10 Fashion Decades, 10 Movies

Updated: Jun 4

I love fashion and I love film so I thought it would be cool to look back on some of my favourite films that represent fashion from each decade going back to the 1920s..... check them out for some period fashion inspiration!

The 1920s – The Great Gatsby

Known as the “Roaring Twenties” and the “Jazz Age”, the 20s was full of rebellion, partying and money and the film reflects this in the sumptuous set design and gorgeous wardrobe. I loved the embroidered flapper dresses, the slinky silhouettes, the Mary Jane pumps and the headpieces. And Leo's dapper suits.

The 1930s - Bonnie and Clyde

Fashion in the 1930s became more conservative after the indulgence of the 20s due to the economic crisis after the war ....making fashion more wearable. 30s fashion became simpler in terms of colour, detailing and silhouette both for men and women and Bonnie and Clyde reflects this through Faye Dunaway's very iconic tailored yet casual look.

1940s – The Notebook

The 1940s saw a mixture of the two prior decades combine, creating a style that was both comfortable and feminine in a simple and elegant way which reflected the fact that most of the world was at war and living in austerity. The need for femininity and glamour was carried in simple ways, with gloves, hats, groomed hair and brighter makeup being staples, but with a relaxed silhouette in the form of a knee-length shirt dress or tea dress with a nipped-in waist or everyday separates in easy to wear fabrics and delicate patterns.

1950s – Revolutionary Road

After the end of WWII, rationing was over and we saw an economic boom which resulted in the 1950s consumerist housewife role being a muse for the fashion industry. The silhouettes became bolder and ever more focused on accentuating the natural curves of a woman. Kate Winslet reflects this in her role as April in Revolutionary Road in everything from the tied cotton shirt and high-waisted shorts outfit to the halter neck fit and flare skirts and dresses so popular in this decade.

1960s – Factory Girl

The 60s marked a radical departure from the decades before. The trends starting changing more rapidly, with fashion being completely different at the beginning of the 60s as compared to the end. It went from a continuation of the conservatism of the 50s to the mod teen style that we all now consider to be classic 60s style. All about swing, bright colours, tie-dye shirts, micro-minis and bold pattern. In Factory Girl, Sienna Miller portrays Edie Sedgwick, the style icon of the decade - sporting thigh-skimming mini skirts, boyish minimalist cuts such as the shift dress and bold statement fabrics and pattern such as stripes and animal print.

1970s – Casino

The 70s took the pattern and flair of the 60s and ramped it up! Colour was key. Flared trousers, cowl neck sweaters, skin-tight t-shirts, leisure suits, flower-patterned dress shirts, tennis headbands and V-neck velour shirts were just some of the statement styles of the 70s! Love Sharon Stone's OTT wardrobe in Casino - her big hair, jewels, furs and outfits like the ones below, especially the blue leather/PVC combo with the white knee-high boots!

1980s – Mannequin

The 80s was all about power dressing and experimentation. Voluminous shoulders, shiny fabrics, jumpsuits, neon, band name tees, off shoulder or batwing tops, leggings..... The 80s were also a great decade for film with lots of lighthearted, family-friendly movies that now make our classics lists! Mannequin represents 80s fashion in various guises from Hollywood’s sunglasses and those flamboyant patterned jackets to that turquoise blue number, everything screamed 80s yuppie power dressing and new consumerism!

1990s – Clueless

Who can forget the characters of Cher and Dionne and their influence on a whole generation of style-makers! Even Iggy Azalea parodied the movie in her recent music video. I think most of you will remember the decade and the fact it has been re-interpreted recently (denim on denim anyone?) means it is a genuine moment in fashion! The 90s were characterised by plaid, cropped tanktops, knee-high socks, denim with everything, oversized shirts, mini skirts and ski pants.

Noughties – Devil Wears Prada

The noughties continued to incorporate some of the 90s trends but started to reinterpret those trends in a more relaxed way. Embellishment came back through the use of sequins and studs and there was a drive towards a sleek and lean rather masculine silhouette to achieve a classic and contemporary look. Throughout this film, we see all of these trends, from Miranda Priestly’s sequin blazer to Andy’s loosely tailored coats!

And beyond...... Sex and the City 2

It is always difficult to write about the times in which one lives but perhaps what is unique about today is the fact that we increasingly draw from and interpret all of the above historical trends .....but at the same time! In today’s fashion we see everything from bright colours, bohemian chic, vintage-inspired headwear, grunge and tailoring.... depending on your mood! It seems every season we reinterpret another bygone era.

Does this mean there is nothing new? Maybe.... but IMO the newness comes through the fresh interpretation of old trends and styling. In this sense, Sex and the City 2 was very much of this time as it showed the array of choices available to us now ..... in addition, it showed that we live in a very connected world and cannot get away from ethnic and global influences in fashion - i.e. turbans, harem pants and kimonos are now part of our everyday vocabulary!

So there you go - see how many trends you can spot from the past in just this one film, it’s the perfect combination of fashion now and fashion past, and we love it!

How will fashion develop as we go forward? Let me know what you think!

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