A country. My first thought wasn’t, “Wow,

A few months ago, I got a new dress. It was short and dark pink, not something that I would usually wear, but it fit well, and wasn’t overly expensive. The dress worked well in a lot of different styles, but it seemed like it needed something. A couple weeks later, I was in my basement, just scrounging around, when I came across something magnificent. It was an old, green, jacket from my grandpa’s time serving the country. My first thought wasn’t, “Wow, my grandpa must have gone through a lot;” it was, “Wow, this would go great with my pink dress.” I never did pair the two up, but I did realize just how greatly the war has affected my fashion. The first world war contributed a great deal to the fashion industry at the time of the war, in both men’s and women’s clothing, and has shaped how people dress now. WWI, the first “modern” war brought the world into current times, including getting rid of restricting fashion trends, and allowing people to work better and feel more comfortable. The fashion before WWI was based on Edwardian fashion. This fashion, which began in the late 1890’s, and ended in 1914, at the beginning of World War I, was named after King Edward VII, who presided over the United Kingdom, the British Dominions, and India, and was a style icon at the time (Romanova 1). During this time, women’s fashion was restricting and uncomfortable, especially their corsets. The Edwardian-style corsets pushed back on the hips and digestive organs, as well as pushed the chest forward. The corset would also push, twist, and curve a woman’s spine, as well as deform and squeeze the form of the ribs inward, both resulting in women at the time being, on average, ten inches shorter than the female population today (Killgrove 1). This style corset, called the “Pigeon front,” was suffocating and overall dangerous to women’s health (McGlinchey 1). Women were also restricted in their physical movement by apparel such as the hobble skirt. This style skirt was designed in 1910 by Paul Poiret, and it clenched the knees together, making it increasingly more difficult for women to walk, sit, or move in general (McGlinchey 1). Men’s wear from the Edwardian Era of fashion showed off masculinity and respectability in its everyday wear. On most days before the war, men going to their jobs would wear a three-piece suit. Said suit would establish their class as the walked around or worked, and the detachable collars would present them as tidy and sophisticated. Their clothing was overall uncomfortable, and reduced movement, making work challenging. This troublesome fashion changed during the war and became much easier to work in, especially women’s apparel.Women’s fashion changed dramatically when the first World War began, as what they wore become more about utility, practicality, and self-expression. More women (when many men went off to fight in 1914), took the jobs of men into their own hands, where they had to dress more appropriately to work, and the fear of war carried over into their everyday clothes. Donna Klein states in her blog, Recollections, that. “women often needed to dress much like men to do the jobs that needed to be done.” For the first time, women began to wear pants while they worked, and at home for comfort and for sports, although, they weren’t very popular, as society’s views on women’s clothing prohibited the wearing of pants because they were too “masculine,” (Klein 1). A more socially accepted change in clothing was skirts being shortened. Because of the lack of proper materials and fabric, skirts started to become shorter, and they were easier to work in.  Skirts were also heavily influenced by modern Parisian fashion magazines and silent movies at the time, which would show off female actresses wearing shorter dresses and skirts. One occasion that this changed was weddings. Young women who would read magazines and watch films would want to be fashion forward on their wedding day, as any woman would, so a short skirt would frequently be seen. One notable wedding during the time was that of Charlie Chaplin and Mildred Harris (Weston 1). Another factor to the change in women’s clothing was fear of what could come. The physical war made it so that women’s clothing became more simple than the difficult corsets and body crushing clothes they wore before. The fear of air raids during both day and night made for more uncomplicated, comfortable clothing for day and night wear. In the day they would wear a simple, shapeless dress, which would be easy to put over the head to get on, and run in to find shelter, and at night, they would wear what was called a “slumber suit.” This “slumber suit” was the equivalent of the modern “onesie”, which is an overall easy to wear article of clothing, with a wide range of motions available (Adlington 1). Another way women began to express themselves was through the use of jewelery and makeup. Many working women could now afford to pay for makeup, so kohl eyeliner and mascara made their way in. Wealthy women, who were at the time also volunteering as nurses, bought many face creams, straying away from the dangerous face powders of the past, which were made of substances such as lead and mercury (Nursall 1). A notable look worn by many women, made popular by female celebrities at the time, was pale skin, heavy rouge, thin pencilled eyebrows, and bright red or pink lips. Many women during the war had a man in their lives who was off in a distant land during the war, and they expressed their love for that man through their choice of jewelry. Sweetheart jewelry, which often came in the form of a necklace or pin, became popular as a reminder of their husbands, brothers, fathers, or any man they loved who was experiencing war, and the women at that time cherished those relics with all their hearts (Wiggins 1). One example of sweetheart jewelry would be a heart-shaped locket,  with a picture of a husband in it, and on the side, the words, “Forget Me Not.”  Those men who had gone off the fight in the Great War experienced durable fashion, which carried over into fashion trends after the war. As Anja Reinthaler states in her blog,”Men’s clothes adapted to the environment of war,” and they adapted mostly through the means of men’s coats and head wear (Reinthaler 1). As many men were struggling to survive, fear and lack of time caused less men to crave a fancy, fashion-forward waistcoat, and instead lean towards coats that were more practical. This need for practicality lead to the design of the trench coat. The trench coat became popular first in the trenches of war because their khaki color camouflaged the soldiers, it was made of light fabric, which allowed for fluid movement when fighting, and was warm and resistant to copious different weather conditions (McRobbie 1). After the war, these coats become popular in the fashion world for both men and women at the time. Other casual coats and jackets men wore were becoming increasingly more loose, and gained larger pockets as a result of battle. Soldiers in battle could not risk wearing a coat that would restrict their movement, as they had to be agile in their movements. Their pockets got larger do soldiers during the war would keep what little food they had, alcohol, or a wallet with a picture of their loved ones in it. The trend remained after mainly because it was efficient and practical. These changes in menswear were followed by transitions in headwear. Most men during this time would wear a Flat “Messenger” Cap, a Bowler hat, or, during the summer, a “Boater.” Although the flat cap was not originally designed during the first world war, they hit their peak in popularity during World War I, and right after the war. Many working men during that time wore a hat, particularly messengers, which give it the name “Messenger Cap.” Quite a few men also wore what was called a bowler hat. This hat was designed by Thomas and William Bowlers, who were hatmakers in London. This short, sturdy hat was designed for gamekeepers, who found that the common top hat was bothersome when walking under branches. The Bowler Hat made it so that they would not hit their heads on overhead branches as often, and protect their heads when they did. This hat was most notably worn by the famous actor/comedian to grace the stage during and after the war, Charlie Chaplin. Besides the Messenger Cap and Bowler Hat, there was also the Boater Hat. This flat straw hat was typically worn during the summer by both men and women, for boating, picnicking, playing tennis, and other enjoyable summertime activities. For others, mainly young men in school, a boater became part of their uniform, so the hat was both loved and hated at the same time. Although this trend didn’t remain popular in the United States, the straw hat survived in countries such as Panama and Ecuador, where the Boater is an easy fix for getting the sun off one’s face, and each hat is handmade, coming in countless different shapes and sizes. The Boater is just one of the fashion trends from World War I that remained until the present time.Modern Fashion in the past few years has been heavily influenced by the changing fashion during the first World War. First, though it may not be seen in today’s youth, a high fashion item on the rise is the trench coat. In 2016, Eugénie Trochu and Manon Garrigues, journalists at Vogue gave examples of these military coats, such as a, “Corseted military coat at Prada Fall/Winter 2016-2017,” and a, “Belted jacket at Burberry Fall/Winter 2016-2017,” (Trochu, Garrigues 1). These classy coats, often paired with military boots, are just one example of how the first World War has affected fashion today. Another example is the color simply called “military green.” During WWI, Germany’s uniforms where a dark, desaturated green, which now shows up in modern times, especially in 2016 and 2017, and for all seasons. The trend started to achieve popularity in the spring of 2016, when Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang designed outfits for fashion month. Lim designed a full outfit in army green, and Wang paired a military green crop top with a slouching bomber jacket, which is another article of clothing from WWI (Garnsworthy 1). Bomber jackets were worn in planes during the war, mainly because the cockpit was open to the air, so the warm leather jackets would keep the sharpshooters of the U.S Army comfortable in the high altitudes (Banks 1). In the summer of 2017, Vogue writer Selene Oliva listed two designers and stores that followed this trend. She wrote, “Altuzarra proposes a moss green knee-length dress with a button-up side slit left unfastened and colored sandals.Mulberry suggests a military style suit,” (Oliva). In the Autumn of the same year during Tokyo fashion week, “the runway color of the season”, according to Andrew Shang, was military green (Shang). These fashion items from WWI have been around for almost 100 years, showing just how practical and fashionable the changes and trends at the time were. Throughout the many years after WWI, fashion has evolved, but in the end, it always comes back to the practical military fashion people during the war discovered. Some parts of military fashion will fall in and out of style, but overall, the styles, wearability, and practicality that come out of the war will remain unmoved by the changes in humanity. WWI, out of any     2wars, has most heavily influenced fashion for women and men during the Great War, as well as how people have dressed throughout all generations, especially now, in 2017.


I'm Mary!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out