing a petticoat. But gloves and bonnets were always worn in those days. During the early 1800’s, long beautiful hair with possible curls was often seen.
From the nineteenth century to the twentieth century fashion changed rapidly. In the 1990’s to 2000, there has been very beautiful clothes. In the beginning of the twentieth century, corsets returned again into action by breaking its bad name with a relaxing feel on women. In the 1920’s, the boyish look of women became a fashion. And women were known as “flappers” due to their short haircuts; like the “bob”, short skirts, and straight dresses. Women started goin outside for working and being more involved with sports during that time. Designers started to experiment with new hemlines by making them long in the back but shorter in the front.
Since the 20th century till now Jeans is counted as a fashionable dress code. However we have shifted from the former modes of fashion and clothings, we haven’t let them go. Instead we are getting back to them and fusing them with the latest trends.
At this time of the twenty-first century, fashion has moved a few steps back. Designers are not only focusing on the next big thing but are also focusing on bringing the past into the future. Teenagers are still wearing miniskirts with leggings (skin tight multicolor tights) as a major style; worn underneath the skirt along with a dashing blouse. Many women now wear jeans and t-shirts for more comfort. Even sarees are now seen to wear different new looks. The new millennium fashion is the remix of the 60’s, 70’s and the 80’s mixed together to make the 2000’s a major fashion statement.
Fashion, a small word, with so many different characteristics. We now wear whatever and whenever we want. This is fashion in today’s world. The twentieth century changed the outlook of women by giving them the right to fight for what they wished to wear. Fashion in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has impacted the normal lives of every people. Fashion has changed but still, it is the same in many ways. We should not underestimate ancient fashion or style because what goes out, wears out will always come back as future trends.
Department of English
Notre Dame University Bangladesh (NDUB)