The biggest moments in vintage fashion history


Dorothy Gish, by Carl van Vechten

With the year coming to a close, most fashion blogs are heralding the trends on their way out while they look ahead to upcoming styles. Everyone wants to catalog the landmark moments of another twelve months in fashion, which got me thinking – what would I consider the biggest moments in vintage fashion history? Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below!

Ditching the corset

As we all know, underwear is the foundation on which amazing fashion is built. A bullet bra makes a 1950s dress fit like a glove, a bralette accentuates the lines in a flapper dress, and getting rid of the corset provided a whole new world of opportunities for women. The Dress Reform movement mirrored the larger social, political, and economic issues facing ladies everywhere. If you ever needed a reminder of the power of fashion – look no further.

I like being a woman, even in a man’s world. After all, men can’t wear dresses, but we can wear the pants. – Whitney Houston


Miriam Battista, by Murray Korman

The pants revolution

Given our penchant for jeans or a tailored trouser, it’s hard to imagine a time when pants weren’t in a woman’s wardrobe. But not that long ago a woman wearing pants was not only taboo but a serious affront to the fashion gods. That all changed with the daring genius and style of one lady: Coco Chanel. Her pioneering efforts opened the doors for many of the statements we take for granted today. Short hair, long necklaces – the flapper look – Chanel set the stage.

Screen Sirens

Cinematic fashion designers like David Evins and Edith Head created a world of glamour and intrigue. Their body of work gave women something to admire, enjoy, and mirror in their own lives. This was the first time a sense of drama was so grandly communicated and on such a massive scale. Forget fashion week, movies were the original way to consume the avant garde.

Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world. – Marilyn Monroe

Walking Tall | Stilettos

Your shoe choice is just as critical to a look as your undergarment selection. The invention of the stiletto was a landmark fashion moment. This structural innovation elongated the silhouette and also cultivated an air of power and sophistication. From the 1980s power suits to the slinky cocktail gown – we are women, hear us roar (and click our heels with confidence).

Dior’s New Look

No list would be complete without mentioning Dior and his groundbreaking New Look fashion show. The year was 1947, the world was reeling from a devastating war, and everyone was seeking renewed hope. Some feel this is the sole moment a designer perfectly embodied an entire society’s wishes and dreams into one collection.

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. – Coco Chanel

Loving the shoes!

Mini skirts


Mary Quant’s mini skirt debuted in the 1960s and in one fell swoop defined an entire decade. Perhaps this is the first time a design was embraced so openly – brides and babes equally enjoyed this style. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another style that would be as comfortable strolling down the sidewalk as it was walking down the church aisle.


What can happen in a year? A lot. But one of the most prolific years in fashion history happened in the 70s. This fashion face-off marked the first moment the American designer got proper international due. As if one historic moment wasn’t enough, this show also marked the most diverse group of models to date – showing that fashion isn’t monochromatic.

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