Friday, July 19, 2024

Fashion Through Time

Our style defines us. What we wear tells a story of who we are. You know how they say first the impression is everything? That’s not necessarily true. However, first impressions are crucial. They can make or break you in many situations. In a job interview, first Dates or a Rishta, how you dress can be a deal-breaker. We are, however, going to look at it in terms of cultures and societies rather than individuals. Trends tend to come in waves and leave in a wave as well. We will try and figure out why they start and why they leave, making room for new ones. It may seem as though it’s just harmless fun and people are just exploring their looks, but that’s not always the case. We will pick some looks from across history and discuss why they were adopted and how they made it into mainstream fashion.

These did not start as an everyday fashion accessory as they are today. Up until WWII, the world used pocket watches which were considered quite stylish and fashionable. But during the war, the military needed a more convenient and efficient way to sync time for tactical reasons. Taking out watches from their pockets attached to their waist through a chain was less than ideal. That’s where the idea of a watch that could be worn on your wrist was born. At first, it was only for the military, which was considered not valid for daily life. In those days, the elite and wealthy adopted that style because it was only available for those who could pay good money for this new ingenuity. There on, pocket watches started to become as obsolete as the cool kids who own iPhones think wrist watches are today.

High Heels:
Wouldn’t you believe that men started this fashion trend FOR men. This trend dates back to the sixteenth century. Men of high status wore Hight heels to show their stature and higher demeanor over other men and women. They also used it for more practical reasons like locking in the stirrups on a horse when riding or protecting the bottom of their clothing during butcher work or other such gritty work as janitorial services etc.

The first woman to wear heels was trying to enter a man’s world on men’s terms by dressing like them, hence not being intimidated by them. Catherine de’ Medic, the Queen of France, wore them to a wedding; she did not want to appear shorter than the rest of her counterparts, who were all men.



Plaid Everything:
Plaid has always been in style, but some eras of time saw more of it than others and some countries saw more plaid spread out through their history more than others. We saw plaid in a big way in the 1960s, and then again in the 1990s, we saw grunge bring back plaid like never before. Plaid is a symbol of unity. It has its roots in Scottish heritage. We won’t go into detail here, but it has been banned in Scotland, and Britain has tried to control its message because, through the use of clothing and how it was worn, people enforced that they were unified in who they were and how they wanted to live. If we go back in history, namely the 60s and the 90s, this was a time when people were trying to find themselves. The 60s were all about fighting against war and against alienating anyone the government thought was the other. Grunge in the 90s was about exploring the different parts of oneself and accepting oneself as a whole. In those days, we were not connected to one another. We were broken as a society, as individuals. Not that we are any better now, but that was when we were open about our search. Those generations were welcoming the coming changes with open arms. The patterns of the plaid were getting set to come together.

The Bloomer Dress:
Also called the freedom dress, this changed the way fashion was looked at in the coming ages. This was not your average corset-laced dress that was worn by women everywhere. This was more breathable, less restricted, less form-fitted clothing for women. Before 1851 there was no concept of women wearing clothing that was created for them to wear for their comfort. They were supposed to wear a certain type of clothing because that’s how it was done. They were not supposed to do every job; hence they were not supposed to be ready for it, neither were their clothes. The freedom Dress changed all of that. This gave women the ability to move freely in every way, no matter what they were doing. This was one of the many gifts from the pioneers of the women’s suffrage movement.



They don’t seem like a big deal. It’s just pants. Would you believe it if I told you that women were not allowed to wear them well into the 20th century? It was considered an act of rebellion and not proper attire for the workplace and formal events. The attitude has changed since then, but this was a revolutionary act that changed with the suffrage movement and brave women who came before us.









Bright and colorful clothing for men:
There was a time when men only wore solid dull colors. It wasn’t manly to wear anything bright and colorful. I’m sure you know all about boy colors and girl colors. Everyone grows up with that notion. However, things are starting to change. We are beginning to see men in brighter colors, not just more brilliant colors but even prints. The first place to ever bring that change was again the 60s. In the love era where everyone was trying to be the same, and love was everything. Then we saw a decline in that in the 80s and 90s. We went back to wanting “normalcy” because we thought we didn’t want our men and women to be the same. It’s not about being the same, though. It’s about knowing that clothing doesn’t define you as masculine or feminine. Men are realizing that they are still men no matter what colors they wear. What makes them strong is not the colors, it’s the strength of their character and we are here for it.

This should be cut and dry. Women wanted to go to the beach in the west. The world was changing, wearing less clothing was becoming more acceptable hence bikinis were born. Nope, this is not how it happened. During the depression in the 1930’s America, rations were low. There wasn’t enough fabric. If you haven’t heard of this story, then let me tell you that rice and flour makers had started making colorful bags so women and girls could recycle those into dresses.

Sometimes all they could fashion them into was a bikini. That’s how a less covered clothing option and beachwear was born and became more and more acceptable.



There you have it. We say that necessity is the mother of invention, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that invention is the mother of fashion.

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Category: Lifestyle

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