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History Of Fashion Essay

1743 words - 7 pages

History of Fashion

Fashion is defined as a style of dress that is popular during a certain time or era (?Fashion?, 1). It often changes and reflects a persons? social class in old days. In modern times it reflects personality. Fads come and go as people find new and different things to like. Until the 20th century fashion changed very slowly. In the 20th century fashions change as quickly as lightning because of mass production and fast moving society. About every 10 years a totally new kind of dress is in style. Fashion is affected in many ways. Inventions and good economy bring many changes with it. Wars and bad economy bring plain fashion that stays for a while (?Fashion Through the Ages?, 1). Fashion often seems to go in a big loop repeating itself over and over again. Women?s fashion has changed and gone from fancy to simple and easy to wear. Here is a quick view of fashion from BC times to the future!

     In ancient times clothing was simple, based more on function than style. Men and women wore a big rectangular piece of wool six feet wide and about a foot and a half taller than the person. The wool was wrapped around the person and pinned on the shoulder with a broach. Fabric was mainly white or off-white, but never bright colored. In fact red was forbidden for commoners. Hair was mainly worn in braids or covered by fabric draped like a hood.

     With the spread of Christianity, clothing in medieval times became modest. Although the basic tunic style dress was still used, it became longer and sleeves were added. Heavier fabric was used and shoes replaced sandals. Increase in trade made for more extravagant fabrics and embellishments on clothing. Hair was worn down often with a jewel in it. The really wealthy and nobility experimented with extreme styles from vibrant color to hooked shoes to cone shaped hats in order to separate themselves from the middle class.

     Many changes came with the Renaissance period, with the rise of art fashion changed. Dresses became shorter and princess cut. Puffed sleeves, high collars and hoop skirts were the thing to wear. Slashing, or wearing two layers and cutting the outer layer was fashionable.

     Modesty came back with Elizabethan times. Queen Elizabeth had clothes covered every part of a persons body sleeves became tight instead of puffed and waist lines were straight. Gowns were worn by all social classes. They accentuated the persons? small waist and square shoulders. Hair went back up usually in Snoods or similar designs of hair nets.

      Modesty went out with the Cavalier style of the Baroque period. Although styles became simple with only buttons and lace for decorations, more skin was shown than ever. Necklines dropped dramatically, they were cut square and wide to accentuate the breast. Sleeves became full and draped softly below the elbow, revealing the lower arm for the first time since BC times. Waistlines heightened and satins and silk replace heavy stiff...

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