History’s Biggest Marker

How fashion has the ability to reflect different points in time


It was Monday morning when I once again sat at my kitchen table flipping through this month’s issue of Vogue. Low and behold, I noticed something familiar: Eclectic eye makeup topped with jewel stickers was front and center on the main spread. Intense looks like this have been brought to the mainstream by popular HBO show Euphoria, which led me to wonder; How does our fashion reflect the current state and interests of our world?  It’s no surprise that, thanks to social media, this generation in particular is heavily influenced by pop culture. In a few years when we take a look back on the 2000s, short-lived trends are all we will see. This “impatient” stage of the fashion industry directly parallels the times, as it shows the fast paced nature of the newer generations. When we take a look back in history, fashion is an automatic marker. 

When you dive a little deeper, it becomes clear that fashion has been used as a “projection of the times” for centuries now.

Take the roaring twenties for example. A time known for its rapid economic growth and prosperity, the era of the flapper was chalked full of symbolism. These short dresses, vivid colors, elegant beading designs, and funky hair cuts can all be seen as a manifestation of the redefined roles women played in society. The dresses were shorter
because the women were finally going out and dancing, the longer restrictive dresses of the prior decades were no longer appropriate for the lifestyles of the women of the 20’s. The bob cut was popularized because it was considered “scandalous” and this era encouraged rebellion in social “norms”. The 20’s brought upon a sense of independence and woman empowerment, and all of these ideas were directly projected in what was worn. 

In the early 20th century, suffragettes also played a major part in the political climate. Women were finally seen sporting pant suits and more masculine silhouettes as a way to reclaim power. Fast forward 100 years, and men are also beginning to challenge gender “norms”. Just a few months ago Harry Styles became the first man to star on the cover of Vogue, and did so wearing a periwinkle Gucci dress. The world of fashion is beginning to break down the walls it once held up, displaying the strong value that change and individuality holds in today’s society. 

Fashion will always be one of the strongest indicators of the times we are living in. Whether it be modern day or even a couple hundred years ago, what we wear often tells us more than words ever could.