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The Genesis of it ALL

  1. Utility dresses

Much of the decade’s fashion was based on what many call civilian uniforms. These clothes, marked “CC41” for “civilian clothing 1941,” were made to be durable and affordable, not fashionable. “Rosie the Riveter,” (a character placed on government advertising that was meant to recruit women to the workforce), became one of the most iconic images of the decade. Women rolled up the sleeves of their utility outfits, sported a cloth in their hair, added a bit of red lipstick, and went to work. Along with the lack of materials came creative solutions for clothing–women repurposed old clothing, bed sheets and other scrap materials with patterns so their wardrobes weren’t so monotonous.

  1. High Waisted Bikini

In previous decades, women had no choice but to wear one-piece bathing suits. In the 1940s, the two-piece bikini became popular which showed off slightly more skin, but because of the war-time rationing, these bikinis were cut plain and simple, with no adornments. In the 1950s that is when Jewels, ruffles, and lace were added to these bikinis.

  1. Saddle Shoes

The saddle shoe was initially created for sporting purposes in the early 1900s, but with the onset of dances like the Lindy Hop and the Jitterbug in the ’50s, they became the choice footwear. These shoes, much like oxfords, were acceptable for both sexes to wear and came in a variety of colors.

  1. Chansonette Bra

After being deprived from materials for so long, women looked for clothing that accentuated the female silhouette and the Chansonette bra did just that. These bras were made popular by female sex icons of the ’50s, and were quickly given the nickname “bullet bra” because of their shape. The bra did not have any wires or padding, but had a pocket of air at the tip of each cup which was said to help the breasts breathe comfortably.

  1. Cat- eye glasses

These Hollywood glam glasses were made popular by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film How to Marry a Millionaire. These specs became more of an accessory than a necessity for women.

  1. Go-go Boots 1960s

Before 1960s, the idea of wearing boots for style was unheard of–they were simply worn to overcome the elements. The go-go boot, named after the French word “la gogue” for happiness, was a calf high plastic boot and can be credited to designer André Courrèges. As the hemlines of the decade were hiked, the height of the go-go boot rose to meet it. By the end of the decade, the focus of the boot became more about the height and shape of the heel than the height of the boot itself.

  1. Pearls

While pearls had been popular among upper classes since the Middle Ages, the ’60s brought about fashion pearls that were much less expensive, usually made out of plastic. These pearls were supposed to convey social status, while also promoting femininity and class.

  1. Fringe

While fringe had been on the scene for many years– think of Olivia Borden and even Elvis– Cher became iconic for sporting fringe on almost all of her clothing in the ’60s. She was largely influenced by American Indian clothing her fashions spawned an entire generation of fringe-wearing women and men.

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  1. The Crop Top

While crop tops and tummy tops are popular today, they have to be credited back to the ’40s. Female celebrities dared to be different and sported these tiny tops but they never seemed to catch on. Finally, in the ’70s, Catherine Bach played Daisy Duke in the ever-so-popular film Dukes of Hazzard and wowed the world with her sexy cut off denim shorts and a plaid cropped top. At the time, she was one of the first women to ever show her stomach on television! In the decade of social change and freedom, people saw something that they had never seen before and wanted to be part of it. Thus, the crop top was born.

  1. Bell Bottoms

One of the most popular fashion items in the ’70s was bell-bottom pants (for both men and women). While bell-bottom pants had started their rise in the ’60s with non-conformist youth, the ’70s welcomed an era of mass-produced flared pants in a plethora of different fabrics.



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