Fashion in the 21st Century

Fashion in the 21st Century

Fashion has incredibly morphed through different eras of time to 21st century clothing and fashion. Have we ever thought about how much fashion has changed over the course of time? The way we choose clothing in the 21st century 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 21st century and has impacted the lives of many people in different ways.

Let’s look back from the fashion in the 21st cebtury: Before the 1960’s

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.

Woman in black corset holding her hair representing the 21st century fashion

Figure: A woman wearing corset. A corset is a tightly fitting undergarment which extends from below the chest to the hips. Source:

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.

What about the 1800’s, a foundation for the clothing in the 21st century?

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.

Pantalettes represents the fashion of mid 1800's which is the foundation of fashion in the 21st century.

Figure: Pantalettes. Source:

Pantalettes 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 to the twentieth century, moving close to the 21st century fashion!

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.

How Flappers of the Roaring Twenties Redefined Womanhood, a previous history of 21st century clothing.

Figure: Flappers dancing and enjoying themselves. Source:

Women started going 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.

21st century clothing

At this time of the twenty-first century, fashion has moved a few steps back. Clothing in the 21st century is quite amusing because designers are not only focusing on the next big thing but are also focusing on bringing the past into the future.

woman in mini skirt with leggings representing the 21st century fashion

Figure: A woman wearing mini skirt with leggings representing the 21st century clothing. Source:

Teenagers are still wearing miniskirts with leggings (skin tight multicolor tights) as a major style; worn underneath the skirt along with a dashing blouse.

Woman wearing jeans and t-shirts representing 21st century clothing

Figure: Woman wearing jeans and t-shirts. Source:

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.

21st century fashion designers

As you have come to know about 21st century fashion, you should also know some titbits about the 21st century fashion designers, the true catalysts who are bringing the changes.

Donatella Versace

Donatella Versace

Donatella Versace, a beacon light of 21st century fashion and clothing. Source:

She is the sister of Gianni Versace, the founder of the Italian fashion brand Versace. After Gianni’s murder in 1997, Donatella inherited the brand and took it the next level and now, she is the chief creative officer of the company. Some of her works include supporting Elton John’s AIDS Foundation. She is the first woman to win the GQ Designer of the Year award.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren, a popular face of this century's clothing industry

Ralph Lauren. Image source:

Born on October 14, 1939, Ralph Lauren has emerged as a fashion designer and businessman. He is the founder of the Ralph Lauren Corporation, a fashion brand named after himself, a global multibillion-dollar fashion enterprise.
At the beginning of his career, he was a salesman for a tie company. Then he went on to launch his own fashion lines and established himself as a popular name in the fashion industry within years. This American fashion designer is also well known for his humanitarian activities.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs. Source:

Time magazine placed his name as the one of the 100 most influential people in the world in

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani. Source:

Born on July 11, 1934 in Piacenza, Italy, Giorgio Armani’s signature style is relaxed yet luxurious ready-to-wear and elegant, intricately beaded evening wear.

Armani intended to become a doctor but left medical school to pursue a career in fashion.

Donna Karan

Donna Karan

Donna Karan, Source: Wikipedia

Karan began her career as an assistant designer with Anne Klein.
In 1988, Karan, recognizing the need for a more affordable fashion line, launched Donna Karan New York (DKNY) which is a women’s line.

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen, a British Fashion Designer.

Alexander McQueen, a British Fashion Designer. Source: Wikipedia.

Lee Alexander McQueen, born in 1969, a visionary artisan in the realm of fashion, left an indelible mark on the industry that still reverberates today. With a career that soared from humble beginnings to the pinnacles of haute couture, McQueen’s designs were an exquisite blend of dark romanticism and avant-garde innovation. His runway shows were legendary spectacles, each a mesmerizing journey into the depths of his creative mind. Tragically departing the world too soon in 2010, McQueen’s legacy as a daring couturier and fearless provocateur endures, inspiring generations of designers to push boundaries and challenge conventions.

Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld, who is an older man, wearing a black formal jacket, black gloves, a black tie, and black sunglasses, standing near a Fendi store.

Karl Lagerfeld. Source: Wikipedia

Karl Lagerfeld, a name that resonates through the glamorous corridors of fashion history, was a creative force unlike any other. With his signature high-collared white shirts, fingerless gloves, and iconic powdered ponytail, Lagerfeld stood as an indomitable figure at the helm of haute couture for decades. His genius knew no bounds, whether he was designing exquisite collections for Chanel, Fendi, or his own eponymous brand. Beyond the runway, Lagerfeld’s sharp wit and unmistakable style made him a legend whose influence forever shaped the fashion in the 21st century.


Sabera Momtaz,
Department of English Notre Dame University Bangladesh (NDUB)

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