Sometimes you wonder: “How did women develop this sense of fashion and style?” “What is the inspiration behind this existing style?” The truth is: long before now, women have paid attention to what they do, and wear because it speaks highly of how they are seen, i.e., the social class they belonged to.
Fashion is more than dressing. It is a culture – a way of life that existed before the 21st century. It also varies from one country to another. Hence, you’d have to permit some disparities in the style that may exist during a time in one country and another.
So, what makes up a woman’s fashion and style?
Dresses: Most people think fashion is all about the dress you wear. While that is not entirely true, it contributes to the idea.
Jewelry: Women get so fond of adorning themselves with pieces of jewelry. It is an important accessory that also plays a role in describing a person’s style.
Shoes: Since dresses are considered a significant part of fashion and style trends, it is impossible not to add shoes to the list.
Below, you’d be looking at women’s top fashion trends and styles from 1920 to 2020.
1. 1920 – 1930
The 1920 clothing styles were unique. The popular two were Flapper Dress and Chemise.
Flapper Dress: One fashion trend that was quite popular from the early to mid-1920s was the Flapper Dress (la garconne). It was one of the highest styles at the time, and interestingly, it was named after Flapper, the woman who wore it first.
This dress had a beautiful style featuring a straight and loose silhouette. It gets better with a drop waist design just around the knee. The Flapper Dress was a unique day and evening wear. The daywear had an extra design, i.e., with sleeves and a cotton-made skirt, while the evening wear was enriched with embroideries. It was indeed a classy style at the time.
Chemise: A little further, i.e., between mid to late-1920s, there was another popular fashion trend called the Chemise. It was a perfect alternative for women who hated corsets. The Chemise was designed to be a perfect undergarment for the Flapper Dress that had loosely fitted silhouettes with hemlines.
Since it was a woman’s undergarment, it was made comfortable using materials like satin and silk. Furthermore, the Chemise was known to have a great shape even though it was a bit delicate. Later, it was redesigned to have ribbons and floral embroideries since it was the
2. 1930 – 1940
The early 1930s were filled with women being interested in sophisticated “boyish” looks and matching dresses. They had preferred any patterned dress (or those with florals), blouse and suits, or long gowns, and also thin eyebrows and defined lips and eyes. They were still transitioning from the 1920 fashion trends. Some of their outfits were incomplete without a pair of gloves or a flashy hat.
In the mid-1930s, women preferred high fashion wears consisting of padded shoulders, sleeve blouses, and bolero jackets. This style went perfectly with flared mid-calf skirts followed by extravagant accessories – solely for special occasions.
It was also when the Lady Levi’s 701 pants were launched, which became the best choice for women on farms.
In the late 1930s, there was a major change in women’s fashion as they went extra. During this time, women preferred black skirts and blouses with hats and fur coats. It was perfect daytime wear. For formal occasions, however, the style changed to strapless/long skin-tight dresses. These dresses were suitable with embroidered jackets.
3. 1940 – 1950
The early 1940s were still filled with women trying to look boyish, however, they embraced a more feminine side in the latter part. Most dresses and skirts were above knee level, with the shoulders oversized and then simple makeup.
In the mid-1940s, women created a different style that comprised an hourglass silhouette but with some boyish details, such as padded shoulders and high waist stops. It was the most preferred dress for daytime wear apart from suits. They also had blouses with floral prints designed with neutral colors and embraced pants as an alternative to skirts.
In the late 1950s, the skirts were made denser and wider but with thin waists for more comfort. It was the reintroduction of femininity back to society. In fact, some things changed about the shoulders – they became wider. Christian Dior was one of the notable designer names that affected this style at the time.
Regarding beauty, it was acceptable at the latter end of the decade. Women started plucking eyebrows and used long lashes with winged liners. They also had a thing for curly dark brown hair, and of course, more attention to their skin – a porcelain texture.
4. 1950 – 1960
From the past decade’s fashion, the 1950s showed full embracing of femininity is that. It was interesting and unique. Since it was a decade of technology development, women surely maintained elegance and energy while at work and at home with what they wore. The youths wore something functional and simple. The adults wore homely dresses.
One of the youth’s iconic fashion trends was the Greasers, an edgy-styled design. It comprised leather jackets made of denim material, thin-waisted skirts slightly below knew level, and greasy hair – ponytail.
There was also the Empire Cut Dress, fondly called the baby-doll style. This dress had a slim waist, making it possible to show a woman’s shape and curves. Tailored blouses and tunics with matching blazers were also great with the dress. Suit Pants were still also a thing but only on formal occasions.
For the shoes, it was more of thin-heeled strappy sandals or peep-toe shoes. By the end of the decade, the skirts became even more fitted and shorter. It went perfectly with kitten heels and flat boots. And at the time, the Audrey Hepburn style was also born. It consisted of Capri or cigarette pants with a jumper and flat boots.
5. 1960 – 1970
In 1960, the modern woman style had evolved. Young ladies started wearing more colorful, feminine dresses. It was quite youthful in style even though it came with several criticisms.
First, the lengths of skirts and dresses became shorter during this decade. Women were able to show a little bit of skin with their miniskirts in a different way that wouldn’t get them sexually objectified. Also, the short skirts didn’t go without the combination of colors – most of them had vibrant prints.
The mid-60s didn’t leave the older women out of the fashion trend. There was something similar with the introduction of pencil skirts and blazers for office work. Likewise, they had vibrant colors, sometimes matching their heels. One of the popular fashion designers at the time was Andre Courreges, who led women into a more simplistic and futuristic approach with clothes having white and silver metallic colors.
Knowing how much work has been put into clothing styles after different decades of fashion, the 1960s had no choice but to embrace a new approach to skincare and beauty. There were different experiments with makeup, including those with heavy eyeliners and lashes. The voluminous Pixie hairstyle was also quite popular during this decade.
6. 1970 – 1980
The trend of jumpsuits, wrap dresses, and maxi dresses started in the 1970s. It was one of the best moments for fashion enthusiasts because there were several stylish options available. It was all about personal preferences and not what society was dictating.
One of the popular decade styles was popping colorful jumpsuits that gave a disco theme. This style was perfect with boots and platform heels for casual occasions.
Another fashion style was the maxi dress – mostly skirts, combined with blouses with floral designs and maybe, vests. The interesting thing about maxi dresses was that they came in different colors – ranging from brown to yellow, green, and others. Maxi dresses were more accessory-friendly. It was easy to wear accessories like scarves, headbands, long and short necklaces, etc.
One other type of dress during this time was denim jeans. Even though denim existed long before the mid-70s, it was refashioned into something more appealing. The 70s jeans were designed to be v-shaped and mostly unbuttoned so that they are perfect with jumpsuits.
It was also during this time women went braless. If there was one thing the 1970s were known for regarding beauty and style, it was the longer lashes combined with afro hair as natural curls.
7. 1980 – 1990
The off-shoulder shirts actually came from this decade. With women being more expressive of themselves in different ways, the 80s was really a time of social change. It was also the time when stylish sportswear was produced using new materials.
Both youths and adults dictated the 80s fashion. People had money to purchase designer labels to look woke. Women had spent on ripped denim, acid wash jeans, and spandex, and Lycra. There were also the likes of wool sport coats, Hawaiian shirts, hand-knit sweaters, hoodies, flannel shirts, nylon jackets, and many others. There were also leggings.
Slowly, women in power positions started dressing even more classy with padded shoulders and huge accessories. The hair-dos were also quite huge. It was indeed the decade of “Power Dressing.” It was also during this time that Lady Diana and Prince Charles got married. Women got to be more expressive in meringue dresses and big hairstyles.
Some of the best shoe styles during this decade were colorful pimps, retro unisa espadrilles, and many others. One more fashion trend during this time was the use of stylish underwear. The women’s underwear was designed as camisole having built-in bras in different colors.
8. 1990 – 2000
There were three different fashion trends between 1990 and 2000.
First, it witnessed the cardigan jacket style taking the place of formal silhouettes. These jackets were designed to have curvy shoulders for comfort. It was perfect with wide-legged trousers. Alternatively, women wore slip-dresses with this jacket so that it brings out the body shape.
Secondly, women moved back to longer skirts. It was only ideal that they wore this for formal occasions, especially office work. There were also alternative suits too.
Thirdly, the casual part was more expressive, as the decade had more high waist jeans. These jeans were perfect with tucked-in shirts and oversized cardigans. Most women also embraced wearing their dresses with black opaque tights. For sports, white socks and trainers were often used.
Furthermore, the 90s featured other decades of fashion, as it modifies floral dresses, turtlenecks, and blouses. The popularity of Fendi and Prada bags spread during this decade. They were mostly the accessories at this time.
One other fashion trend that was quite popular was the Grunge Style. It comprised headbands, plaid shirts or oversized sweaters, grungy flannel, and ripped jeans. This style was fueled by Nirvana and Pearl Jam and every other 90s rebel.
9. 2000 – 2010
At the beginning of the 21st century, many things changed. One of the things that became better was women’s fashion. Some clothing styles had to be dropped in the last decade. Changes were made both in dressing and beauty.
Two of the popular decade styles were the lace-up and low-rise jeans. The two were iconic in that they were worn even in schools. Another dress that was quite popular during the time was jeans with bedazzled pockets. These jeans had no front pockets, so the best way to rock them was with the back pockets. These pockets were fashionably designed to be trendier.
The wide-legged yoga pants were also not left out in the fashion of this decade. They were really comfortable and easy to wear for grocery shopping and other casual occasions. The Von Dutch Trucker Hats and pumps were not left out in the statement. At a point, women started wearing all denim – pants and tops or jackets. It was rock-star style.
When it came to beauty, i.e., makeovers, this decade’s women had a flair for frosted lip gloss. The shimmery effect was always an attention-caller. Most women went about every day with the frosted lip gloss in their purse or back pocket.
10. 2010 – 2020
The most recent one is the 2010 fashion trends. Many things were quite popular during this period for women because society wasn’t necessarily dictating what to wear and whatnot. Women could wear whatever they like – whenever and wherever.
In the early to mid-2010s, one of the fashion styles that was revived was the Grunge Style. Women came back with more modified ripped denim jeans and jackets. There were also more flannels and printed t-shirts on the streets.
There were also statement sleeves that went through different stages and designs during this period – first from ham sleeves to trumpet and puffy sleeves. They’ve also been combined with various pieces of clothing like blouses, knitted sweaters, and crop tops.
Crop tops and Leather jackets are also part of what women wore in the 2010s. It was pretty classy and made most ladies be in vogue. Statement shoes also existed like the Jeffrey Campbell shoes, Timberlands, and Sneaker wedges.
Regarding beauty, numerous changes took place. First, women started using highlighters since it had a glow effect on social platforms – they even had their faces contoured. Next, bushy eyebrows and overlined lips became popular on Instagram. There were also more colorful hairs.
Going through the last ten decades of fashion, you can see how different styles have evolved. Women didn’t just start owning their style this century, they’ve dictated what they wanted over the last 60 decades or more. While each decade comes with a new style or trend or modification, it was always something to look forward to.
In the coming decades, it is expected that some of these fashion trends will be disused while others will be modified for more convenience and comfort. Remember, fashion isn’t all about what you wear but also your lifestyle.