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Vintage Fashion and Clothing Styles › Articles

Discover fashion styles and vintage clothing from the 1700s through the past couple of decades that will inspire you, make you wish for those times again, or may make you ask "What were they thinking"?

Clothing styles have obviously changed dramatically over the years. Some fashion trends like tight corsets to create teeny tiny waists are mainly out of favor now, while other fads return decade after decade. Hats for daily wear were in favor for centuries - now, the fanciest hat for most men and women is a baseball cap. And not only do styles change: the amount of clothing that we wear has changed over the centuries!

Modern media has a lot to do with the speed with which fads change today. In past centuries, the style of clothing was bound by what you could make at home - what materials you could weave and how you could sew those materials into durable everyday clothing. Until the mass production of clothing - beginning in the mid 1800's - fashion for the common person was defined by your own creativity and what you saw your neighbors wear. Today, celebrities and manufacturers create the trends and our choice can be limitless - we can follow the fad or we can wear vintage.

Some of the most elegant clothing styles - especially for evening wear - evolved in the movie environment of the 1920's through 1940's. These clothes, or parts of them, still look "modern" and "stylish" and you can see versions on them on the red carpet today. The evening tuxedo for men has its roots as far back as the 1800's and women's evening dresses became the rage around the same time. But as usual, the evening dress has had more iterations than men's fashions - while evening dresses are usually long, plunging necklines and the level of "bling" has changed.

Daywear has enjoyed even more extreme change. Hemlines above the knee? Shocking in the early 1900's - de riguer in the 1970's. "Bling" during the day? A real lady didn't wear anything bright or eye-catching - other than her wedding ring - during the day in the early 20th century. Now, rhinestones and big fake jewelry are everywhere. Real fur? Out! Real bird feathers in your hat? Out! Big hats? Too much trouble! Layers of underclothing? Too cumbersome! Scratchy fabrics - thank goodness we don't have to wear the materials of the past. But some styles keep reappearing: Sweetheart necklines, turtlenecks, dresses (mini or maxi), capris, shorts . . . the iterations may change but the basics don't.

Enjoy some photos of the fashions of the past centuries - and perhaps you can become your own fashion guru with their inspiration!