Thursday, July 23, 2009
This Day in History: 7.23.1914
On July 23, 1914, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia following the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Serb assassin; the dispute led to World War I.
Fashion doesn't happen in a vacuum. Our style is influenced by events in the world around us, by changes in culture and attitude.
World War I had a profound effect on the styles of the era. For example, many women who went to work as a part of the war effort began to cut their hair short. The various work, both paid and philanthropic, that women took during the war began to erode social barriers and differences in dress between social classes became less obvious. As women explored the world outside of the domestic sphere, they sought equal rights with increased determination. This quest for equality and a war-time shortage of fabric, led to more progressive fashions, such as shorter hemlines (for the first time, women were showing their ankles!) and narrower skirts. As the nation mourned the loss of loved ones, styles took on a somber, monochrome look, with military inspred design details. Many of these historical and fashion influences would go on to directly influence the daring fashions of the 1920's Jazz Age. Traces of these trends can even pop up in contemporary styles, a testament to their popularity and practicality.