Fashion History: 1900-1920 Decades

Fashion Trends: 1900-1920 DECADES
Pursuing M.Sc. in Fabric and Apparel Science
Delhi University, India

The corset goes. Hemline shows legs, sometimes to the knees. The straight boy silhouette, complete with short hair, is the look. Flappers add beads and fringe to their new bare styles and head to the dance floor. The youthful population is swimming, cycling, exercising and playing tennis. The energetic lifestyle creates, a demand for sportswear. For the first time in decades, men get into the fashion game with expanding options including double breasted jackets and cuffed pants.

1900-1910 Women’s Fashion…..
  • S shape figure.
  • Still changing clothing several times each day.
  • Feather boas.
  • Hats with feather and fruits.
1900-1910 Men’s Fashion…
  • vests with high-collared starched suit.
  • ankle length pants.
  • knee socks held up by suspenders. 

Beginning of the EDWARDIAN-EPOCH…
  • The period between 1901-1910 is often called the Edwardian-era, after the queen Victoria’s successor, king Edward VII sophisticates and the French also refer to this time as la belle Époque or beautiful-age.
  • In retrospect, we can see it is an era very separate from the 20th century despite belonging at its start. The attitudes and the life style of two decades were swept away by war and because the war was so huge in its impact, a new socialism and sense of personal identity was born.
  • Changes include rising interest in socialism, attention to the plight of the poor and the status of women.
  • There were increased economic opportunities as a result of rapid industrialization.
  • These changes were to be hastened in the aftermath of the first world war. 

Fashionable Londoners in front of Harrods, 1909

1910-1920, Women’s Fashion…
  • Shape and silhouette constantly evolved.
  • More radical styles like the hobble skirt and the lampshades skirts each enjoyed their moment in the sun.
  • The Edwardians became more playful and innovative, taking an interest in asymmetrical draping techniques.
  • V necks were very popular.
  • Soft lace blouses.
  • Peg top dress for pregnant women.
  • Considerably less boning was used in bodices and now solely for supporting the shape as opposed to changing it.
  • Suits were fashionable for day wear and walking was eased due to a really big fashion happening- the skirt hem rose to the ankle.

Vintage Hats & Headgear Fashion from the 1910s-1920s


1910-1920’s MEN’S FASHION….
  • The fashionable man in the early 1910’s was seen wearing a one or three button cut away frock coat or the double breasted sack which is straight lined jacket.
  • Average width of pants leg was whopping 22 inches at the bottom. It was a dandy type of look, the cane was standard the collar was high (usually with a bow tie) , a bowler or some type of hat was worn.
  • A man’s hat in those days was meant to coordinate with this outfit. A top hat in 1900 went with the frock coat, the homburg was necessary for less formal day wear and the straw hat was popular with both men and women. 

  • During the early 1920s, waistlines were at the waist, but were loose and not fitted.
  • Women wore suits with long hemlines and somewhat full skirts, often with belts at the waist of the jackets. Dress and suit bodices alike were worn loose, even baggy.
  • By 1923, waistlines began to drop to a point between the natural waist and hips, while styles continued to be loose and baggy. In 1924 the waistline dropped to the hip.
  • In 1925, "shift" type dresses with no waistline emerged.
  • At the end of the decade, dresses were being worn with straight bodices and collars. Tucks at the bottom of the bodices were popular, as well as knife-pleated skirts with a hem approximately one inch below the knee.
  • In 1928, styles changed again! Hemlines rose to the knee and dresses became more fitted. These changes laid the foundation for the elegantly styled fashions of the 1930s. 

1920s FASHION 

  • The late 1920s saw the adoption of two-toned spectators for men, perfect with the popular knickers.
  • In the 20s, men were still in a conservative mood.
  • The wide trousers were still worn, sometimes as wide as 24 inches at the bottom!.
  • The knickers and 'plus fours' were popular with sporty types, and were buckled 4" below the knee (hence the name 'plus fours').
  • Light colors were favored in summer, but darker and animal fur was favored when the weather got cold.
  • By now all the college boys were wearing the popular raccoon coat, and some of the women were too.

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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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