An Twentieth Century Overview of Fashions Transient Trends

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The corset is an enduring symbol of the quest to mold oneself after the fashionable image of the day. The cherished notion of the eighteen-inch waist was the ideal at the turn of the century. However, prior to the 19th century and early 20th century use of the corset, plump women were considered beautiful.


You can see it in the art, where you're pretty hard-pressed to find an image of a thin woman," says Laura Fraser. (42) That began to change between 1900 and 1920, "when it was possible for the first time for peopleto have enough to eat that the status symbol flipped. Once seen as a sign of health and prosperity to be fat - now there was an elitism to being thin."
According to Alexis Gregory (38-49), in the early 1900's women's dress was sturdy, heavy, and rigid, a reflection of the Edwardian period of dress, and the silhouette was that of an hour glass, now that being plump was unfashionable. Female bodies were stuffed into a miniscule waist, and then padded in other areas such as the bosom and buttocks. The effect was that of a waspish figure. This hourglass shape became more of an "S" curve when longer lined "health" corsets became fashionable. They supported the spine and abdomen, but it made the fashionable woman look as if she was always leaning forward.
As always, historical upheaval creates change in all sectors of society, including fashion. World War I being an important event in the "teens," fashion suddenly became much more practical to accommodate other needs. The Great War (1914 to 1918) changed people's lives in many ways. ...
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