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    In the 1920’s,society was primarily split into two sperate groups with vastly differingmorals and values. The group typically displayed in pop culture are themoderns. They greatly valued independence and were largely associated with thesignificant increase in city population in the 20’s. They preferred thefast-paced lifestyle and are often shown in works of the 20’s to fend forthemselves and doing whatever they can to achieve their dreams of becoming richand famous. On the opposite end, however, there are also antimoderns.

Antimodernist was a group of people who abhorred the modernist movement becauseof their more traditional beliefs. They typically lived on farms or in morerural areas and tended to value the past, preferring things to progress slowerin their society. Considering these two vastly different social groups, thefashions of the time were split into two completely distinctive styles. Themodernist fashion movement, which is well recognized by the iconic flapperdresses and head-pieces seen in media like The Great Gatsby or the MusicalChicago. These styles included short close fit skirts, beaded and featheredhead-pieces, drop-waist dresses, and cloche hats, all worn specifically tocontrast the 1900’s fashion – commonly worn by the antimodernists.

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This styleincluded long sleeve, ankle length, Basque or natural waisted, high collareddresses typically accessorized with large brimmed hats, covering virtuallyeverything but the hands and face. The modernist look was intentionally thepolar opposite of these fashions, intended to show independence and socialchange.     With the start ofThe Great Depression in the late 20’s, 30’s fashion was hit with brand-new,more frugal trends and factory-made garments. At this point, clothing could bemass produced for far less than made-to-order custom or home sewn garments.This introduced shift in trends from being set by individual sewing companiesto designs seen in home catalogs.

This, however, created a domino effectbecause these sale ads and catalogs featured artistically drawn women who werethree times as tall and thin as any real and healthy woman could ever be. Thiscaused puff sleeves, shoulder pads, full collars, and cap sleeves to beintroduced into patterns, to create exaggerated shoulders which would, incomparison, would make waists and hips to look smaller. Another type of dressthat was very in style were hooverette house dresses, made from affordable andwashable fabrics that were reversible.

This was also the time when women werefirst starting to wear pants in public, typically wide legged and with a doublesailor front, worn for a day at the beach or lounging at home.     Women’s clothes ofthe 1940s were typically modeled after the utility clothes produced during warrationing making the fashions a particular combination of traditionallymasculine and feminine. Women’s clothes began to take on the masculine,militant look with the invention of shoulder pads and the shortage of fabriccaused the Victory or Utility suits very popular. This allowed women to mix andmatch skirts, blouses, and jackets for a different outfit every day.  However, this era also brought along theiconic hourglass figure. Broad shoulders, a tiny waist, and full hips weredesirable and because most people aren’t naturally that shape, clothes weredesigned to help achieve the look. This was achieved through the paddedshoulders, nipped in high waist tops, and knee-length A-line skirts – evenpants, which were now becoming a mainstream fashion, were created with the intentto help attain this image. Unlike the decade before, women were now encouragedto sew their own clothing at home, in fact, they were frequently educated onhow to update older dresses to the latest fashions in order to conservematerial.

After WWII was over, the beginning of ’50’s fashion began to replacethe wartime utility fashions. This modern style embracedfemininity with modest, snug fitting tops, narrow high waistlines, roundedshoulders, and shin-length skirts. Once rationing had ended, a brand-newavailability of different and larger quantities of fabrics allowed a completelynew type of fashion to bloom. The most infamous look of the decade, forexample, were full circle skirts worn over several layers of fluffy petticoatsto add to the volume.

Intricate gatherings, pleats, and complex collars werealso newly fashionable. Tight pencil skirts were also beginning to become amovement, usually including a slit in the back to make it easier to walk andsit-down in. Dresses with these tight-fitting skirts were also starting totrend, bringing it back into style for casual wear for the first time since the20’s.


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