Fashion and clothing timeline through the historical lens : 14th Century to 20th Century

 ‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.’ – Coco Chanel


Fashion is simply a way of self-expression concerning time and place. It exists since mankind has learned to dress up. The look determined by the fashion industry is known to be trending, the look that is popular or widely discussed. Still, fashion isn’t only about trends, it acts as a measure of both aesthetic and cultural progress. Exploring the clothing timeline through a historical sense gives us a sense of the evolution.

Fashion and time have been synonymous for ages. Like time, fashion also changes and constantly evolves. Time is eternal and so is fashion. Different eras have uniquely influenced fashion. Fashion, as we know it now, is the contribution of many decades, things have constantly remained in and out of fashions. Over the years, fashion has drastically changed but it has also kept trends from the past very much alive.




1.Renaissance Era

This era took place between the 14th and the 17th century and is known for the rebirth of literature, philosophy and other different kinds of art forms. 

Coming towards fashion and the clothing timeline, during this period clothing was based on the caste system and there were laws to regulate the same.

Only the noble classes were able to wear clothes made up of silk, velvet and brocade. Lower class people used to wear clothes made up of plant or animal-derived linen.

Women used to wear gowns with tight bodices, and full skirts that went down to the ankle. These gowns were worn with loose corsets by servants for free movement while they served as restrictions for the noblewomen.

Men’s fashion included shirts with no collars or cuffs, a doublet that is a long sleeve garment and lastly a jerkin. They also used to wear stockings along with knee-length trousers. Renaissance-era fashion was known for layering and it used to take a lot of time to get dressed up for the day.


1869 | Fashion History Timeline

 2.The 18th Century Fashion


The 18th-century era is defined as the late Baroque/Rococo style. The fashion trends in this century not only affected the aristocrats and nobles but also the middle classes. Fashion designers became popular during this era and everyone wanted to lay their hands on the latest style trends. Even the influence of fashion and art shifted from Versailles to Paris.

White wigs were widely in fashion and natural hair was powdered to achieve a more fashionable look. Soft pastels, light, airy, and asymmetrical designs, and playful styles were the common patterns of clothing.

The usual fashion of these year- the clothing timeline included gowns with low necklines, the silhouette of women’s fashion was formed with a tight corset or pannier. The three average components of a gown included a skirt, the basic gown and a stomacher.

The silhouette of an 18th-century male differed greatly from today. Their fashion included coats, waistcoats, and breeches along with a pair of silk stockings, a linen or cotton shirt with decorative cuffs, a jabot and a cravat, and a neckcloth.


Victorian Era - Culture, Art & Timeline | HISTORY - HISTORY


 3.The Victorian Era

The Victorian era as its name suggests begins with Queen Victoria’s reign from1837 to 1901. Initially, women used to wear long dresses which later changed into bustle dresses. The waistline deepened and the corset was still prevailing in fashion. Bonnets and hats were very popular and were worn inside and outside.

Artistic dresses were embraced by a group of upper-class women which gave them much freedom of movement. 

For men, fashion consisted of long trousers. Abraham Lincoln’s famous top hat was developed during this time. Men wore simple fashion with a long coat, a waistcoat similar to a vest, straight trousers, and a high collared shirt. 

This period – clothing timeline exhibited an enormous amount of class and wealth when it came to fashion. 


clothing timeline
The Daily Beast


 4. The 20th Century Fashion

Cross-culture, war and politics had a very deep effect on fashion during this period. Fashion was both a form of self-expression and rebellion in this century. The 20th century had seen a variety of fashion trends. A very significant addition to the clothing timeline

In the 20s women wore less restrictive clothes, athletic clothing, boyish silhouettes, and glittering opulence also characterized this era. 

In the 30s great advancement came in women’s fashion which was halted by the great depression.

During and after the world war, clothes were made from cheaper material due to the scarcity of finer materials like silk. Colors were highly influenced by war and women used to wear military prints during this time. Masculine clothing was quite popular at this point.

The designer bags came in the 50s with the dominance of more feminine characters in the clothing once again. Designers experimented a lot during this era and vibrant floral and repeating patterns used to highlight a woman’s beauty and physic.

70s fashion defined freedom, self-expression and embodied individualism. Even Vogue declared, “There are no rules in the fashion game now.” Articles of clothing included mini skirts, bell-bottom pants that were popularized by hippies, and glam rock and disco trends introduced fashion staples such as satin, glitter, and bright colors.

The 90s favored a more minimalistic look rather than the vibrant one in the previous decades. This era was highly influenced by music, women wore casual jeans and T-shirts.


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