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Vintage Fashion and Clothing Styles from History

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!

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Eva Brandt - found in a house in Volga IA.
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Shared on Jun 18, 2013 by
Taken in Paris, Paris County, Île-de-France France in .
Rachel Frankensztejn Nationality: French (Jewish) Residence: Paris, France... more
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Shared on May 29, 2013 by
Taken at Churchley Photography, Portland, Multnomah County, OR .
James Winfred Copeland, son of Fred Copeland. Early 1900s?
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Shared on Jan 31, 2013 by
Taken on .
Mabel Lamb was born in Iowa Feb 9,1895 in Iowa. She was a daughter of... more
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Shared on Jan 24, 2013 by
Taken in United States of America .
This photo of a woman dressed as a carousel may have been a costume for... more
Shared on Oct 26, 2012 by
Taken at Hollywood Studio, Hollywood, CA USA in .
Famous silent film actress Theda Bara posing as Cleopatra in the 1917 film... more
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Shared on May 14, 2012 by
Taken at Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY USA .
Unknown photo of a fashionable couple enjoying a Kentucky Derby. Not sure... more
Shared on May 6, 2012 by
Taken in London, England United Kingdom in .
Edward Harrison Bell, conducting business in London, England in 1900.
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Shared on Feb 16, 2012 by
Taken in USA.
Portrait of Regina M. Goellz, age 13 years, taken in 1917.
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Shared on Feb 5, 2012 by
Taken in USA in .
Orville Wright, Katherine Wright (sister of Orville), and William Wright in... more
Shared on Nov 22, 2011 by
Taken in Chicago, IL USA in .
Stanley Kubrick took this photo for Look Magazine in 1949. A model is... more
Shared on Oct 28, 2011 by
Taken in New York, NY USA in .
Lithograph of hats designed in the Paris atelier of Madame Carlier in 1897.... more
Shared on Oct 28, 2011 by
Taken in Paris, France in .
Born in the Netherlands in 1876, Grietje Zelle reinvented herself as Mata... more
Shared on Oct 6, 2011 by
Taken at Folies Bergere, Paris, France in .
A postcard from around 1900 featuring a costume from the Folies Bergere in... more
Shared on Oct 6, 2011 by
Taken in United Kingdom in .
Edna Loftus was a British music hall actress who died penniless of TB. (An... more
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Shared on Oct 6, 2011 by
Taken in USA in .
This is just such a handsome family - not beautiful, just distinguished - in... more
Shared on Oct 4, 2011 by
Taken in TX in .
A photo of an Unknown woman (left) and Susan Elizabeth Evans Found in old... more
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Shared on Aug 15 by
We had an antique store close recently and I "rescued" it, trying to find... more
Shared on Aug 12 by
Taken in Reichenbach in Schlesien County.
So I found a bunch of Photos hidden in an Album, but they are not labeled.... more
Shared on Jul 6 by
So I found a bunch of Photos hidden in an Album, but they are not labeled.... more
Shared on Jul 6 by
Taken in .
This photo is in our family collection. I have no idea who they are.... more
Shared on Jul 3 by
I’ve “rescued” an old photograph of Aunt Jennie COVERDALLE or COVERDALE... more
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Shared on Jun 2 by
A photo of Mrs. Twig in 1860s England - dressed to the nines in her crinoline... more
Shared on Apr 11 by
Taken in .
A photo of Kate Chase in a crinoline, circa 1850
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A photo of a woman in a hoop skirt - what a way to define your space!
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A photo of a woman in a crinoline dress, somewhere between 1860 - 1880.
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Taken in .
A dramatic photo of crinoline fashion in 1898.
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A photo of a women - dressing with help - in a big crinoline.
Shared on Apr 11 by