Women's fashion in every year from 1784–1970
July 27, 2017 9:11 PM   Subscribe

 
I guess 1928 was the most futuristic year!
posted by aubilenon at 9:29 PM on July 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Women in 1795 were like "remember 10 years ago, when we couldn't leave our rooms because our skirts didn't fit through the door?" And women in 1823 were like "remember 10 years ago, when we could breathe?"

Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that the 1940s are an under appreciated decade for fashion.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:42 PM on July 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


This was like looking at individual frames of stop-motion animation of a woman in a dress.

1784 - 1821: From kinda floofy to more streamlined.
1822 - 1850: Gettin' floofier.
1850 - 1866: BRACE FOR MAXIMUM FLOOF
1867 - 1874: Much less floofy, but with a shelf at the small of the back
1875 - 1882: OK, lose the shelf
1883 - 1887: What the hell, bring the shelf back
1888 - 1896: The Incredible Growing Shoulder Pads
1897 - 1910: Raise High The Waistline
1911 - 1929: How about we raise the hem slowly off the floor?
1930 - 1935: Nah, drop it again.
1936 - 1946: Wait bring it up again.
1947 - 1953: Add pleats, too.
1954 - 1957: You know what? Floof it again.
1958 - 1959: On second thought, no.
1960: Actually yes.
1961 - 1964: Yeah lose the floof. But bring the hem up.
1965 - 1969: Bring it up ever higher, until we have a tunic.
1970: BOOM, PANTS! There, we're done here.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:45 PM on July 27, 2017 [28 favorites]


In 1970, pants were invented, and Fashion came to an end.
posted by theodolite at 9:45 PM on July 27, 2017 [20 favorites]


The writer of the article surmises that the drawings stopped in 1970 because that's when photography made "fashion plates" irrelevant. Dude's obviously never seen a Butterick catalog.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:46 PM on July 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


I also enjoy the 1800-1811 era of ancient Greek statue cosplay.
posted by theodolite at 9:48 PM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]




Hoop skirts are probably the most ridiculous fashion trend ever. At least the weren't too heavy, but I can't imagine how the fashionable lady of 1865 peed.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:51 PM on July 27, 2017


Lucky for you, A&C, YouTube was invented.
posted by xyzzy at 9:55 PM on July 27, 2017 [12 favorites]


I guess 1928 was the most futuristic year!

1927 is also pretty futuristic in that you could wear it ninety years later and nobody would bat an eye.
posted by theodolite at 9:57 PM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Homegirl in 1809 seems fun.
posted by wreckingball at 10:02 PM on July 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


Miss 1809 is celebrating the fact that she has spent her entire adult life wearing reasonably comfortable clothes.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:04 PM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


I love how many of these styles come back around - like some of the dresses from the 1960s are pretty similar to the ones from the late 1700s-early 1800s but just shorter or with less material. Or the way the 1950s skirt volume is similar to the mid 1800s - there's got to be some kind of fascinating study out there about dress shape and cultural/moral/economic climate.

. . . .I always start out thinking about that kind of thing, and then what hits me is that, unless a person had someone to help them dress, what kind of absolute horror of existence it must have been to have ADD and have to remember/ get through dressing with all that material and underclothing - like hoops! - and other stuff like getting to the dressmaker to have the dress made or sewing it yourself or whatever else needs to be done - like in the Little House on the Prairie books when they talk about going through the latest Godey's Lady's Book to sew Mary some dresses for going back east. *shiver* I'm so glad that I can just throw on a bra, undies, t-shirt, and jeans every day and call it good. Maybe it was the same for them in terms of routine? Or maybe not - my goodness, just the buttons alone on some of those dresses! And then think of just *managing* all of that material as a wearer with ADHD! So maybe certain kinds of fashions just exhausted women with ADHD or other disorders. (Possible 1800s version of a modern web article: Anxiety, Hoop Skirts, and You: Self Care When You Can't Get Through a Doorway)
posted by barchan at 10:07 PM on July 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of these clothes were only possible if you had someone to help you get dressed. If you couldn't afford servants, I'm not sure you were wearing hoop skirts.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:13 PM on July 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'd love to see the return of Impossibly Tiny Umbrella as the must-have accessory, but really that pair of feather dusters from 1922 would be amazing to see come back.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:14 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of Alison Lurie's The Language of Clothes. Notice that the first period of fluffiness ends abruptly in 1793. The French Revolution made simpler, more egalitarian fashions popular. Lurie points out that the model was essentially children's clothes.
posted by zompist at 10:34 PM on July 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


I think a lot of these clothes were only possible if you had someone to help you get dressed. If you couldn't afford servants, I'm not sure you were wearing hoop skirts.

Oh no, servant girls would buy a hoopskirt as soon as they had saved enough wages. You could step into one by yourself. Then their mistresses would get pissed at them because the hoopskirt interfered with housework, and it would pop up at the back when they scrubbed the front steps, to the delight of local urchins:
Did our readers ever see a London housemaid cleaning the doorsteps of a London house? It is a most unedifying sight. As the poor girl kneels and stoops forward to whiten and clean the steps her crinoline goes up as her head goes down, and her person is exposed to the gaze of policemen and errand-boys, who are not slow to chaff her upon the size and shape of her legs. Can this be called dressing in good taste? Would it not be wiser to discard the crinoline altogether till the day's work is done, and the servants make themselves tidy for their tea and their evening recreation. In some families this is insisted on. But, on the other hand, it is complained against as an infringement upon the liberty of the subject, which is an unreasonable complaint, as the subject may go elsewhere if she dislikes to have her liberty so interfered with.
Routledge, 1875
posted by Hypatia at 11:02 PM on July 27, 2017 [19 favorites]


Lo, the floof would not be subdued.

Indeed, it couldn't be touched.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:25 PM on July 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


the hat in 1788 is my aesthetic forever

even the facial expression is 100% bitch plz
posted by poffin boffin at 11:30 PM on July 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


More proof that Edward Gorey was actually a time traveller from 1804
posted by not_on_display at 12:11 AM on July 28, 2017


1915: Thanks. It has pockets!
posted by bartleby at 12:52 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I love this!

It really captures the changing silhouettes and hairstyles very well (not to mention the styles of illustration). I don't think it really represents the changing colour palette very well, though. In most costume exhibits I've seen, there's a very noticeable difference between the earlier natural dyes and the later aniline dyes which came into fashion with mauve around 1860. In this montage, the section from 1875-1900 is surprisingly dull in colour.
posted by Azara at 1:27 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


The correlation with times of war:

1803–1815 Napoleonic Wars = less material
1914-1918 First World War = shorter lengths
1939-1945 Second World War = shorter lengths + less material

This fashion dictates kinda broke down in the 1970s when choice started to become a thing.
posted by Lanark at 3:16 AM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm not so sure "choice" was the thing so much as "governments stopped rationing to cover war materiel" was the thing.
posted by xyzzy at 3:48 AM on July 28, 2017


In the 1970s? There was no choice in fashion until governments stopped rationing in the 1970s?
posted by Segundus at 4:09 AM on July 28, 2017


Can I get that 1913 dress in every color, please. Is there a pattern out there similar? I'm going to be learning to sew this fall.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:35 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Shirtwaists are the least appealing dresses ever. Art Nouveau slim fit floorlength is my jam.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:39 AM on July 28, 2017


We live in a house built in 1869 and I'm consistently amazed that women of that time could navigate the narrow doorways and steep staircases while wearing those clothes.
posted by octothorpe at 5:05 AM on July 28, 2017


1784: Kinky is using a feather. Perverted is using the whole chicken.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:28 AM on July 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


*Wealthy western European women's fashion from 1784–1970.

I nitpick because I majored in costuming and it aggravated me that clothing from other cultures and classes were ignored. I was interested in what what working class and poor people wore in western Europe and that required a lot of digging. Of course they wore hand-me-downs and secondhand clothing, but I wanted to know more about hand knitting trends, working class stays and jumps, shoes, maternity wear, etc. Lower classes had fads of their own that weren't well documented because it wasn't seen as interesting or chic.
posted by Stonkle at 6:33 AM on July 28, 2017 [12 favorites]


In 1970, designers, along with manufacturers and retailers, introduced the midi-skirt, originally defined as anything hemmed below the knee or above the ankle. An intense marketing campaign was waged, in which retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman forced their salesgirls to wear the new-length skirt. Despite the effort, most women rejected the midi, refusing the dictates of fashion designers and retailers. Women organized into groups such as POOFF (Preservation of Our Femininity and Finances), FADD (Fight Against Dictating Designers), and GAMS (Girls Against More Skirt) to protest the new look and encourage others to not buy the midi.

Although longer skirts prevailed in the 1970s and shorter skirts in the 1980s, since the battle of the midi, the length of a women's skirt is no longer dictated by fashion designers but rather is a personal choice.
- Hemlines By Pamela A. Parmal
posted by Lanark at 6:38 AM on July 28, 2017


From the creator's original reddit post:
I find fashion history pretty interesting, and I have a lot of free time, so I tried to find illustrations of clothing people wore going as far back as possible and organizing them into a timeline. I figured I might as well post it here in case anyone else found it interesting.
1784 was about as far back as I could consistently find images for each year that were significantly different from year to year, and after 1970 fashion became a lot more diverse and harder to summarize in one picture, so I started/ ended it there.
It's all western fashion and tends towards stuff wealthier women would have worn, particularly pre-20th century. Most of the illustrations are from fashion plates, magazines, and sewing patterns from the year stated.
posted by bonehead at 6:43 AM on July 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


I guess 1928 was the most futuristic year!

Yeah, that one really popped out at me too.
posted by pangolin party at 7:03 AM on July 28, 2017


> Hoop skirts are probably the most ridiculous fashion trend ever. At least the weren't too heavy, but I can't imagine how the fashionable lady of 1865 peed.

It's much easier to pee in hoop skirts than more draped styles. Says someone who has worn a hoop skirt.
posted by desuetude at 7:12 AM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's much easier to pee in hoop skirts than more draped styles.

Sometimes I joke that a poofy ball gown would be my ideal fieldwork attire because of the ease of peeing in one. (If you're not using a toilet.)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:20 AM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I love this! Favorites are the Empire waist dresses from the early 1800s, 1920's fashions. Least favorite the hoop skirts, anything requiring a corset, and bustles (who wants a bigger butt?)Also do not like the 1950s look I remember from being a little girl then. No wonder styles changed in the 60s.
posted by mermayd at 8:34 AM on July 28, 2017


Related: here's how one Victorian artist imagined how people would dress in the future.

I assume that these were drawn in 1970, since it stops there. And the art style certainly fits.

That's always fascinated me – how you can tell when an illustration was drawn just from the style. Even without other era-specific cues (typography, color schemes, etc.), these could only have been drawn in 1970 (or in deliberate imitation of 1970-style illustrations). Seems that art (or at least commercial illustration) is as subject to fashion as clothing.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:22 AM on July 28, 2017


For the wealthiest women, putting on and taking off clothes was basically a critical part of their job (which was to be fertile accessories of their family/husband's family), so the tiny buttons/wigs/complexity was the point. "I am so rich I need six people to get me dressed and I kind of look like an alien being when they're done" is a powerful statement.

Until industrialization, your average non-wealthy woman had maybe a few changes of clothes that she made herself, with at most some kind of homemade stays, laces, trim or embroidery, but probably was a basic dress or blouse + skirt, and simple underthings. If you were sent back in time and given her clothes, you could probably dress like a 18th-century peasant woman without much difficulty.
posted by emjaybee at 9:42 AM on July 28, 2017


There was no choice in fashion until governments stopped rationing in the 1970s?
I guess I misunderstood. I thought the comment was pointing out that wartime fashion usually used fewer materials due to scarcity/necessity and all that seemed to go out the window due to women's lib or something. Which made no sense to me.
posted by xyzzy at 12:07 PM on July 28, 2017




Sewists may be interested in these sites:

Reconstructing History
Past Patterns

Other sites may turn up with a search for "historic patterns."
No, these aren't projects for beginners, but a good instructor can help you develop the skills you'll need.
posted by Weftage at 7:07 PM on July 28, 2017


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