How did women's fashion create changes in society in Australia and the world between 1901-1945?

Essay by crunchieHigh School, 10th gradeA, May 2004

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Between four and a half decades, women's fashion has experienced different social changes and cultural trends. Different events and factors that occurred throughout these years influenced many of these changes. Fashions for women were "influenced by social, economic, and political forces."

The first decade of the century, between 1900-1910 was known as the 'Belle Epoque' (the beautiful age), and was a time of great excitement. Fashionable ladies gracefully glided through these years in chiffon and lace. The look of the time was to have a small-hand span waist, shelf-like bosom and large hips.

For every occasion, there was a different outfit. This was due to etiquette, so fashionable people changed clothes many times a day. There were garments for morning, afternoon and evenings.

The 20th century opened with the tightly-laced corset, which was considered a permanent basic requirement in achieving a fashionable figure, to exaggerate every curve of the female form, for the fashionable S shape.

The extreme styles fitted the hips tightly and started to flare out from the thighs to ruffle widely and trail out on the ground to complete the fashionable 'S' shape.

In the evenings, necklines were low to show off the bosoms, however skirts were long and full and often had trains. During the day, the body was covered from head to toe. The overall effect was women looked puffed out like pigeons.

The second decade of the 20th century was dominated by the horror of World War 1, which went from 1914-1918. People from all walks of life worked side-by side with the result that attitudes and opinions changed forever.

By 1914, straighter, flatter corsets designed to narrow the hips rather than shape the bust and waist, were back.

The fashions in this year were very soft and feminine, and after the horrors...