Evolution of Women’s Fashion Trends 1800-1952.

Evolution of Women’s Fashion Trends 1800-1952.


This is an example of women’s dresses, predicted to be around the 1930’s. The first thing you may notice is that her dress is shorter around the ankles. In the 1800’s, women were not allowed to show their ankles or hands, or most of the neck because it was considered vulgar. In addition, the fashionable women’s look was an hourglass figure with a tiny waste. Tight lacing was also popular that actually trained the body to hold together so tight that the entire body structure inside and out is changed.

There were shortages of materials from WWI. But, after this time, great wealth came to the United States which started the Roaring Twenties known as the Jazz Age from 1920-1929. The Flapper Style was invented where it was a drop-waste style. Elaborate beading and sparkly headbands were common, with no sleeves.

Due to the shortage of supplies of the Unites States’ World War II, the impacts started as early as 1929, women had to give up fashion supplies. During the Great Depression, the metal of corsets were given up to use metal for war production. This gave 28,000 tons of metal to the war, which was enough to build two battleships. In addition, dresses had to be cut in order to give up more fabric.

In 1952, a corslet called “The Merry Widow” was created, named after an opera from 1905. Black elastic and yarn netting held up the corslet, with a zipper behind a velvet-backed hook-and-eye flange. Spiral wires were encased in the entire corslet.

Lana Turner, an American actress in the 1940’s gave her opinion on The Merry Widow, describing it anything but merry; “I am telling you, the merry widow was designed by a man. A woman would never do that to another woman”.

What do you think of the evolution of these fashion trends?


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