It might be an understatement to say that workplace fashion has come a long way from its once-rigid roots. Gone are the days when women only had to wear full gowns and updos to sit around all day; meanwhile, the current fashion era lets you dress according to your personality and style preferences.
Here’s a lowdown on the evolution of women’s business attire to guide you through this fantastic journey.
The early 1900s are known for the historic 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote. But during the years that led to the amendment in 1920, women in the workplace dressed to blend in, not stand out. This meant wearing modest gowns, dresses, or skirts that often went right to their ankles.
The 1920s saw the trend gradually transform, but it kept uniformity through short haircuts and modest styles, often with large collars. Women took a few years to shake off this trend and embrace their individuality. For many, this serves as a reminder to learn how to get involved with feminism and fight for women’s rights to be themselves.
While modern business attire women can choose from ranges across a variety of styles, it was not the case during the 1930s. Widely available choices often sported bows, which became one of the most prevalent ways for women to express their femininity in the workplace. But it was still a step forward from the plain clothing of the decades prior.
The end of the decade also marked the start of the Second World War, which greatly influenced everyone’s style sensibilities. Going through a WW2 history book for women’s fashion, you can learn how functionality took over aesthetics and helped the women who lived through this historical period.
The social inequality that continued after the Second World War remains one of the biggest issues that modern feminism is fighting to this day. At the time, going for bolder fashion choices became one of the many ways for women to make their presence known in the workplace. This led to vibrant patterns and a wider range of solid colors.
With that, distinctive tailoring also established itself as a pathway for personal expression. This included broader shoulders and, more prominently, feminine collars. Some fashion mavens still emulate these styles for their handmade clothes that they design with a beginner sewing machine. But it remains more of a personal choice than a hot trend.
The 1950s saw a rise to more feminine silhouettes through mix-and-match clothing. Using blouses and sweaters with pencil skirts became more popular than dresses over the decades. The mod clothing trend followed this in the 1960s and the rise of second-wave feminism.
While you can now learn how to update your closet with zero-waste brands, the 1970s-1990s had no popular options. Instead, they brought the gifts of power suits, bright colors, oversized blazers, and the prominent use of jewelry in the workplace. Some of these trends also made their way into the 2000s-2010s.
Throughout the 2000s-2010s, the emergence of various trends, such as minimalist suits and neutral colors, continued to take place. In the 2020s, all the above trends have come together to give women various ways to show off their workplace personality while also helping them remain self-assured in their fashion choices.
With tools such as a fashion magazine subscription, you can now take your pick among trending items, including but not limited to blouses, skirts, slacks, and tailored suits. The best part is that you are no longer obligated to follow fashion trends, and you can wear them with the utmost panache and confidence if you feel comfortable in a certain style.
This evolution of fashion outlines how the expression of personal style remains a major part of the human experience. By uplifting the women in your social circle about their fashion choices, you can become a much-needed part of this journey for distinguished and diversified fashion.