Throughout the twentieth century, there have been many fashion trends that have come and gone. There have been the flappers of the 1920’s with their black mesh stockings and feathered hats, to the 1970’s with their bell-bottom jeans, and fluffy, eccentric hair dues. Fashion is defined as “A popular way of dressing during a particular time or among a particular group of people.” Fashion goes hand and hand with romance and glamour, but more recently, people have beginning to ask “Where has the romance gone”? In this paper I will discuss romance, glamour, and fashion. I will compare and contrast fashion trends throughout the twentieth century, all the way up to today’s fashion. I will also compare entertainment and how it has changed as well, and reflect upon society’s attitude towards the opposite sex, chivalry, and moral code.
In terms of fashion, the early 1900’s really set the pace for the rest of the century. In the first decade of the twentieth century was very elegant and classical. Fashion designers became inspired through what Europeans were wearing and mimicked that style (Gale). Women’s clothing between 1900 and 1910 really focused on the S curve silhouette, and were always wearing hats. Men also wore hats often. Three piece suits, creased and cuffed pants, and a bowler Styles 2 was a typical outfit for a man (SlideShare). As for entertainment, movies were the way to go. Silent movie stars like Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino dazzled audiences with their slapstick humor and precise and controlled dance moves. A popular dance of this decade was the tango, Rudolph Valentino was known as one of the best Tango dancers of all time. Men and women were both very courteous towards one another, men would always tip their cap to a woman, and she’d respond with a head nod. The Great Train Robbery is one of the most recognizable films from this decade, its main theme of crime doesn’t pay will resonate throughout cinema for the next century. Goodfellas pays homage to this American classic almost 80 years after it was made.
In the 1910’s the world was in turmoil, World War I threatened millions of people’s livelihood all throughout Europe. Women in America began to stray away from classic Victorian wear; instead they began to wear Hobble Skirts, and even bathing suites. World War I did not affect how women dressed, however; it did affect how men dressed. Thick wool trench coats were very popular, and soldiers in the trenches often wore similar wool trench coats on the battlefield to shield them from the cold (SlideShare). Silent movies were still very popular, Styles 3 along with ragtime dancing and music. Dancing was a way for people to escape the hassles of everyday life. The attitude towards the opposite sex had not changed at all. Both men and women were courteous and thoughtful towards one another. Shoulder Arms is a classic Charlie Chaplin movie from this decade (Gale).
The Roaring 20’s was unlike any other decade of the 20th century. It was a lively era, women dressed sultrier. “Flappers” were young, independent women who wanted to have a good time. They typically wore looser fitting dresses with shorter hemlines, draped in costume jewelry, and always wearing a hat (SlideShare). Just like the women, men’s fashion evolved after the 1910’s. no longer were army style trench coats popular, instead pinstriped suits, fedoras and raccoon coats is what most of the men wore during this time period (SlideShare). Due to prohibition, drinking was illegal; however this did not stop bootleggers and rum runners from smuggling their illegal booze into speakeasies across major cities. Jazz was a craze during the twenties; musicians like Louis Armstrong were very popular jazz was the music of choice for speakeasies (Gale). The Charleston was a popular dance of this decade. Attitude toward the opposite sex didn’t change much since the previous decade, but