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Here’s How Small Changes In Women’s Fashion From 1784 To 1970 Ended Up Creating A Big Difference
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History4 years ago

Here’s How Small Changes In Women’s Fashion From 1784 To 1970 Ended Up Creating A Big Difference

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

The history timeline presents the trendy clothes from each and every year, reflecting the social-economic conditions of what was 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 vintage fashion all the way up to the 1950s, where it gave way to shorter skirts and finally, pants.

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

(h/t: My Modern Met)

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April Simnel
Community Member
4 years ago

I'm sure women in the 1700s were happy they didn't have to be all trussed up, complete with neck ruffs, like their great-grandmothers in the 1640s. I've seen some of those videos on what went into getting dressed in those days, and crinoline came in the mid 1800s. The 1700s gowns were of two or three pieces. Underneath the skirt was stuffed hip pads/rolls tied on at the waist, then a tie on overskirt for the layered effect, and a jacket went on top of the corset that was buttoned on. Under all this was a long linen chemise, and silk stockings tied at the knees with a bit of ribbon. No bras, no knickers. Overall, much lighter-weight outfits than we'd imagine from watching movies. The Victorians were the disaster, what with massive steel hoops and whalebone-ribbed corsets AND crinolines covered with horsehair, AND then combined with huge bustles in the 1870s and 80s AND so. much. fabric! How did all the women not catch on fire? Give me Regency dresses any day. So comfy-looking!

Aunt Messy
Community Member
4 years ago

Have you ever been laced into a real, serious corset? I've tried it. Those ladies were a LONG way from comfortable, and those dresses weighed a ton. Not to mention the smell. Some of those ladies went literally years without bathing...and bragged about it. Apparently even Queen Victoria had body odour that could knock down a horse!

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Night Owl
Community Member
4 years ago

And every new generation hated the fashion of the previous one.

Daria B
Community Member
4 years ago (edited)

And vice versa. ♥

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M O'Connell
Community Member
4 years ago

It's interesting how there was a brief period of comfortable clothing between about 1795 and 1818, and then just shy of 100 years of torture, before coming back to being comfortable again.

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April Simnel
Community Member
4 years ago

I'm sure women in the 1700s were happy they didn't have to be all trussed up, complete with neck ruffs, like their great-grandmothers in the 1640s. I've seen some of those videos on what went into getting dressed in those days, and crinoline came in the mid 1800s. The 1700s gowns were of two or three pieces. Underneath the skirt was stuffed hip pads/rolls tied on at the waist, then a tie on overskirt for the layered effect, and a jacket went on top of the corset that was buttoned on. Under all this was a long linen chemise, and silk stockings tied at the knees with a bit of ribbon. No bras, no knickers. Overall, much lighter-weight outfits than we'd imagine from watching movies. The Victorians were the disaster, what with massive steel hoops and whalebone-ribbed corsets AND crinolines covered with horsehair, AND then combined with huge bustles in the 1870s and 80s AND so. much. fabric! How did all the women not catch on fire? Give me Regency dresses any day. So comfy-looking!

Aunt Messy
Community Member
4 years ago

Have you ever been laced into a real, serious corset? I've tried it. Those ladies were a LONG way from comfortable, and those dresses weighed a ton. Not to mention the smell. Some of those ladies went literally years without bathing...and bragged about it. Apparently even Queen Victoria had body odour that could knock down a horse!

Load More Replies...
Night Owl
Community Member
4 years ago

And every new generation hated the fashion of the previous one.

Daria B
Community Member
4 years ago (edited)

And vice versa. ♥

Load More Replies...
M O'Connell
Community Member
4 years ago

It's interesting how there was a brief period of comfortable clothing between about 1795 and 1818, and then just shy of 100 years of torture, before coming back to being comfortable again.

Load More Comments
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