The History of Vintage Fashion

Published: 25th May 2011
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Fashion is generally influenced by the economic climate and social changes. Europe, specifically Paris, had been the center of fashion in the previous century. The whole world looked to the French for trends in clothing, and accessories. WWII changed all that. With Germany's occupation of Paris, so many fashion houses closed. Without Paris to take the lead fashion designers in the UK had to take it upon themselves to dictate fashion. As the war came into full swing rationing of everything was the decree. Even fashion came under government control. Even the yardage to be used for clothing was restricted.



The early 1940s style dresses was dictated by function and patriotism. Dark greens and khakis were the colors that dominated the fashion scene. Skirts got shorter, as did the jackets. The long flowing bias cut gowns of the thirties were relaced with shorted cocktail dresses. Women on the war workforce wore trousers. People took it upon themselves to spend as little as possible for clothing as a contribution to the wartime effort, and the idea of separates and coordinates came to be to make it appear that they have more clothing than there actually were.



After the war Paris took center stage again as the center of fashion. Haute couture was once again popular. In 1947 Christian Dior introduced the New Look. Gone were the shoulder pads and short skirts. Military themed outfits were history. Dior's design was statement of femininity with full skirt, below mid calf length, rounded shoulders, small waist and pointed bust.



The tailored, feminine look was the style through out the postwar period. Vintage style dresses had fitted bodice, peter pan collars or low necklines, and full skirts. Pencil skirts were paired with tailored fitted jackets with peplums in different designs (butterfly, bustle). Bolero jackets were worn to match low cut dresses. Ruffles decorated skirt hems, waists and necklines. Blouses had puffy sleeves and bows.



The mid 1950's ushered a whole new look with Balenciaga's introduction of the sack dress. This was a dress cut straight and fairly tight from the armhole, like a sack without a waist. The woman created her own waist by wearing a belt. Designs for 1950s style dresses were swayed by the new kinds of fabric innovated by the fabric industry. Wash and wear fabrics were preferred paving for more casual day dresses. The 1950s also gave birth to new consumers - teenagers. Because teenagers had become non-conformist, no longer interested in wearing the style worn by their parents the teenagers had a whole new line designed for them. Almost every teen and college co-eds wore skirts and sweaters. In the United Kingdom the so called Teddy Boys and Teddy Girls wore clothes influenced by the Edwardian period. Drainpipe trousers and long, drape jackets for the boys and masculine suits, that include drape jackets, shirts with high collars and black velvet ties for the girls. Sometimes the girls will even wear jeans. Teddy girls will also get up in coolie hats, headscarves, espadrilles, plastic earrings and up dos. In the US teenage girls' vintage style dresses are with short sleeves, buttons at the front, and empire cut waist.





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Devoted 2 Vintage - the home of Vintage Style Dresses. UK online vintage clothing store

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