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How Women’s Fashion has Changed Over the Last 50 Years

Millennial Magazine- womens fashion

From neck scarves to wide-legged trousers, pinstripes to studded belts, female fashion has hugely evolved over the last 50 years. While some trends die an ugly death, many are revived years later. Women’s fashion was somewhat restricted decades ago, but we’re now free to wear whatever we want – whether that’s summer trousers, mini-skirts, men’s shirts or maxi dresses. But how has this evolution looked over the last half-century?

1970s

The decade of big hair and bright colours. A time full of change, the 1970s saw women receive more freedom in many aspects – including fashion. Clothes were often inspired by music and Hollywood films, with suit-style dresses coming into favour, wide-legged jumpsuits and even halter necklines – though they were still considered risqué. Punk fashion originated around 1975 and continued into the ‘80s.

1980s

The 1980s was the decade that music videos were first released, heavily influencing style. Shoulder pads, denim jackets, leather trousers and jumpsuits were all the rage, as were parachute pants and bum bags. Women wore a mix of fitted and loose styles, accessorised with chunky statement jewellery. Also introducing athletic clothing into their everyday wardrobes and wearing menswear-inspired power suits in the office, ‘80s fashion was all about freedom of expression.

1990s

The 1990s’ fashion trends were massively inspired by grunge, raving and hip-hop. The introduction of the internet resulted in constant media consumption and popular culture influenced many of the decade’s fashion trends. From plaid mini skirts to platform shoes, bomber jackets to Dr. Martens and overalls to slip dresses, women’s fashion in the ‘90s was certainly eclectic.

2000s

Think low-rise jeans, ‘80s-inspired tracksuits, bell-bottoms and hip-hop influenced clothing – and you’ve got 2000s style in a nutshell. Communication was at an all-time high thanks to smartphones and social networking sites, so fashion inspo and trends largely emerged online and through hit reality TV shows.

2010s

More recently in the 2010s, many female fashion trends from the ‘80s ad ‘90s have been revived. The grunge look, crop tops, cut-out dresses and off-the-shoulder silhouettes were hugely popular, while the decade also saw the emergence of hipster culture – cardigans, round glasses and printed t-shirts made geek, chic.

Fashion Now

These days, anything goes when it comes to fashion and unlike many women before us, we’re free to wear whatever we want. A means of expression, our style is tied to our identity and though new trends do emerge, many are recycled and revived from older decades. Pretty cool, huh?

What do you think?

Written by Hannah Rachel Miller

Hannah Miller is currently a senior at Indiana University studying Journalism and Apparel Merchandising. A fashion-obsessed, yoga loving shopaholic (it's a serious disease), Hannah hopes to pursue a career in the magazine industry after college.

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