Fashion History – 1960’s to Present Day

In this article we shall go through the trends and styles that were apparent over the past five decades. Starting from 1960, we take a journey through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s then right up to the modern contemporary looks that we see each and every day.

So the swinging 1960’s begins with a lot of vibrancy and plenty of brightly coloured attire, think Austin Powers with his velvet suits and ruffle neck ties. Men’s clothing was primarily sports jackets, polyester suits and turtle neck sweaters. Shoe wise Chelsea boots and Cuban heels were in along with moccasins a few years after.

The decade of the seventies came by with an ‘anything goes’ kind of attitude. Men wearing pretty much whatever they wanted, it was the time of free spirit and fun. Men were actually adding platform shoes to their outfits, which coincided with the disco theme that was evident during this era.

Shortly after came the turn of the 1980’s and once again styles quickly changed. The power suit was the in thing, mainly the kinds seen on the guys in Miami Vice. Conservative looks were all the rage, along with the power suit came the sophisticated shoe style. Oxfords, brogues and loafers were everywhere. The late 80’s saw a drastic change and everyone was less formal about their clothing choices. Looser styles and casual looks were a lot more opted for among both men and women.

Moving on to the 1990’s, denim was around and there was a lot of it. From jeans to jackets, it was the fabric to be seen in. Men’s clothing was full of flannel shirts, leather jackets and aviator sunglasses. Laid back relaxed looks were the top trends with plenty of baggy styled pieces to go around. The 90’s also saw the beginning of the trainer revolution, as the latest sneakers became popular among young kids and teenagers.

The year 2000 up until the year 2010 has seen so many looks come and go that listing them would take up an entire decade in its self. The turn of the millennium saw a lot more people becoming more fashion conscious and choosing to dress how they wanted to rather than following fashions. Today it seems that the trend is to not follow trends and wear what you want to create a unique look. So it remains to be seen what we will be dressing like over the next ten years.

Fashion History – Clothing of the Middle Ages in Western Europe

The Middle Ages encompasses the time from the Fall of the Roman Empire in 400 CE until the beginning of the Renaissance, around 1500 CE.

Clothing of the Early Middle Ages, or Dark Ages, was basically a tunic and under tunic, both sewn from a cross shaped piece of fabric that was folded and hand stitched. Later, the tunic was cut in two pieces, then four piece for a better fit.

Peasants and serfs made their clothes at home of wool and hemp. The shearing, and cleaning of the wool; the spinning, and weaving was a long drawn out chore before the invention of the spinning wheel and the horizontal loom. But the garment were durable and long lasting. One garment could last a life time.

While the upper classes and aristocracy wore basically the same type of clothing, their under tunics were made of linen which was made for them by workers. Upper class women sewed tunics at home and some were made by professional tailors.

Due to the loss of trade that followed the end of the Roman Empire, trade was minimal, so the importation of fine fabrics was expensive and rare. But finer weaves, borders, and embellishments made for better clothing for the elite.

After the invention of the horizontal loom and spinning wheel, the manufacture of clothing became easier. These technological improvements made finer clothing more available and affordable. The Crusades introduced silk, damask, and other luxurious fabrics and designs into Europe. And when Marco Polo’s adventures heralded a new interest in the Far East, trade increased, creating greater availability of textiles, design ideas, and new patterned fabric to Europe.

Clothing worn by the nobility and merchants began to change, introducing the concept of fashion. While the Church dictated certain aspects of dress for modesty, such as veils for women, alterations in the in the types of fabrics used varied the styles that became popular. Women wore veils made of sheer muslin, interwoven with golden threads. Gowns became more ornate with variations in the neckline, sleeves, and hem lengths.

The establishment of guilds and improvements in the manufacture of clothing created an upwardly mobile middle class able to emulate the clothing styles of the upper class. New styles emerged including the elaborate head dresses of the later Middle Ages. The head dresses that looked like horns were wildly popular for a generation, as was the classic fairy tale princess style of hat called a hennin. A hennin was a tall, conical hat worn with a veil, a style much identified with the Middle Ages.

The later Middle Ages saw women’s gowns grow trains, and sleeves elongated so that long flaps reached the ground.

The changing of style and middle class interest in emulating the clothing styles of the elite created what we think of today as fashion.

4,000 Years of Pearl Fashion History in 5 Minutes

Have you ever looked at a pearl? No, I mean really held one up close to your eye and examined it in bright, natural lighting? If so, then you’ve been treated to one of mother nature’s most spectacular displays of brilliant light, lustre, color, shape and texture gloriously captured in an organic gem roughly the size of a humble pea.

It’s no wonder then that pearls have been highly valued and associated with classical elegance, romance and timeless beauty throughout the ages and among cultures spanning the globe. Here’s a brief snippet on pearls and their rise to the center stage of luxury and fashion:

Cleopatra the last Egyptian queen is said to have dissolved a single pearl in a glass of wine and drank it to prove that she could consume the wealth of an entire country in one meal.

Roman statues of goddesses including Venus were commonly decorated with magnificent pearl earrings and Caligula the Roman emperor wore pearl studded sandals and adorned his favorite horse with a pearl necklace.

Possibly the oldest pearl necklace in existence, an exquisite 3-stranded necklace with 216 pearls was discovered inside a queen’s tomb in the ancient Persian city, Susa, dating back to the 7th-9th century B.C. This masterpiece has been on display in the Louvre Museum for over 100 years.

Elizabeth the I of England was famously portrayed in a long, pearl-studded dress.

European royalty developed an insatiable demand for pearls and lavishly wore them as jewelry, in crowns, dangling from ropes and embroidered on clothes between the 17th and 19th century.

Jacque Cartier traded 2 pearl necklaces for his landmark store on New York’s famous Fifth Avenue in 1916.

Iconic figures such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Coco Chanel, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Louise Kelly epitomized modern beauty and glamor by wearing elegant pearl strands in the 1960’s.

Today, pearl jewelry is commonly featured on runways and in photo shoots by major fashion labels such as Dolce & Gabanna, Christian Dior, Oscar De La Renta and Georgio Armani.

Do you have any prized pearl jewelry pieces in your collection? What outfits or occasions accentuate them best for you?