Ladies’ Dresses Tailored for their Times
Women once wore dresses every day. Today, largely replaced by comfortable jeans, they are seen at elegant parties or worn as casual tunics. So how have dress fashions changed, and what drove the evolution of this feminine garment? Here is a timeline of the history of ladies’ dresses.
The Beginning of the 20th Century – Simple Form and Subdued Colour
Women’s fashion underwent a real metamorphosis at the turn of the 20th century. Long dresses richly ornamented gave way to classic, figure-hugging garments. Designs from the beginning of the century shunned uncomfortable corsets in favour of simple and loose cuts that allowed greater freedom of movement.
The 1930s: Freedom and Ease in Ladies’ Dresses
Two decades on from the debut of straight dresses, these garments stopped completely covering women’s bodies. The garments that remained classics had a distinctly marked neckline and revealed a little more of the back. The 1930s and 40s were also an age of fashion for girls. Chiffon dresses in the Hepburn style and the floral creations worn by Monroe spurred girls on to boast about their figures.
The Scissors Get to Work!
In the second half of the century, ladies’ dresses underwent a real revolution! The hippie movement of the 1960s liberated women, bringing them a lot of freedom. Short, striped and multi-coloured clothes reigned on the city streets, alarming mothers and enchanting gentlemen. The trend continued in the following decades to come, with the black dress, denim clothes and bright fabrics, all becoming shorter and shorter.
Ladies’ Dresses go to the Scrapyard
At the end of the 20th century, the designs for women’s dresses turned towards the classics. Straight-cut dresses, with shoulder straps with a high neckline – the petticoat dress – ruled the streets in the 90s. Unfortunately, it was also at this time that interest in this part of the wardrobe began to wane. Popular disco fashion persuaded women to wear a short black skirt or denim trousers rather than light dresses.
Casual Ladies’ Dresses
Unfortunately, wearing a dress is for many women an onerous duty rather than a conscious choice. Outfits for important events can be matched and embossed, patterned or uni-coloured. In addition to the formal ladies’ dresses, the sporty style recently gained in popularity. Casual, soft knitted sweatshirts, striped chemises and shirt dresses make a welcome appearance on the streets in spring and summer. Is this the beginning of a new revolution? Let’s hope ladies’ dresses will return to favour!