Is Fashion A Tool For Self-Realization?

The standard clothing of girls and women was for centuries a dress and a skirt with blouse and within these clothing types the designs for special occasions and festive events were created.

The social constraints put on women lost their grip around 1910 in the Western World; women gained more independence and took up careers. Mass production of clothing developed fast and made fashion for women accessible, affordable and more variety was available. Prior to this, fashion was reserved for the rich and wealthy.

Being granted more rights and codetermination in society and public life, women realized the need to reflect their newly adapted role in the clothes they were wearing. Equipped with a growing self-esteem and the desire to dress up in styles that signal their distinct personalities, new fashion styles were needed.

Until 1920 skirts of women reached down to the ankles and in the era of the “Crazy Twenties” a sudden change took place. The first mile stone was reached, when women discovered the beauty of their legs and that these were worthwhile to show off. The result was that the hem of dresses and skirts started to fluctuate between ankles and knees.

Physical constraints such as corselets were removed and replaced with brassieres that flattened the bust. Focus on the waist completely disappeared, instead the hips were garnished with loose sitting belts, creating a curveless style. The “Boyish Look” turned into a female revolution, not only in the history of women’s fashion but the general role women played in society.

The first short hair style in women’s history, called “the bob”, was introduced and enthusiastically embraced by the female gender. For many it was a symbol of liberation from the traditional long hair, for others it was simply the fact that maintaining short hair is more convenient.

Ensembles of separate sweater and pleated skirt grew more popular by the day and suits dressed working women and girls. Participating in businesses and being part of the staff in offices, the suits were like a statement of the change that women were seeking a way to find their self-determined place in a world that was ruled by men. The fashionable straight cut style lasted a full decade and the liberation of traditional clothing proceeded with high speed in 1930.

In 1930 women replaced the straight cut fashion with a style that was more in line with their femininity. Graceful, slim lines and a natural waist enjoyed a growing popularity. Feminine shapes were again accepted and also emphasized. The length of skirts and dresses stayed for nearly a decade on mid-calf, to which we refer today as “Midi”. At the end of the 30ies the hem ended 6 inches below the knee where it stayed until the forties. Slightly padded shoulders gave a hint what would be trendy in the 40’s.

In “the forties” the attention for fashion had not as much space as many women wished for. Women had to replace the work force of men in factories and service industries because men went off to fight in World War 2. Women had to be mother and father to their children and kept the Nation functioning. They took on roles that were until then reserved for men only. The fashion then was held simple; the garments had to last a while. Nevertheless an appealing fashion could be showcased and the most eye-catching difference with past styles was the padded square shoulders, which are a kind of symbol for these years: a woman had to stand her ground and needed broader shoulders to carry the load. Skirts and dresses ended just above the knee and were tailored for a small waist. Most popular in this time was the suit composed of skirt and jacket.

Pants, reserved until then for the male gender only, turned also into a garment for women. Presented in a film by a female actress wearing a suit with pants and tie and looking breathtaking sexy, created the “Marlene Dietrich Look”. The pants reached up to the waist and were closed with a zipper on the side. Using a fly for women pants did not even cross the mind of designers; it was simply out of question. Anyway the success of the pants was certain; they conquered the hearts of women in the Western World by storm and are since then vast fashion items.

In 1947 the “New Look” caught the attention of women, replacing the “utility fashion look” of wartime. With the return of the men, femininity in fashion was back too. Women wanted to look pretty and desirable; therefore the feminine flair of the “New Look” created by Christian Dior was enthusiastically embraced. Rounded shoulders, accentuated bust lines and a clearly defined waist marked dresses, coats and suits. Half-circle, ruffled dresses and skirts, were extremely popular. Collections offered more versatile designs, from plaited skirts above the knee to dresses that ended just below the calves.

Created on the streets of America was the fashion of teenage girls. Bobby socks, knee length skirts and sports sweaters was at the end of the 40ies their favorite fashion. This was swiftly picked up by the fashion industry having discovered a new target group.

Teenagers had the feeling that they were very different than their parents. Rock and Roll, the film industry, television and magazines in the 50ies confirmed this feeling as all these trends were in most of the cases not understood by parents nor approved. The fashion industry gladly fulfilled the need of these teenagers to be different. Jeans, T-shirts, leather and denim jackets were introduced and teenage fashion took off. The more rights for own decision making was granted to the young people, the more variety and fashion styles could be found in malls and boutiques.

During the 50ies the way fashion was presented changed drastically. Collections did not last a decade but changed to two collections in one year. An array of clothes was available ranging from full circle, ruffled skirts, supported by starched petticoats to the very popular dirndl dress. The 50ies brought new and dashing patterns to choose from to women. Cotton skirts with a tropical landscape showing palm trees, beach and a sunset printed all around or the cute, slim fit, polka dots ¾ pants that emphasized a pretty figure. Creativity exploded in Paris, after a time of hunger and the fear not to survive the next day. Life was lived to the fullest in Western Europe and America.

Fashion accelerated in the 60ies. From a revival of the “Marlene Dietrich Look” to the introduction of the mini-skirt that celebrates its success up to today. Gypsy followed by the Hippie Look, meaning: girls were wearing see-through batiste Indian shirts with no bras and long skirts or velvet bell bottom pants with embroidered tops leaving their belly uncovered. Jeans had reached the status of evergreens and dressed from teenagers to daddies. Grown women could wear anything they wanted, be it a mini-skirt or ankle-length skirt, figure-hugging narrow skirts or a suit with a rainbow colored blouse, pretty much everything was in fashion.

A loop back to a more conservative style was tried in the mid 70ies. Convincing women to choose a mid-calf length skirt as the only available fashionable length above a mini skirt failed miserably. Women demanded both and the fashion industry provides since then both.

End 70ies children were finally heard and since then designers create also fashion for kids. Children are allowed to choose from a huge diversity of styles & trends and have a voice in how they are dressed and have a clear idea how they want to look.

Fashion is picking up social trends and mirrors the roles of groups within a society. It is an extension of people’s personalities and a tool to express self-realization. It seems that it also mirrors in how far these groups are allowed to express themselves freely in a creative, unhindered way.

Billy Horner, is a professional writer for the fashion industry. Permis

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Fashion Blogs Are Gaining Popularity

You will find all forms and shapes of fashion blogs as the internet is full of them. It can talk about the advantage of wearing skinny jeans over boyfriend jeans or how pink takes the place of black plus all the extras. As you go online, you will get your fill of the latest in fashion trends via fashion blogs.

Fashion As Part of Our Lives

There are people who say that they can live without fashion and this is not at all important to them. Giving it some thought, you don’t really have a choice because fashion has been a part of our being, ever since you can remember, influencing culture and society since it is brought about by factors surrounding us like the environment, weather and most of all, a person’s beliefs, values and experiences.

What Influences Fashion?

Certain periods in history that fashion has defined, involved discrimination among classes. This distinguished the royalty from non-royalty and restrictions on social dressing. During earlier times in Western Europe, the bourgeoisie were prevented by government regulations from wearing fine clothes, so as not to be identified as royalty. Since the dragon was an emperor’s symbol in China, non-royals were prohibited from wearing this. In World War II, American women’s skirts had restricted lengths because of a ration on fabrics. This just shows that fashion has a significant influence in people’s lives. It has been part of us, though we are not aware of it.

Knowing the Latest Trends Via Fashion Blogs

Present-day fashion-conscious individuals called fashionistas, have various ways of living with fashion. They check out the new trends via fashion blogs, not to be tagged as “in” or “cool” but to find out what people are wearing, nowadays. Fashion bloggers are updated, with regards to the latest trends and avoid those who go for super expensive items, suggesting chic but cheap fashion.

Popularity of Fashion Bloggers

Fashion bloggers are well-known since they used to be fashion outsiders but because of determination to gain an edge over what you may call the “snobs” of the fashion world, they have turned into admired insiders. They turn fashion world inside out with their straightforward opinions on the season’s collections, giving their honest views of the latest trends and ways on how these can be carried off by regular folks.

What Influences Fashion Blogging?

Also, they are blessed with innumerable talents, which influence their blogs. Some host fashion events while others design the displays of the world’s renowned fashion storefronts. Others shoot for fashion books while some model the ramp. Fashion blogging’s success makes advertising, among other major industries; want a share of the action. Since fashion bloggers have loyal women followers all over, they have turned into strong personalities, and every word they speak is taken seriously, just like that from the Bible. Retailers and advertisers are hopeful that their products will make it big.

Fashion blogs are, definitely, here to stay. As a

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