1910s Fashion: A Stylish Journey Through the Decade

1910s Fashion

The 1910s were a game-changer for fashion. Picture this: a world in flux, where historical events and societal shifts collided to shape the way people dressed. Women, tired of being confined by corsets and petticoats, embraced practicality and freedom in their clothing choices. The 1910s witnessed a revolution as hemlines rose and silhouettes transformed, allowing ladies to move with ease. But it wasn’t just women who experienced sartorial metamorphosis; men too found themselves caught up in the winds of change. Their fashion underwent notable transformations during this decade, reflecting the evolving attitudes of the era.

Intriguingly perplexing yet bursting with innovation, the 1910s marked a turning point that left an indelible mark on the world of fashion. So buckle up, because we’re about to embark on an exhilarating journey through time and style!

1910s Fashion

Key Influences on 1910s Fashion

The fashion landscape of the 1910s was shaped by a multitude of influences that emerged during this transformative era. From the impact of World War I to art movements and social changes, these factors left an indelible mark on the fashion trends of the time.

The Outbreak of World War I

As World War I engulfed Europe, it had a profound impact on fashion trends in the 1910s. With resources redirected towards the war effort, luxury materials became scarce, leading to a shift in clothing styles. Women’s dresses became more streamlined and practical, reflecting the need for functionality amidst wartime constraints. Silhouettes evolved from the hourglass figure popularized in previous decades to a straighter, more columnar shape. Hemlines also rose as fabric rationing took hold.

Art Movements Influence Aesthetics

Art Nouveau and Orientalism were two prominent art movements that influenced the aesthetic sensibilities of 1910s fashion. Art Nouveau’s emphasis on organic forms and intricate patterns translated into flowing lines and delicate embellishments in clothing designs. This style celebrated nature and feminine beauty through its incorporation of floral motifs and soft curves.

Simultaneously, Orientalism captivated designers with its exotic allure. Inspired by Eastern cultures, garments incorporated rich colors, luxurious fabrics like silk, and intricate embroidery reminiscent of Asian textiles. Kimono-inspired robes gained popularity among fashionable women seeking to embrace this trend.

Empowerment Through Suffrage Movement

The suffrage movement advocating for women’s right to vote also played a significant role in shaping clothing choices during this period. As women fought for equality, their attire transitioned towards more practical options that allowed freedom of movement. Corsets gradually fell out of favor as looser-fitting garments such as tea gowns gained popularity.

Women’s liberation extended beyond clothing styles; it permeated societal norms as well. The adoption of trousers and shorter skirts by some women challenged traditional gender roles, reflecting their newfound independence and determination to break free from societal constraints.

Hollywood’s Influence on Fashion Ideals

The emergence of Hollywood films in the 1910s brought a new level of glamour and influence to popular fashion ideals. Actresses became style icons, captivating audiences with their elegant ensembles on the silver screen. Their costumes showcased the latest trends, influencing women’s fashion choices worldwide.

Designers seized the opportunity to dress these leading ladies, creating exquisite gowns that exuded sophistication and allure. From bias-cut dresses that clung to the body to beaded flapper dresses that embodied the spirit of the Roaring Twenties, Hollywood played a pivotal role in shaping fashion trends throughout this transformative decade.

Evolution of Women’s Clothing in the 1910s

In the early 1910s, women’s fashion underwent significant changes that reflected shifting social norms and a departure from restrictive clothing. This era witnessed the gradual replacement of corsets with more comfortable undergarments like brassieres and girdles. Moreover, skirts transitioned from floor-length to ankle-length, allowing for greater freedom of movement.

During the 1910s, corsets began to fall out of favor as women sought more practical and comfortable alternatives. The emergence of brassieres provided better support for the bust while allowing for a more natural silhouette. Girdles also gained popularity as they helped shape the waistline without constricting movement. These looser-fitting undergarments marked a significant shift towards clothing that prioritized comfort and functionality over strict adherence to societal beauty standards.

Skirts in the 1910s experienced a noticeable transformation in length. While floor-length skirts were still seen at formal occasions, ankle-length skirts became increasingly prevalent in everyday wear. This change was influenced by several factors, including the suffrage movement and changing attitudes towards women’s roles in society. The shorter skirt length allowed for greater mobility, enabling women to engage in activities beyond their traditional domestic spheres.

High collars and long sleeves were characteristic features of women’s dresses during this period. These design elements added an air of elegance and modesty to women’s fashion. High collars framed the face delicately while long sleeves provided coverage, aligning with societal expectations of feminine modesty at the time.

Daytime attire for women during the 1910s often consisted of tailored suits or shirtwaist dresses. Tailored suits offered a more structured look, featuring jackets with defined shoulders and straight-cut skirts that fell just below knee length. These suits exuded sophistication while still accommodating ease of movement.

Shirtwaist dresses were another popular choice for daytime wear during this decade. These dresses, typically made of lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen, featured a button-down bodice resembling a shirt. They were often paired with belts to accentuate the waistline and create a more tailored appearance.

Men’s Fashion Trends in the 1910s

Three-Piece Suits: A Dapper Choice

Men in the 1910s had a penchant for sophistication, often seen sporting three-piece suits that exuded elegance and refinement. These ensembles consisted of high-waisted trousers paired with fitted jackets and waistcoats, creating a polished and tailored look. The emphasis on structure and formality showcased the desire for men to present themselves as distinguished gentlemen.

Headwear: Bowler Hats and Fedoras Take Center Stage

When it came to headwear, bowler hats and fedoras reigned supreme in the 1910s. These stylish accessories added a touch of class to any outfit. The bowler hat, with its round crown and narrow brim, was favored by businessmen and professionals, while the fedora, characterized by its creased crown and wider brim, became popular among younger men seeking a more fashionable edge. Both hats provided an air of sophistication while protecting their wearers from the elements.

Streamlined Neckties: A Sleek Statement

Neckties underwent a transformation in the 1910s, adopting a narrower silhouette compared to previous decades. This shift towards streamlined neckwear reflected changing fashion sensibilities. Men embraced this sleeker style as it allowed them to make a statement without overwhelming their overall ensemble. Whether opting for solid colors or bold patterns, neckties became an essential accessory for completing any gentleman’s attire.

Embracing Sportswear: Knickerbockers Step into the Limelight

The 1910s witnessed an increasing interest in sportswear among men. Knickerbockers emerged as a popular choice for those engaging in outdoor activities such as golf or cycling. These loose-fitting trousers tapered at or just below the knee, providing ease of movement while maintaining an element of sartorial flair. Paired with knee-high socks and sturdy shoes, knickerbockers became a symbol of both athleticism and fashion-forward thinking.

Impact of the Titanic Era on 1910s Fashion

The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 had a profound impact on fashion during the following decade. The tragedy not only affected people emotionally but also influenced their clothing choices. Let’s delve into the various ways in which the Titanic era shaped 1910s fashion.

Changes in Women’s Evening Wear

One noticeable change that emerged after the Titanic disaster was a shift towards simpler designs and lighter fabrics in women’s evening wear. The extravagant and heavily embellished gowns of the Edwardian era were replaced by more understated styles. Women sought comfort and practicality, reflecting a desire to move away from ostentatious displays.

Luxurious Styles of the Edwardian Era

Before World War I, fashion in the early 1910s was still influenced by the luxurious styles of the Edwardian era. Elaborate dresses with high collars, lace details, and intricate embroidery were common during this period. These opulent designs showcased wealth and social status, embodying an era marked by extravagance.

Somber Colors Enter Everyday Wear

The aftermath of such a tragic event naturally brought about somber colors in everyday clothing. Black became particularly prominent as people mourned those who lost their lives on board the ill-fated ship. It became fashionable to wear black garments as a sign of respect and remembrance for both men and women alike.

Nautical Elements Inspired by the Titanic

The nautical theme associated with the Titanic found its way into fashion trends of the time. Clothing designs began incorporating elements such as sailor collars and stripes, paying homage to maritime aesthetics. These nautical-inspired outfits captured people’s fascination with ocean travel while adding a touch of adventure to their wardrobes.

During this period, several notable fashion trends emerged alongside these overarching influences:

  • Tea Gowns: Tea gowns gained popularity as an alternative to formal evening wear. These loose-fitting, comfortable dresses were perfect for informal social gatherings and afternoon tea parties.

  • Hobble Skirts: The early 1910s also witnessed the rise of hobble skirts, which featured a narrow silhouette that restricted women’s movement. This style was both fashionable and controversial, reflecting the changing roles of women in society.

  • Suffragette Fashion: The suffragette movement advocating for women’s right to vote had a significant impact on fashion as well. Supporters of this cause often wore colors associated with the movement, such as purple, green, and white.

Fabrics and Materials Used in 1910s Fashion

Silk, satin, and velvet were popular choices for women’s evening gowns. Cotton and wool were commonly used for everyday clothing during the 1910s. Lace, chiffon, and tulle were frequently incorporated into women’s dresses. Men’s suits often featured fabrics like tweed, flannel, or worsted wool.

During the 1910s, fashion was defined by a wide range of fabrics and materials that added elegance and sophistication to both men’s and women’s attire. Let’s explore the various textiles that played a significant role in shaping the fashion trends of this era.

1. Silk, Satin, and Velvet: When it came to formal occasions or evening events, women turned to luxurious fabrics such as silk, satin, and velvet for their gowns. These materials exuded opulence and refinement while draping gracefully over the female form. Silk offered a smooth texture with a natural sheen that enhanced the overall allure of any dress. Satin provided a lustrous surface that caught the light beautifully, adding an air of glamour to evening wear. Velvet boasted a rich pile fabric that exuded luxury and warmth during colder months.

2. Cotton and Wool: For everyday clothing during the 1910s, cotton and wool were widely embraced due to their durability and comfort. Cotton was lightweight yet sturdy enough to withstand daily wear while allowing breathability—a crucial factor in an era without modern air conditioning systems. Wool provided excellent insulation during colder seasons while offering versatility in terms of patterns and textures.

3. Lace, Chiffon, and Tulle: Women’s dresses in the 1910s often incorporated delicate embellishments like lace, chiffon, and tulle to add femininity and gracefulness to their outfits. Lace was intricately woven with floral or geometric patterns that adorned collars, sleeves, and hems. Chiffon, a lightweight and sheer fabric, added an ethereal quality to dresses with its delicate draping and soft movement. Tulle was commonly used for layering skirts, creating a voluminous effect that epitomized the romantic fashion of the time.

4. Tweed, Flannel, and Worsted Wool: Men’s suits in the 1910s were typically crafted from sturdy fabrics like tweed, flannel, or worsted wool. Tweed offered a durable yet stylish option with its tightly woven woolen material that showcased intricate patterns such as herringbone or houndstooth. Flannel provided a softer texture while maintaining warmth during colder months. Worsted wool was known for its smooth finish and ability to retain shape well—ideal for tailored suits that exuded sophistication.

Hairstyles and Accessories in 1910s Fashion

Women’s hairstyles in the 1910s were a reflection of the changing times. Two popular hairstyles during this era were the iconic Gibson Girl updo and the pompadour. The Gibson Girl updo, named after artist Charles Dana Gibson’s illustrations, featured a soft, voluminous bun at the back of the head. This hairstyle exuded elegance and sophistication, with women often adding decorative hair combs or ribbons to enhance its allure. On the other hand, the pompadour was characterized by its sleek, swept-back look. It involved creating height at the front of the head while leaving the rest of the hair down or styled into a low chignon.

To complement these stunning hairstyles, women in the 1910s embraced fashionable accessories. Wide-brimmed hats adorned with feathers or flowers were particularly popular during this time. These hats not only provided protection from sun exposure but also added a touch of glamour to any outfit. Women could choose from an array of feather options such as ostrich plumes or peacock feathers to create a unique and eye-catching look.

In addition to hats, gloves became an essential accessory for both men and women in the 1910s. Women often wore long gloves that extended past their elbows as a symbol of elegance and refinement. These gloves came in various materials such as silk or kid leather and were available in an assortment of colors to match different outfits. Men also embraced gloves as part of their formal attire, opting for shorter styles that reached just above their wrists.

Jewelry played a significant role in completing fashionable looks during this period. Long necklaces were all the rage, cascading down from women’s necklines and drawing attention to their décolletage. Brooches adorned with intricate designs served as statement pieces on dresses or lapels, adding a touch of individuality to outfits.

Art Nouveau-inspired jewelry also gained popularity in the 1910s. This style, characterized by its flowing lines and nature-inspired motifs, captivated fashion enthusiasts. Women adorned themselves with delicate pendants, earrings, and bracelets that showcased the beauty of Art Nouveau design.


In conclusion, the fashion trends of the 1910s left a lasting impact on the industry and continue to influence modern styles. The key influences on 1910s fashion, such as Art Nouveau and Orientalism, brought about a shift in design aesthetics. Women’s clothing evolved significantly during this decade, with the introduction of looser silhouettes and higher hemlines. Men’s fashion also experienced changes, embracing more relaxed and practical attire.

The Titanic era played a significant role in shaping 1910s fashion, as designers sought to create garments that emphasized elegance and sophistication. Fabrics and materials used during this time included silk, lace, chiffon, and satin, adding luxurious textures to outfits. Hairstyles were often elaborate, featuring intricate updos adorned with accessories like feathers or jeweled hairpins.

Looking back at 1910s fashion can inspire us today by showcasing how trends can evolve over time while still retaining elements of their origins. By understanding the foundations laid by our predecessors in terms of design principles and craftsmanship, we can create unique looks that pay homage to this iconic era.

So why not take inspiration from this remarkable period in history? Explore vintage shops or online retailers specializing in retro clothing to find pieces that capture the essence of 1910s fashion. Embrace your individuality and make a statement with your fashion choices, drawing inspiration from the past to create a truly unique and memorable look.


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