People have always had the desire to look more beautiful and fashionable. Whatever their age, size or shape, people have followed fashion in order to look more attractive. In the 1800s, for example, American women in New York began to admire the fashions of Paris. In fact, French fashions were once so popular that American dressmakers used to change their names to French ones!
There were also many changes in fashion during the twentieth century.
In 1900, in western society, women were wearing dresses with full skirts which touched the ground. The dresses had tight waists and full sleeves. Women also wore big hats with feathers.
By 1910, skirts were shorter and narrower. The shoes, which were pointed, could be seen. Hats were wider than before and had flowers on them. At this time men were wearing bowler hats and coats down to the calf. The coats had large hip pockets.
Mass-produced, machine-made clothes appeared in the twenties. Skirts went up to the knee and dresses were straight with no waist. Hats were small and round. Men wore plain suits with wide trousers and bowler hats.
In the thirties, the hem-line dropped again -the skirt went down to the calf- and fox furs came into fashion.
The war years (1939-1945) saw another change in fashion. Skirts went up to the knees again and tailored styles with square shoulders were worn. This plain, rather masculine fashion clearly showed that people had more important things to think about than clothes.
After the war years, in 1947, Christian Dior produced the New Look. It was an immediate success. People were tired of the hard war years and loved the calf-length full skirts that made women look feminine again.