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The Fashions of the Twentieth Century, Women's Diverse Body Types, Lingerie and Fashion Trends

Elinor comments on the Current FIT Exhibits in NYC, April 2018 Elinor and David traveled to NYC and of course had to view the exhibits at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in Chelsea. The school is the equivalent of the Central St Martins, in London. This time one of the exhibits was focused on historic adjustments to body silhouettes historically. The other exhibit presented one designer of the 1950-60’s, Norman Norell, an NYC designer. My interest centers upon twentieth and twenty-first-century fashions. But then again, having said that, so much of who we are today is based upon who we were historically as well as from where we came ( mentally and geographically).

Were we hiding the body? Were we constraining the body in silhouette form? Were we freeing the body and just simply covering the silhouette? Were we confined to the house, and not permitted to be out in public for one reason or another? Are we trying to conform to a trend? Are we purposefully non-conforming? Are we defined by our clothes? Are we defining ourselves by our goals and let the fashions subserve us for that practicality or requirement? Can we mix all of these trends and swing from one definition of style and fashion to the next on a whim?

Many of the mannequins were amazing in their presented undergarments from the 1800’s to the present. Such a historic overview was an educational and spiritual reminder as to just how far we women have progressed in our power of purchase and lifestyle demands for inclusivity, comfort, practicality, and glamour at all price points. We have shaped the fashions, along with fashion designers, fabric scientists and the standards of sizing for industrialization and the continued one of a kind made to measure customer demand for handcrafted artisans.

The history of women and their silhouettes in clothes can form an encyclopedia of history of fashion and societal mores of how women are portrayed and restrictions on how women should be attired in public worldwide. For example, the constrained and constricted silhouette of an 1880 bustled dress is quite different from a flapper-era dress of 1920 which had bias cut fabric, hung straight and loose, worn without bustiers, corsets etc. Shown in picture.

Our bodies and shapes have been and are so diverse, that the fashion trends or political and economic trends influence our body tastes, shapes and sizes, is displayed so clearly with this exhibit.

We might be encouraged to squeeze into undergarments such as the girdle pictured here. In the early 1950’s Lane Bryant realized that large figured women needed a larger sized undergarment which smoothed over the torso and hips, but not necessarily to force a super constrained waistline.

So her designed girdle began at the waist and smoothed over the silhouette to mid-thigh, added to this was the loops for attaching the clips for the stockings. The photo of the orange pyjama/lounge jumpsuit look again from Lane Bryant is interesting to see how she changed fashion to provide comfort to loose garments for the home.

Next I have added a photograph of a 1920’s silk negligee which hugs the body and now often is worn as a gown for retro fashion outfit.

There are quite a few photographs of undergarments and garments in the FIT website under the exhibit icon, more photos than I can post here.

Norman Norell, fashion designer in NYC for the suited and classic look client 1950-60’s presents the double breasted, A line, pinched waist, slinky gown fishtailing to the floor. Here are several pictures of his one of a kind garments.

Well today in our fashion-forward lifestyle we have unlimited opportunities and combinations to present a unique look every day using pieces from previous eras, current designers, consigned historic pieces, all colors, all textures, all materials and all with the restriction of the imagination!

So enjoy your vision of style and come to Vintage Mirage to try on and purchase so many amazing undergarment pieces as well as clothing, accessories from the 1900’s and jewelry from the Victorian era (1860) to the present designers of today worldwide. We would love to share with you the combinations we have here on the racks available at this time, mostly Spring and Summer 2018 trends.

Our Facebook and Instagram entries often show combinations of pieces or full outfits to demonstrate visually how we put various pieces together. We are proud of our goofy combinations and fun outfits.

But also at the same time, we are on point with our formal outfits and wedding ideas for the customer.

Whatever image or vision you might have for an outfit we will suggest combinations for you.

Your fashion-forward freedom begins when you try on new garments and envision your wardrobe as a new library of possibilities.

Happy Vintage and Consignment Shopping! Take some time to view the FIT exhibition photos!

Elinor Coleman, owner Vintage Mirage

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