• 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.

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1640-1649

The 1640s saw womenswear trend in a softer and slightly simpler direction, with low necklines and billowing three-quarter length sleeves often in satin of a single color. With much of Europe at war, menswear took on a more militaristic edge and a parallel simplification, with the wearing of buff coats widely adopted in England.

1840-1849

Influenced by the Gothic Revival and Romanticism, the fashionable 1840s woman was demure, constrained by an unforgiving silhouette. Menswear was understated, as the bourgeois Victorian male became the fashion leader.

1900-1909

While technology progressed in the first decade of the twentieth century, fashion largely remained the same. Subtle changes in silhouette occurred in womenswear until the tubular shape of the 1910s was beginning to emerge by the end of the decade. Lace and other embellishments were key. Menswear continued to see the suit as the primary style, though the tuxedo became increasingly acceptable as formal wear in the evening. Children continued to be dressed like mini-adults and styles such has the sailor suit continued to be popular options.