An abandonment of consumptive chic of the past century and restrictive corset of yesteryear. The decade saw women unlace their corsets in favour of soft, fluid pieces of garments, characterised by a high waistline, as clothing conformed to the body.
Known affectionately as the Roaring ‘20s. Women began to move away from the kitchen and entered the workforce. The empowerment was reflected in the dress as it took on a sportier silhouette for ease of movement with a looser bustline that sought to be more functional and masculine.
Say goodbye to the good times of 1920s as women of the era of Great Depression embraced the ‘rougher’ look thanks to the revamp undertaken by the garment industry in response to the severe economic downturn. Cheaper materials were used and the results? Creases. They were not dreaded; they were embraced.
Shoulder pads? Checked. Knee-length A-line skirt? Checked. High waist? Checked. In short, this decade was all about creating the hour glass shape. The lower cost of mass producing zippers, compared to buttons, meant that more clothing began to have them sewn on.
Weary of World War II and the associated machismo, women’s fashion took on a new, antithetical direction towards ultra-femininity. 50s’ silhouette was defined by a clinched waist, longer skirt and wider hems. The use of synthetic fabrics became increasingly popular as the economy recovered from the war.
Popularly referred as the Swinging ‘60s, but the relaxation of social taboos wasn’t the only development. Lesser known but no less impactful, the ‘Youthquake’ shook the scene with its fun spirit. In came mod and psychedelic prints, mismatched patterns and (oh!) miniskirts.
The decade was all about personal freedom, selfidentity and unrestricted expression. The rule-of-thumb silhouette was tight at the top, loose at the bottom. Tie dye was all the rage. Patterns were bright and loud – Native American, floral, leopard, etc. T-shirts were fashionable enough as outerwear. Small leather shoulder bags were the go-to accessories.
The few words that sum up 1980s deftly: spandex, big hair and bright colours. Pop icons like Madonna led the way as MTV took over the airwaves and millions of women soon followed. Crew neck sweaters and athletic wear were popular as girls just to have fun.
A breakaway from the flashy looks of 1980s, minimalism swept the world. Clothing popular in the ‘90s such as boob tubes, sports bras, denim jumpsuits, slip dresses and handkerchief tops, all shared a single characteristic – sleeveless. For that, look no further than the Spice Girls.
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PHOTOGRAPHER XERXES @ AWESOME IMAGE STUDIO | STYLING NIGEL LEE | FASHION ASSISTANT JOYCE LIM | WORDS JUSTIN NG
MAKE-UP ARTIST ALVIN LOH | HAIR ARTIST CKAY LIOW | MODEL JANKA SCHMIDTOVA/ICON MODEL MANAGEMENT