Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow- the 1900's

As we move into the 20th century, the Industrial Revolution is hitting its peak, and technology progresses at a breakneck speed. The airplane, the polygraph test, the motion picture camera, the escalator, the radio, the roller coaster, the tractor, the vacuum cleaner, the air conditioner, neon lights, the teddy bear, crayons, windshield wipers, and Einstein's theory of relativity were all invented in the last five years of the 1890's and the first five years of the 1900's (Source for that information). As travel became easier, the world put more focus on international affairs. For example, the Olympics were revived in 1896 in Athens, and later in Paris in 1900.

We also have two monumental shifts of power in the beginning of the 1900's. In January of 1901, Queen Victoria passed away, and her son Albert Edward became King Edward VII of Britain. The Victorian era ended, and the Edwardian era began.

In September of the same year, US President William McKinley was assassinated shortly after being re-elected, and his new vice president Theodore Roosevelt took the office at 42 years old, making him the youngest president to date.

Welcome to the 20th century, where the pace of change is a mile a millisecond. Oh, and the clothes also happen to be fabulous.

The bodices of 1900s day wear are the most iconic part of the ensemble. Collars were at an all-time high, and waistlines were low, creating the "pigeon breast" look.

Sleeves for day wear continued to be wide (although not quite as much as in the 1890's), but not always at the shoulder. The volume would occasionally drift to the elbows, and more commonly, the wrist.

Source. I love the patchy lace pattern.

Skirts were still narrow, but some had trains at the bottom, making for a sort of mermaid effect.

The standard for evening wear became elbow-length sleeves and low, wide square necklines.

Source. Loving the lace.

Luxury fabrics such as velvet, silk, and brocade were popular during the decade. Lace, feathers, and pearls were popular accents.

The Gibson Girl hairstyle reached its peak of popularity, and stayed that way until the end of the decade. Hats became wide-brimmed and elaborate (seen above and below).


Some gorgeous Gibson 'dos. The style on the bottom left is a good example of hair later in the decade.
Next week will be a fun one for Downton Abbey fans like me (it's already been pretty fun to see the style of Cora and everyone's favorite Dowager Countess). As we venture further into the 20th century, we'll see the (very gradual) fall of the corset, the sinking of the Titanic, and World War I. I do realize that one of those things is not like the others, but change is a'coming.

Stay tuned this Friday for a fun easter egg I found while researching this post!

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