FROM ROMANS TO MODERN HUMANS, EVERYONE HAS HAD A SENSE OF FASHION. DO YOU?
Fashion is a universal subject, a language spoken and understood by many. Decade after decade, new trends have introduced themselves.
Every day we chose clothes that go with our body, our ambitions, and with the trend. The clothes we wear can express who we are even to strangers, they can guess our moods, ideologies, and even how rich we are. Now, even though judging people based on their clothes may sometimes be a slippery slope, one has to agree that clothes play a huge role in the impressions we make. The same has been upheld throughout the history of clothing patterns across civilization.
The Romans were always known for their aristocratic ways and this was not limited to just literature and innovation. Their clothes clearly reflected their social status, sex, and wealth. Men predominantly wore short-sleeved or sleeveless, knee-length tunics while women wore a longer, usually sleeved tunic. For formal occasions, the men switched it up by wearing a TOGA, a semi-circular piece of cloth draped over their tunics. The toga is considered the 'National costume' of Rome as it signified the wearer was a citizen. The women wore a shawl called the palla over their head and a long dress called a stola. These garments gained global popularity as the Roman empire expanded.
The Anglo-Saxons that came after the Romans introduced belted tunics for both men and women. Women wore a shawl over their head and if they were rich, layers of dresses. The men's tunics were sewn up on the sides if they were wealthy and open from the hem to the waist if they were not. The color of their clothes also denoted how rich or poor they were based on the rarity of the dyes used.
The Norman Invasion led to clothes being slightly more close-fitting and elegant but there weren't any huge changes. By the start of the 14th century, women started to wear close-fitting gowns with long sleeves and a full skirt. Young men wore a tight-fitting hose, a form of clothing for the lower body, made of wool or linen that was worn under short tunics while older men wore sleeved full-length robes.
The Renaissance Period, which lasted from 1450 to 1650, brought a complete upheaval. The Monarchs heavily influenced the fashion sense, as the lower and middle classes sought to imitate the aristocrats. Many would say that Henry VIII, the Tudor king of England, was the most influential in the fashion realm with his rich furs, jewels, and accessories. He was described as the epitome of handsomeness and as a fashion icon. Merchants and traders who formed the middle class also tried to recreate these styles.
After the Renaissance until the Industrial Revolution, drastic changes were witnessed. Men donned buckled shoes, waistcoats, shirts, jackets, and trousers and the women wore gowns. The aristocrats wore these clothes and, again, everyone else tried to copy. Dressmakers and seamstresses to the royals had a lot of influence at that time.
The Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) evidenced a new form of fashion giving rise to knitted and woven fabrics by using machines and less labor-intensive processes that allowed the textile industry to flourish. The supply of cheap and high-quality clothing eases the lower class into the trend, which was confined to the rich and the middle class. This is when the personalization of clothes began and this led to 'modern fashion'.
From the middle of the 19th century, Paris was considered the fashion capital of the world. It dictated the trends across the world to a large extent. The house of worth was founded by Charles Frederick Worth, who designed the clothes of the ladies of the court and in doing so, his creation gained a reputation which in some sense could be called a 'FASHION BRAND'. The trend shifted to extravagantly decorated evening dresses and tailored day dresses with corsets that hugged a female body in regressive proportions. These dresses had so many layers and couldn't be put on without many hands, which made sense for aristocrats as they could afford to be dressed by their servants.
In the 20th century, the entertainment industry played a huge role in the establishment of this so-called 'modern fashion'. Celebrities took up the roles of the monarchs and aristocrats and the clothes they wore soon become the trend.
1910 saw the revolution against the tight, constricting corsets. The loose 'flapper' style took over as it was more practical for women to put on without any help. Orientalism with accessories like turbans, kaftans, and others was also considered a fad during this time.
This sense of fashion changed during the First World War as people had to live more conservatively due to a shortage of materials. Clothes become monochromatic and darker clothes become the norm.
The period between the first world war and the second world war is considered the 'golden age of fashion' as western countries started to develop and new customers started to enter the market, women started to join the workforce and began to gain independence. As a result, a more androgynous look began to emerge- a sporty flat-chested look, the no waist short skirts with the flapper style. Men also traded their formal attire for a more relaxed and youthful look with flannel trousers and short jackets. Even the tailcoats were replaced by shorter tuxedos. The Wall Street crash of 1929 affected 1930s fashion as everyone was hit by the recession, they started to dress conservatively. Girls wore trousers even though women wore dresses and ankle-length skirts, which can be interpreted as the re-emergence of feminine fashion.
After the second world war, cheap and mass-produced clothes drove the expensive handmade ones out. The growing economy made ready-to-wear fashion a huge hit among celebrities and common people. Most of the clothes in the market replicated what celebrities wore in their films so much so that it can be said that the film industry decided the tastes of the common man the fashion houses started to target the working middle class, independent women become a huge part of the market. There was also a huge variety in the market rebellious styles like punk ripped jeans and hippy clothes were also the fad. Jeans and tailored suits started to become a staple for households along with fashionable sportswear. The glamorous styles of the previous decades gave way to more simplistic styles in the 1900s.
The variety in 1900s fashion was inspired by subcultures. They came and become successful because they could offer a personalized choice to the consumer. In the current decade, fast fashion has become the norm with online shopping and seasonally changing trends. Mixing and matching and increasing equality allowed people to dress up however they wanted to. Enabling them to express themselves. This ideology seems to have a strong message among the youth today so it's highly probable that it's going to remain for a while. While the Fashion industry itself was holy and drastically morphed by the influence of European and Western countries. It can't be said that eastern countries didn't have unique and inspired clothing but they do seem to have had as much of a successful impact.