Fashion In The Twenty First Century Cultural Studies Essay

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Fashion has launched full throttle, changing outrageously through different eras of time. Have you ever thought about how much fashion has changed over the course of time? Have you wondered why it has changed so dramatically? Or how fast it could change? Although the way we dress now is completely different, it all revolves around making fashion statements. Fashion in the twenty first century is made from all the changes in the nineteenth and twentieth century's and has impacted the lives of many people in different ways.

During the nineteenth century, the clothes that men and woman wore were not always what would have been preferred to be worn. Depending on the time of the day would depend on which outfit a lady would wear. For a casual morning look, worn only at home would be a dress made with a short neckline, long slick pattern and would cover the majority of any skin exposed. For an evening look, a long short sleeved dress with an open neckline and white gloves would be what was usually seen. Woman would have tailors hand design replicas of professionally designed clothing at an affordable price to fit the latest styles (19th; Fashion through the Ages from Overcoats to Petticoats13).

During the mid 1800's, all outfits worn by woman were consisted of different materials to complete a whole wardrobe. The ensemble that woman wore, composed of pantalettes, chemise, corset and a petticoat. Pantalettes were an article of clothing wore under everything else. Pantalettes were leg length under garments made from linen or silk, designed with tucks and flounces to give a layered look toward the feet. A chemise, pronounced as "shimmy", was the main one piece under garment worn over the pantalettes. A corset would be worn over the chemise; it is an article of clothing worn on the upper half of a woman, used to add lift to the bust area and to add shape to the waist and hips. The higher the waistline the better, a high waistline would draw attention away from the natural shape of the waistline. Due to how tightly a corset would be worn, caused health problems for some woman. The corset is pulled together so tightly that it would squeeze the inner organs of a woman's body together causing digestive problems and may cause issues with giving birth to a child; also it could even result in death. According to the weather outside and the season would determine whether or not a petticoat would be necessary to wear. Gloves and bonnets were always worn. Long beautiful hair with possible curls through it was often seen during the early 1800's (Fashion through the Ages from Overcoats to Petticoats14; 1900s; 19th;"Fashion through").

Through the 1850's to the1890's, new inventions had progressed. Synthetic dyes were invented to create a new variety of colors along with hoops that had come into effect, giving the new style of dress wear a way to be different. Hoops were a new style for woman to try and had become very popular. The thin steel wired dress made it fun for woman to look up to part. Having a new style approaching, the bodies of woman became odd. Due to the harsh bodily trauma caused by the corset most women developed an "S" shape body structure. The stomach would be pressed back and the breast would be pushed forward. Soon after the strange body change in a woman the corset was banned and officially out of style. Woman became more involved with activities around this time as well. Not being able to do much in a dress, more comfortable clothes were designed for woman; this included blouses and wide trousers. Also worn around this time were women's suits, which were a tailored jacket, a skirt and a blouse you could tuck into the skirt (Fashion Change; Fashion through the Ages from Overcoats to Petticoats15).

From the nineteenth century to the twentieth century fashion changed drastically, going from hoops, which was a large ensemble to more slender apparel. During the early twentieth century, corsets had come back in to action with a softer feel on a woman, making the "S" shape more relaxing. In the 1920's, women were known as a "flapper", overcoming a boyish look, due to the short haircuts; such as the "bob", short skirts, and straight dresses. Woman insisted on working and being more involved with sports during this time. Designers started to try out new hemlines, making them long in the back but shorter in the front. Waistlines were exceptionally low at this time, while hemlines were just below the knee ( Fashion through the Ages from Overcoats to Petticoats16-19;Pidduck).

Starting a new look during the 1930's to the 1960's was complicated. Due to WWII; shortage of fabric and materials made outfit choices simpler for woman to choose what to wear. A square shouldered jacket, pencil skirt, with an endearing blouse was an outfit seen everyday around this time. Fashion had took a turn by the 1960's, teenagers wanted to have a different style than their parents did. Designers Mary Quant and Barbara Hulanicki made geometric shaped clothes for young teens, which made it fun and interesting to get dressed every day. Miniskirts had expanded across the world for being known as America's high fashion. Miniskirts were long skirts cut just above the knees or possibly cut shorter. Dresses were cut to be slimming against the body and bell bottoms were a big hit in the 60's. Men and woman both wore bell bottoms with plat form shoes, due to having that outrageous disco fever. According to Perry Clement, During the 1960's woman would burn their bras and go bra less to fight for equal rights against men, this was also known as the "free love era". During the 1980's, sweaters and leather dresses were worn very tightly to show off body features, also seen on women around this time were halter tops with a shirt that could be tied in a knot to show off stomach features with bell bottom jeans. Throughout the rest of the 1900's, fashion had taken a spin. All the colors became loud and ravishing along with the change of fabrics and new cuts. The pattern schemes were extreme changing from classy to sassy. Hair styles became more advanced changing from long curly hair, to having layered hair, shorter hair or possibly even having up-do's done took affect during the 1900's (Clement; Fashion through the Ages from Overcoats to Petticoats 20-23;Pidduck; "Fashion through").

"Wear what is right for you, and put your own stamp on it". The way people dress these days can be influenced by how people dressed during the nineteenth and twentieth century's. Every outfit has different materials and accessories combined together to make on look, such as jeans, a stunning blouse, tennis shoes or flats, and accessories. Older fashion has made a fashion statement impacting the lives of everyone now. The way people dress now would not be the way it is if it was not for the nineteenth and twentieth century. The way clothes are cut, the different techniques on colors used, and how people physically wear clothes are all related to how people wore clothes then, due to the success made from fashion over the years (Roppatte 76; ).

During this time of the twenty first century, fashion has taken a few steps back. Designers are not only focusing on the next big thing but are also focusing on how to bring the past into the future. Miniskirts are still a major style worn now by teenagers with the added accessory of leggings; which are skin tight multicolored tights, worn underneath the skirt along with a daring blouse. Many women now, wear blue jeans and t-shirts for a more comfortable ensemble. For a night out on the town, V neck blouses with low rise jeans could possibly be worn or for a more elegant look, a long shear gown with matching gloves and high heels could also be seen. New millennium fashion is composed of the 60's, 70's and the 80's mixed together to make the 2000's a major fashion statement. If it was not for fashion designers dedication to making clothes throughout the past years, then many people would not be as involved with fashion as they are today (Roppatte 78).

Fashion is a small word, with many different characteristics. Unlike the nineteenth century, we now wear whatever we want whenever we want. The twentieth century changed the output on women by giving them the right to fight for what they wanted to wear. Looking back on fashion in the nineteenth and twentieth century's has impacted the lives of people every day. Fashion now from then has changed but yet it is still the same in many ways. Do not under estimate what goes out of style, what goes out will always come back.

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