Women’s roles in society will always be an influence on their dressing styles. This has been clearly visible through the different eras. The last 100 years of fashion trace women’s roles beautifully. A society with its rigid expectations on the dos and don’ts for a lady would have been suffocating for us today, much like the tight corsets and elaborate details.
In 2013, The French government overturned a 200-year-old ban on women wearing trousers. The law was already archaic for decades and more of an amusing anecdote about our past. Women 100 years ago, wouldn’t have been amused! There’s a recorded case of poor Elizabeth Trondle of Brooklyn who was actually arrested in 1913, received a 3-year prison sentence for wearing men’s clothing. She was believed to be morally corrupt for the act! Can you imagine ??
At the turn of the century, in 1905, a typical summer afternoon dress in this picture, though exquisite to look at, and well suited to the social expectations would quite clearly limit a woman’s mobility!
In 1968, André Courrèges described the future of fashion: “Women have become liberated little by little through thought, work, and clothes. I cannot imagine that they will ever turn back. Perhaps they will continue to suffer occasionally to be beautiful, but more than ever they seek to be both beautiful and free“
Over the decades, world wars, women’s emancipation and many other events saw women’s fashion transform from elaborate details and voluminous looks to sleek silhouettes. As women stepped into professions that were previously men’s domains, they needed clothing styles that blended femininity with freedom of movement.
Today, Colors, outfits and individual personality, values, consciousness for our environment are facets coming together for a woman’s style. I’ve compiled and written this article to reflect on our journey, and it made me aware that fashion, even whether we choose to follow stereotypes or our individual style, is never about just our looks. There’s always more going on than meets the eye!!
I hope you enjoy reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Do comment and share your thoughts! It always makes it so much more fun for me!
BBC News, “Paris women finally allowed to wear trousers,” February 4, 2013.