Evolution of Women's Fashion Trends
  • Fashion is an ever-evolving concept. We learn so much through fashion—we learn about our personalities, the world around us, and other cultures when we engage critically with fashion.

Women’s fashion trends have changed significantly over the years as the women’s liberation movement and modern feminist ideas have taken hold. Today, women’s fashion trends can span the spectrums of culture, gender, and identity.

We are here to break down the evolution of women’s fashion trends, from corsets and flappers to festival wear and sundresses-–and everything in between.

A Turn of the Century

At the turn of the century, new ideas began to take hold. A push for women’s liberation and voting rights also led to a revolution in women’s style. Petticoats and corsets began to phase out as the Gibson Girl and Flapper styles of the 1910s and 1920s began to take hold.

This style emphasized shorter hems, looser clothes, and shorter haircuts. This was a new era for women, style, and the world as a whole. This era laid the foundation for things to come.

Mid-Century Modern

The move out of the flapper era and abruptly into the Depression era and wartime changed style significantly. Fashion became more conservative, silhouettes more feminine, and styles more demure.

This era saw the rise of big skirts, shirtdresses, and iconic styles that remain in style today. This classic feminine look is still popular in women’s clothing and can be modernized with contemporary elements.

Evolution of Women's Fashion Trends

Rise of the Flower Children

The 1960s saw a rise in counter-culture style with the hippies and flower children. This style was all about freedom from restriction and expressing yourself. Hippies bucked cultural norms and expectations for the genders.

Men and women wore clothing that crossed gender expectations and fashion leaned into DIY and homemade elements. Crocheted and knitted tops became a big part of this style and this can still be seen in clothing today.

Today, this style can be seen in bohemian festival wear and on runways.

Technological Boom In Women’s Fashion Trends

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a boom in computer technology. This led to new jobs, new experiences, and new styles. Women joined the workforce in a whole new way and workwear, work bags, and power suits became extremely important.

Fashion also became a lot less inhibited. Neon colors and metallics started to work their way into everyday wear. Short shorts and crop tops became acceptable. Freedom was felt in personal style, make-up, and hair. Embracing a more casual bohemian style became much more mainstream and everyday people were encouraged to let their hair down.

This era really ushered in the new era of contemporary fashion and all the freedom that came with it.

Grungy Progress

The 1990s were all about grunge and hip-hop fashion working their way into the mainstream sense of fashion. Ripped clothing, riot grrrl aesthetics, and gothic elements all became extremely popular. The 90s style still influences fashion greatly today. Hip-Hop-inspired streetwear also became extremely modernized and mainstream.

Styles that had been curated and perfected in urban communities burst onto the mainstream and changed the history of fashion forever. The 1990s style has remained a constant in our fashion consciousness since this decade. The 1990s shaped our modern-day clothing more than any other era.

A New Turn of the Century

The ushering in of the 2000s saw all of these elements coming together with futuristic elements inspired by the new era that was being ushered in. Pop icons like Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, and Hillary Duff all became ambassadors for the Y2K style that combined the free-spiritedness of the 1960s with modern futuristic patterns and colors.

This style is exemplified by accessories like butterfly clips and jelly shoes and colors like teal and baby pink. Accessories are extremely important in this style, making having a nice jewelry box imperative.

The Modern Look

Today, we are more connected than we ever have been before. We carry around phones that double as computers and connect us to so many other styles and ideas. We have the benefit of not having the restrictions that were on us in the past and can pull inspiration from any era of fashion.

The evolution of fashion is directly tied to the modernization of society and the liberation of women. Women can choose to dress as conservatively or free-spirited as they’d like to, and they can take cues from any era.

With the rise of TikTok and other social media, we are exposed daily to many different ‘micro-trends’. These ‘micro-trends’ represent a small off-shoot of a larger trend in fashion. This concept allows folks to dress in all sorts of new ways that inspire them. The evolution of women’s fashion trends has led to a plethora of options and inspirations for modern women.

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