Back in the days before the camera was king, fashions were portrayed to the masses through artfully illustrated drawings. Somebody has collected a series of these beautiful sketches, documenting the changes in western fashion all the way from 1784 to 1970, when the artform finally became obsolete.


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The timeline presents the predominent trend from each and every year, reflecting the social-economic conditions of what were sure to be the higher classes of society. Beginning with elaborate, puffy dresses with a hoop in the bottom to completely hide the legs, we slowly make our way through the 19th century where things had slimmed down considerably, before billowing out again, even bigger than before. The hat was a staple of women’s fashion all the way up to the 1950’s, where it gave way to shorter skirts and finally, pants.

While the art of fashion drawing has fallen out of the mainstream, there are some dedicated specialists that keep it alive. Scroll down to see these vintage illustrations for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments!

(h/t: My Modern Met)