How Fashion Has Changed Over The Years

How Fashion Has Changed Over The Years


One thing we can all agree on is that fashion continues to change as the years go on. Not only does it change, but it also seems to recycle itself. Bringing back past trends into the current years. For both men and women, fashion is related to our identity. What we wear, is who we are and how we express ourselves. 

In order for someone to understand current fashion trends, they must recognize past trends. Let's dive into some of the different clothing styles throughout the years, and see how we got to where we are today.

What was fashion like in the past?

In the past, fashion was often influenced by societal norms and cultural traditions. People used to dress more formally, with men wearing suits and women wearing dresses. Fashion trends were slower to change, and there was a greater emphasis on elegance and modesty.


The 1950s were a sign of economic growth to come after World War 2 came to an end. This soon led to a passion and growth for fashion for both men and women. Men would soon find wearing jeans, white t-shirts, and jackets to be cool. Among some of the other popular clothing items were blouses, round collars for women, and high-waisted pants and ties for men. One of the most significant items during the 50s, were hats. Whether it was men or women, you would always see hats being worn. Most women wore hats in purpose of hiding their hair. Men on the other hand, wore felt hats like you see in many old films. 

In the 50s, there were also many significant fashion designers that came about. Christian Dior nipped hourglass shapes which created a new era in women’s fashion. Designer Cue Hubert de Givenchy, whose designs were worn by the likes of Audrey Hepburn. Coco Chanel had also been creating clothing for years, but really became more recognized in the 50s for her 'Chanel Suit'. 

Here were some of the most popular fashion icons during this time: Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Sophia Loren, James Dean, Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelley.

1960s - 70s

This time really was a cultural shift for all of America. Especially during these years, people were heavily striving for individual freedoms and they would pursue this through; clothing, social norms, sexuality, education, and more.

The Hippie Movement

Following the ongoing conflict in Vietnam in the war, came the Hippie Movement. This led to popular "tye-dye" clothing. Women were also discouraged from wearing jeans at this time, and instead replaced them with mini skirts. 1967 in particular, were when turtleneck shirts became about. Bell-bottoms, fur coats, flower prints, were worn a lot as well. This was a time for freedom, good times, and power to the people. Women during this time also began to have more of a say and found strength in what they wore. 

In regards to the fashion world, clothes were almost always inspired by music and Hollywood films. Some big bands at the time were, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin, which lead fashion getting stuck in the hippie movement.

1980s - 90s

The 80s were a huge jump for technology in the world. This led to IBM's first ever computer being released to the public. Music was also taking off in an amazing direction due to having better equipment for mixing and mastering. Artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna, had a great influence on the public with what they wore. 

Heavy metal music and rock led to trends in wearing leather pants and jackets, shoulder pads, and jumpsuits. Women would begin to wear really dark eyeliner. Also bright-colored gym clothes also saw popularity during this time. 

The 1990s kind of settled down previous years of in your face clothing trends. Many people would just wear jeans and plain colored t-shirts with Converse shoes. Movements such as the grunge, rave scene, and hip hop spread all around the world, leading to influence in fashion. People also began to get a lot of more piercings and tattoos. Along with these trends, was the introduction to television and internet worldwide. A lot of people found influence in what they watched on television. The channel MTV with popular bands like Green Day and Nirvana, led to teens following their grunge look. 

Along with this, the nineties were also a time of experimental fashion. For example very long basketball shorts became a thing. These shorts would go past the knee, and almost every NBA player would wear them. This influenced athletes and people around the globe to purchase oversized athletic shorts to wear. 

2000s - Present Day

The decade started with a more futuristic appeal of Y2K fashion which was built around the new millennium. The 2000s saw a return of tracksuits, and a fad of skinny jeans. Almost any fashion trend during this time was influenced from the internet. With television, social media, and phones, people could keep up on these things almost instantly. Hipster cultured clothing has became significant due to the influence from many musicians during this time. 

As we enter current day fashion, a lot has changed but their are still many things we wear that were worn back in the day. Hippie clothing, tracksuits, jeans, dark clothing, and more. This goes to show how history really does repeat itself and even if it was done years ago, doesn't mean it can't happen again. With prices increasing in today's world, you may find it hard to purchase popular brands' clothing. Fear not because you can always look in thrift stores for discounts. 

Fashion continues to be the thing people look forward to each day. Seeing what athletes, actors, musicians are wearing, can subconsciously influence what we wear and buy. 

What does the future hold for fashion? 

The future of fashion is likely to be shaped by technology and sustainability. Virtual reality and augmented reality are expected to play a significant role in the way people shop for clothes. As time continues to progress so will people and the fashion industry. Who knows what new trends will be introduced but that's the fun part. Waiting and seeing what the future has in store for us. It will be no surprise if we continue to bring back old fashion trends into the new world. Regardless of whatever technology and new advances we have, people still want to hold on to some of the moments in the past. 

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