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How Fashion has evolved with Time - Part 1

 Overview

Fashion reflects life, and so, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that fashion trends are a reflection of human evolution itself. 

From The English Baron in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, who was "oddly suited" to Kim Kardashian's Met Gala 2021 faceless head-to-toe dress, the evolution of fashion has been a matter of scholarly and tabloid discussions. 

Join us as we travel back in time to study fashion; high-end, budgetary, silk luxury – all the works! 

The Birth of Fashion – 15th Century

During the 15th Century – the late Middle Ages or Early Renaissance – fashion was reserved for the elite because peasants had to perform manual labour, which limited their fashion choices.

Men

While fashion has been around for centuries, it was redefined during the 14th and 15th centuries, especially by the King of England, Henry VIII.

Most clothes during this time had broad-shouldered silhouettes with intricate embroideries and rich fabrics. 

If you think that is not impressive, an account of King Henry VIII’s dress shows how clothes were thickly plated with silver and gold. Imagine that! 

For trousers, kings wore a pair of hose and stockings. Additionally, a tilted cap, made from velvet and adorned with rubies, emeralds, and pearls, perfectly complemented the royal fashionistas of the 15th Century.

In addition, for a manly royal look, men wrapped heavy silk scarfs. This surely makes one wonder:

Scarves fit for kings – what’s stopping us from buying one?

Women

While women’s fashion was as dynamic as men’s, their basics remained limited to their go-to gowns, silk scarf, and spiritual designs inspired by holy depictions of Mary.

Women wore tightly fitted bodices with a skirt that needed a train of servants to carry. Within the outer skirt, a petticoat would offer rich and heavy designs while keeping the wearer warm.

Coming of New Century & New Fashion – 16th Century

 

Men

During the 16th Century, men’s coats morphed into fuller coats; hats were replaced by two-peaked wigs, which were ash grey and white; and silk scarfs worn on shoulders were now tied delicately around the neck.

Women

Women’s dresses evolved and became more vertical and linear. 

Previously, skirts would have multiple layers and outer skirts that gave a stout look. Still, the 16th Century ushered a stage where women's fashion was focused on elongating length.

A typical fashion diva of a 16th century would put on a chemise upon which an early variation of corset was worn. Petticoats had embraced richer colours and furbelows (horizontal bands).

French Fashion Goes Global – 17th Century

French Revolution was a defining moment of the 17th Century that had its effect on every social and cultural aspect, including fashion. For instance, tricolours for both men and women became common and a symbol of support for the revolution.

Men

Extra layers bid farewell to men’s clothing. As the layers shed off, men’s fashion moved towards three-piece suits with turned-down collars known as a frock.

Women

Gowns, bodices, and silk gowns stayed. Newer, longer sleeves with tight fittings around the elbow made their debut that created roundness, in contrast to linear shapes in the previous Century.

But we all know fashion is in the details. Women’s hats became more elaborate and fancier. 

Ribbons, feathers, and bouquets dotted headwear and often signified women’s socio-economic status, while silk scarves remained a staple.

Ushering A Pre-Modern Era – 18th Century

As the notions of beauty changed and lean physique began to be accepted as the standard of beauty, fashion that made women look petite and men lean was introduced.

Men

Frock coats received widespread popularity, and frock coats became a fashion staple for formal events. Narrow trousers, coupled with a thin top hat, became the new in thing.

Towards the end of the Century, tuxedo's forerunners were also introduced, featuring stiff collars and waistcoats. 

Women

The 18th Century triggered events that led to women liberation and revolutionary changes in fashion.

Bell-shaped skirts and puffed shoulders waltz onto the fashion scene. 

Shoulders’ puffy design, complemented by gigot sleeves, embodied women’s strength and empowerment.

During this Century, advancements in science also allowed a functional approach to fashion and clothing. 

For instance, new corsets claimed to be a healthier alternative, with straight fronts were designed as they allowed women’s bodies to maintain a natural curvilinear S shape.

Parting Thoughts

Fashion has changed in numerous, unimaginable ways. What remains unchanged, however, is the popularity of a silk scarf.

Over the years, the silk scarf has been a timeless symbol of equity, fashion, and empowerment.

To relive a historical fashion scene and be inspired by spiritual designs, look no further than Laila Regalado!

Join us in our journey of empowering women with premium-quality accessories.