The History of Fashion

By: Allison Knuf

Impact on America

Fashion in America has greatly been impacted by deeper elements like economy and labor system, to culture, religion, and class. Whether Americans have dressed to make a political statement or to assert their class status, every style has carried a certain social meaning. This is because our culture is based on a great significance of public image, causing fashion to change America drastically.

The 1950's

The 1950's was the beginning to one of the biggest economic booms in US history and sparked the start to the rise of consumerism. It showcased one's place in society more than ever before and became a way to express individuality and conformity. Since World War ll had just ended many men were coming home, so fashion industries focused on a look to "please" your man or a look to help women find a man. The fashion industry also emphasized a certain conformity people should look, certain shape, thin waist, defined hips. Women were told to wear butt pads, bras etc, the outfits defined who they were or what they did. Clothing was easily sorted for housework or lounging around the home, going out to run errands or conduct business, maternity wear, party-appropriate clothing for social gatherings, or, for women of a lower socio-economic station than the emerging middle class, work uniforms. It was all meant to impress the society.
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Late 1960's

The late 1960s were completely opposite than the 1950's. It was almost like all of this exoticness was bottled up until it couldn't be anymore. This time period was full of bright colors, tie-dye, long hair, beards, capes, and tunics. Baby boomer's were growing up wanting to prevail a style of their own. Women were starting to dress more masculine, not that they were any less feminine, but the style was extremely loose compared to what it was. This is the time the "Hippie Movement" sparked up, causing many women and men to change their style. It began an era of flared bottom pants, vibrant colors, more skin was shown, women weren't afraid to show their skin anymore.

The 1980's

The beginning of the 1980's was a turn from the 1970's, clothing started going more neutral, you would see a lot of browns, tans, and oranges. People liked to wear blocky shapes, and apparently the "cool" thing to do was to dress like a tennis player. Except as the 80's went on it all changed, people started wearing hoop earrings, bright colors once again, with teased hair and lots of makeup. Workout wear was also very fashionable, Nike became one of the oust profitable clothing companies during this time. Though overall the 1980s fashion had heavy emphasis on expensive dressing and fashion accessories. Women expressed an image of wealth and success through shiny costume jewelry like large earrings, pearl necklacesand clothing covered with sequins.

The early 1990's

The fashion in the early 1990's was the beginning of the adoption of tattoos, body piercings aside from ear piercing and to a lesser extent, other forms of body modification such as branding. This brought back the indifferent, anti-conformist approach to fashion, leading to the popular look of the casual chic; this included t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, and trainers, a trend which continued into the 2000s. Workout clothes were still popular, basically the 90's was more of a minimalist style. It also was a repeat of several other trendy decades all in one.