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1950s to 1990s Women's Fashion Trends

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I look at today's fashion and see how it's all inspired by vintage fashion. The character & uniqueness of old-age chic. That's what I love!

Many of us are familiar with the fabulous clothing styles of the 1900s and have become enthusiasts of vintage-inspired designs of that by-gone era. From poodle skirts and mini-skirts to floor-length evening gowns and the halter-neck tops with chic ruffles, many of the 20th-century fashion trends have become the hit styles of the 21st-century.

Fifties to Nineties Fabulous Clothing Styles

Fifties to Nineties Fabulous Clothing Styles

A large number of today’s top fashion designers base some of their creations on vintage fashion and tend to re-create the fabulous styles we love, modifying or blending them with modern cuts and embellishments. So, what is the past trending styles that have inspired today’s creations?

  • Mini dresses and skirts.
  • Jumpsuits and dungarees.
  • Fishtail and trumpet gowns.
  • Backless tops
  • Platforms, block heels, and kitten heels.
  • Denim pants, skirts and jackets.
  • Cropped jackets
  • The little black dress (LBD)
  • Flared trousers and palazzo pants.
  • Circle skirts and tea-dresses.

Modern reproductions of the above clothing and footwear styles are recreated to suit the present times, the modern woman's temperament, and the general fashion trends on the market. But does this tell us anything? It does. It tells us that the fashion design of over three decades ago still stand the test of time.

Fabulous Style of the 50s

Fabulous Style of the 50s

Fabulous Clothing of the 1950s

According to popular polls (also see below), more people seem to be in favour of fashion of the fifties. Could it be because of the sheer elegance of the fashionable clothes of that era, or the graceful fluidity of a woman’s carriage when all dressed up walking down the street? Probably both.

The hot fashion trends of the 50s are characterised by the following:

  • Chic Dior dresses
  • Crinoline evening dresses
  • Long trumpet skirts
  • Circle and poodle skirts
  • Hip-hugging jackets
  • Pencil skirts with slits
  • Figure-fitting sheath dresses
  • The ‘sack’ dress (a throwback from the 1920s)
  • Tunics with bell-shaped peplums
  • Large wide stoles
  • Mink or sable edged evening coats
  • Tailored skirt suits

There were also tailored coats made in lace, chiffon, and organdie. These were worn over narrow summer dresses and long pencil skirts.

The fabulous clothing of this decade was not only graceful and shape flattering, it was also a mix of many new styles from the early to late fifties. So, if you feel inspired to go the vintage fashion way, and want to dress like women of the 50s, the above are some styles to inspire you.

Trends of the 60s Women

Trends of the 60s Women

At the turn of the decade, fashion hadn’t changed that much from the fabulous clothing of the earlier decade, but by the mid-60s, the London mod scene became the ‘dictator’ of fashion trends. Hemlines started to become shorter, finally capping it with the popular mini skirts and dresses.

It was during this era that the quintessential girlie look developed, and clothing designs were characterised by slim cuts and simple lines. Tubular clothing and skimpy A-line dresses gave way to flared and pencil cut skirts of the past while the peace sign was introduced into fashion. And how can we forget the bold prints and busy patterns that typified the clothes of the sixties?

Women’s style of the 1960s include:

  • Paisley shirts
  • Bell Bottoms
  • Culottes
  • Tunics
  • Unisex clothing
  • Polyester pants
  • Mini and midi dresses and skirts
  • Sleeveless shift dresses
  • Brocades
  • Sheer dresses
  • Princess panel dresses
  • Overskirt dresses
  • Batiste dresses

Some of the great fashion designers that created some of these fabulous clothes include British fashion icon Mary Quant, Biba, Paco Rabanne, Givenchy, Emilio Pucci, and Ossie Clarke. Fashion icons include celebrities like Twiggy, and First Lady Jackie Kennedy, who “led the change with her ubiquitous clean dresses and pillbox hats.”

Boutiques in the UK like Biba and Miss Mouse promoted and sold some of the 60s designs and played major roles in endorsing the new, more relaxed and colourful clothing styles for fashionable women.

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1970s Clothing Styles for Women

The 70s was the era of hot disco scenes! It brought denim and neutral tones into the spotlight, alongside pantsuits, corduroy, and leg warmers, and women were crazy about platform heels and maxi dresses. And though platforms were "chunky" and looked somewhat bulky and awkward, every woman had at least a few pairs in her wardrobe.

The 1970s heralded in its own style of clothing as it was a period of individual expression. It was more like a free-for-all ‘anything goes’ fashion period than about fitting in with a particular trend.

Many women dressed to please themselves though it doesn’t imply that they had no interest in high fashion. Clothes and fashion accessories modelled on the runway were more radical designs than the styles of the previous decades.

Prominent styles of the seventies include:

  • Midi and maxi dresses and skirts
  • Hot pants
  • Full length flowing gowns
  • Flared pants
  • Bell-sleeve blouses
  • Pantsuits
  • Hippie style clothing
  • Dungarees (overalls)
  • Karl Lagerfeld suits (Chloe)
  • Blazers
  • Jacket and skirts suits
  • Soft 'wet look' leather elastic-waist pants

Popular fabrics include exotic prints, polyester, satin, checks, and very bright coloured textiles. Clothing designs with embroidered details, including corduroy and velvet were quite popular too.

Women of the earlier part of the 1980s loved soft textiles and neutral colours like beige, brown, tan, and pale orange but by the latter part of the decade, bright neon colours became highly popular.

In the 80s jeans went from smart, sporty, or a casual ranch weekend wear to a hot fashion trend that became a glamorous wardrobe must-have. There were spandex and shoulder-pads, and popular fashion accessories were belts, scarves, and bracelets.

Interestingly, when you think of the 80s, you’ll remember hair spray, and excessive makeup, and bright flashy apparel.

Hot fashion trends of the 1980s include:

  • Turtleneck jumpers
  • Pleated skirts and sweaters
  • Frilly and lacy tops
  • Silk blouses
  • Denim jeans (with wild bleaching, stone washing, dyeing and pre-made holes)
  • Pleated pants
  • High-waist pants (snug fit)
  • Tunics with leggings

The 1980s was the era of the Yuppies who had more disposable income than their counterparts of previous decades. This group of young and upwardly mobile professionals were utterly brand loyal and wearing certain brands of clothing became their way of making a fashion statement! Popular brands of the eighties include:

  • Ralph Lauren
  • Calvin Klein
  • The Gap
  • Lacoste
  • Jean Paul Gaultier
  • Donna Karan
  • Vanderbilt Jeans
  • Moschino
  • Vivienne Westwood
  • Giorgio Armani
  • Dolce and Gabbana

Further reading:

Vintage Clothing Styles We'll Hate to See Comeback

Fabulous Clothing Styles of the 1990s

Minimalism was the trend of the 90s which simply meant 'less is more'. It was unlike the loud and not-so-classy women’s fashion of the 1980s.

Lycra played a prominent role, and so did the hip-hop trend, long hairs, and Goth styles that made a great impression on women’s fashion. Some common items of clothing and fashion accessories from the 1990s are:

  • Flannel shirts
  • Black leggings
  • Silk blouses and shirts
  • Birkenstocks
  • Denim wear
  • Turtleneck tops, worn under sweaters
  • T-Shirts
  • Sweatpants
  • Over-sized sweaters
  • Low-heeled shoes

Around the mid-eighties, fashion became inspired by styles of the 70s, with the young crowd wearing bell-bottoms, tie-dye tops, and homemade jewellery. However, by the end of the decade, fashion became more similar to what we saw when the new millennium rolled in.

Sexier clothing reappeared, and tight-fitting clothes were worn once again as glamorous styles. Soon, those earlier fabulous clothing slowly returned to the fashion scene, making fashion designers breathe a huge sigh of relief.

© 2009 viryabo

Comments Are Welcome

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on May 20, 2014:

That makes the two of us Sandyspider. Thanks for visiting.

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on May 20, 2014:

I enjoy seeing the fashion trends. Audrey Hepburn was always up there in my book of classy ladies.

Chris Hugh on April 30, 2012:

Audrey Hepburn certainly looked lovely and elegant at every stage in her life. She's someone I'd like to emulate.

Great hub, thanks for the inspiration.

Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on April 28, 2012:

Voted for 1950's.

1960's was my decade, but I love the 1950's fashion style a lot better. Loved the strong appeal of vintage. I'm a fan of all these comeback. Count me in!

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on June 16, 2011:

And even the mini outfits. I can't believe i used to wear such short skirts made from a quarter of a yard of fabric. LOL.

Thanks for visiting Ebower.


Erin Bower from Georgia on June 16, 2011:

It is very interesting to me how fashion is always recycled. I remember wearing bell-bottoms in the 90's and it's fascinating that the 90's and 70's are coming back in today.

himangi on April 18, 2011:

hey this thing just influence me a lot i m very happy to visit this ..admirable..good ...

mysisters on March 22, 2011:

Great Hub. Audrey is definitely an inspiration. I really love how a lot of styles from back then are coming back.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on August 07, 2010:

I agree yenajeon. Real fabulous clothing.

Thanks for visiting and for leaying a nice comment.


Yena Williams from California on July 31, 2010:

I love 60's fashion. Its gorgeous! It's going to make a comeback soon, I predict for spring 2011!

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on May 16, 2010:

LOL!!! Lisa, yes, those shorts are hot. You are right. Fabulous clothing and style really is a personal expression and a personal fashion signature. And as fashion seems cyclic, we can be bold enough to don unique styles from any era. Its all about being bold and different.

Thanks for visiting and for leaving such nice comments.


Lisa Hess from on May 16, 2010:

Thing about fashion is that it is so rich in terms of personal expression and when the time is right can be so hot and sexy too. Can't get enough - feed me hot fashion. Those tattered shorts with the gstring make me want to be a very bad girl.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on November 05, 2009:

Thanks keira. I can tell that you do love fashion. Style is nice!

keira7 on November 05, 2009:

You are fabulous my friend.:) I love fashion. Great hub and I love when you had your touch of class.:) God Bless.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on November 01, 2009:

The bygone era fashion style still beats today's IMO. That's why i love vintage inspired clothing. They 'ooze' class.

Thanks for your visit and nice comme nts Gpage.


GPAGE from California on November 01, 2009:

Very god hub. I like to look back at all of the styles. Really interesting!


viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on November 01, 2009:

Hi bingshee,thanks for the visit.

bingskee from Quezon City, Philippines on November 01, 2009:

very informative. like the audrey look.

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