The global apparel market is worth $3 trillion. Fashion trends are one of the biggest factors of fashion and apparel global dominance.
Fashion trends also evolve and change each decade.
Let’s go through a recap, starting with the ’40s, and take a look at fashion through the decades.
The 1940s made a huge impact on fashion, especially for women. Thousands of men were drafted into WWII. This caused more job opportunities for women, including women of color.
However, women couldn’t wear dresses and other feminine garments for some of these positions such as factory jobs.
Fashion brands began making boiler suits specifically for the female body and other professional attire became more trendy, especially among African-American women.
Women in Europe were dressing differently. WWII caused distraught throughout many countries. People couldn’t afford to wear nice clothing so clothing was simple and nice items such as fine jewels were avoided.
However, don’t think women lost their femininity in the fashion world.
Major brands such as Christian Dior still dominated the market and the quintessential “hourglass figure” became a staple. Women often wore layered skirts and dresses with a tight waist to accentuate their curves.
After WWII, even more changed. Men came home from the war and more children were born in the post-WWII baby boomer era. Women ditched their jobs and fashion trends became even more strict.
The standard for women was to stay at home but still look stylish. Women were opting for the simple outfits and accessories that still look exquisite. Pearls were a simple yet elegant piece that matched with every outfit.
Christian Dior continued to influence fashion, especially in Europe. Dresses with a nipped waist and full skirts flooded women’s fashion.
You’ll also see the “Peter Pan” collar in many 50s dresses. This collar was flat with rounded edges. This collar premiered during the production of Peter and Wendy and it stuck with this decade’s style.
The glitz and glamour of Hollywood also impacted fashion in the 50s. Men and women in both America and Europe copied Hollywood trends. Men wore leather jackets to imitate actors such as James Dean.
Jacqueline Kennedy, also known as Jackie O, was a style icon during her husband’s presidency. One of her trademarks was the pillbox hat. It’s a flat hat with straight sides and no brim.
The babydoll dress also became iconic.
Supermodel Twiggy reigned during this era; the world fell in love with the straight-up-and-down skinny female figure and forgot about feminine curves. The babydoll dress was comfortable but was short enough to show off long legs.
While racial discrimination was still an issue during this period, the African-American community was fighting back by embracing their heritage. This is the period when we saw more traditional African prints.
The European fashion scene also flourished during this period. Designers such as Chanel and YSL emerged. Their clothing was muted and neutral but with exquisite garments.
We say hello to the hippie and bohemian movement! Bell bottom jeans made their debut during this time.
The platform heel was also popular. Many people wore these shoes and jeans to the disco because they were stylish and comfortable enough for hours of dancing.
The disco trend was the precursor to many hip hop trends we will see in the future.
Something opposite was occurring in Europe. Instead of flared pants, women wore tights. Instead of platform heels, women wore tall boots. That’s because the chic and feminine look reigned during this time.
The 1980s ditched rock n’ roll and opened up the doors to heavy metal. Both men and women looked tough in leather jackets.
The feminist movement also encouraged more women to enter the workplace. The pants-suit with shoulder pads also became an icon during this time.
High-fashion designers continued to reign in Europe during the 80s.
Designers were preparing for the trends that occurred in the 90s so Europe was ahead of the time in terms of fashion, sporting mega brands Calvin Klein, DKNY, and Ralph Lauren.
Entertainment such as TV shows prevailed during this time. The show Baywatch encouraged more women to strut their figures in a V-hip swimsuit.
The 90s also ditched heavy metal music and grunge reigned, causing both men and women to wear plaid shirts and pants.
While grunge was popular, hip hop reached an all-time high in terms of popularity. We see many instances of hip hop culture in fashion such as bright colors, baggy pants, and basketball sneakers.
Pop-punk music was also making its debut and teenagers in America and Europe sported these trends, such as baggy jeans, skateboarding sneakers, and bright colors.
With more education about obesity, more people were becoming passionate about health and fitness. The 2000s caused the rise of the activewear movement — wearing tracksuits and other fitness clothing in and out of the gym.
Trucker hats, a common brimmed hat worn by blue-collar workers, also became popular thanks to the A-list decade celebrity Paris Hilton.
Low-rise jeans dominated women’s fashion in both America and Europe as well as long shirts and tank tops. Retro style was also making a comeback, specifically 40s and 50s fashion.
Now we enter this decade! With social media booming, anywhere can become a celebrity or a style icon. These influencers take their threads to the street and pose for their Instagram account, a movement that’s now known as streetwear.
Streetwear is a casual dress with plenty of flair. One of the aspects of streetwear is sneakers. Brands such as Nike are reigning in the sneaker department, releasing limited-edition and expensive kicks for both men and women.
European fashion is more chic. Women sport dresses and other preppy clothes instead of American sportsy clothes. However, leggings, jumpsuits and rompers reign in American and European women’s fashion.
Fashion Through the Decades: What Does the Future Hold?
Fashion through the decades always changes. Hopefully, you enjoyed this blast from the past and explored previous decade style trends. Now, what does the future hold for fashion? We’ll have to wait and see!
Do you want to know about current fashion trends and other topics? Continue reading our fashion section!