Trending in History: 30’s, 40’s, 50’s.

Have you ever heard that to figure out the future, you have to learn the past? Well the same applies to fashion! Trends tend to repeat themselves, maybe not in order, but those bell bottoms you once rocked might just come back into style. For our own good let’s hope pacifiers don’t come back into trend (yes! during the 90’s people sucked on colorful pacifiers supposedly to prevent teeth from grinding together when doing drugs like Ectasy, but pretty soon pacifiers appeared on rings and necklaces too. Weird!). Anyways, to become a total fashionista and an amazing trendsetter, you might just have to crack open the history books and get down to work. Or you could just keep reading for a fun description of the history of fashion….

Today we’re going to cover the early 1900’s. You’d be surprised how many pieces originated then that you can find in your everyday wardrobe!

The 30’s: Little Black Dress

CoCo Chanel in a Little Black Dress

I’m sure we all have a little black dress in our closet. One that flatters your body type, hiding your imperfections, showing off your best features, and one that gives you enough confidence to strut your stuff. And if you don’t, well what are you waiting for? That’s a great excuse to hit the mall! Anyways, did you ever wonder who started the LBD trend? Ever heard of Coco Chanel? Well, who am I kidding — if you have any interest in fashion, then you’re sure to have heard about her. She’s the founder of Chanel, that brand you always walk by in awe at Nordstrom. Besides her company, Coco Chanel leaves another legacy behind with the famous ‘little black dress.’ It came out in 1926, and to much surprise was not an instant hit. Black was generally reserved for clergy or people in mourning, so it took a little getting used to. The Great Depression came in the 30’s and people saw the beauty of it. They loved that little black dresses were cheap and could never go out of style. Today we see it is a great solution to a fashion emergency!

The 40’s: Menswear

Katherine Hepburn in Menswear

I’ve read places that Coco Channel also inspired this look, but a lot of credit goes to Katherine Hepburn. Thanks to her, you can find sleek trouser pants in a chic girl’s closet. When these were first seen, the usually very feminine fashion world was taken aback. Then it was realized that men’s clothing didn’t need to be just that.  Katherine Hepburn showed us it was possible to work loose trousers and shirts into fashion-forward outfits to be comfortable and cute at the same time! Slowly more and more men’s type of pants and shirts were being worked into a women’s wardrobe. This is when women started wearing pants and button up shirts. How is this look being worn now… well you see it in everyday life! For example, those khaki trousers you saw at Banana Republic, the button up shirt your mom wore to work, and that cute blazer you just bought. A spin off of that is ladies wearing ties as well, which is a new thing for this decade. How to make menswear a girly outfit?   Just mix in ruffly blouses, statement necklaces, heels, or cocktail rings.

The 50’s: Pencil Skirts

A Dior suit, featuring a pencil skirt.

Ever hear of a pencil skirt? I’m sure we all have, as this is a staple item in a woman’s wardrobe. For those of us who haven’t, it’s a sleek skirt that hugs in all the right places, flattering almost all body types. It’s supposed to elongate legs and flatter the hips — what more could you want from a skirt? Well, you can thank Christian Dior for this one. The french designer, also the founder of yet another famous brand, created this skirt intending for a look that all women can feel confident in. He famously popularized it through Jackie Kennedy, the very famous, especially for her style, First Lady. When Dior designed it, like most dresses and skirts in that time period,  the pencil skirt was long, sometimes past the knees. To fit with our modern world, the skirt has increasingly gotten shorter. The typical length now is just above the knees for a sexy  but business classy look. Walk into one of those high-rise office buildings, and you’ll find many wearing the ever so popular pencil skirt.

That’s all for today! Part 2 will be up next Friday with the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s biggest trends. Do you have any of these pieces in your wardrobe? Well, I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by CoCo Chanel.

Images: Intro, Little Black Dress, Menswear, Pencil Skirt,Quote. Pacifier info was from here. Rest was helped by here.

4 thoughts on “Trending in History: 30’s, 40’s, 50’s.

  1. Omgosh I’d totally forgotten about those disgusting pacifiers/dummies as accessories! They were hideous and garish, but now I remember them all over again… :-S

    Lol but I love the rest of the trends you’ve highlighted – all classy and elegant.

    • I know, I was shocked when I first read about it, because I was too young to remember anything… I bet people who wore them looked back and thought what was i thinking? Well I’m glad you liked the other trends, and hope you’ll look out for next week’s post!

  2. Pingback: Trending in History: 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, 90′s | # Bubbly

  3. Pingback: Demonstrative Speeches and Leopard Print « Teach in Style


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