• film analysis
  • thematic essays
  • year overview

1938

The year 1938 was a period of transition from the catastrophic Great Depression to World War II. Women’s fashion was exuberant: vibrant colors, Surrealist accessories, ornate hats with minimal embellishments were key trends. However, the overall silhouette was simple, clean, and sophisticated. Hemlines began to fall down below the knees. Restrained, structured shoulders evolved into the iconic puff sleeve. Public figures such as the Duchess of Windsor inspired women in their everyday dress.

  • ancient
  • early Middle Ages
  • 14th century
  • 15th century
  • 16th century

tablion

A rectangular panel, often ornamented with embroidery or jewels, attached to the front of a cloak. Worn as a sign of status by Byzantine emperors and other important officials.

1570-1579

Women in the 1570s believed more was more, loved intense decorative effects, and adopted some influences from menswear. Men’s dress was quite curvilinear, with a padded belly, small waist, and large bulbous melon hose at the thighs.

  • 17th century
  • 18th century
  • 19th century
  • 20th century
  • 21st century

échelle

A decorative ladder of bows descending down the stomacher of a dress. Worn during the late 17th and 18th centuries. Sometimes spelled eschelle.

1970-1979

Seventies fashion saw bold colors and patterns take center stage. Women's fashion looked back to the 1940s by day and pumped up the glamour by night. Men had an array of suit types to choose from and favored colorful plaids. Children's fashion followed adult fashion with bold plaids and bright colors with the distinction between genders lessening throughout the decade.