18th Century Fashion and It’s Influence on 21st Century Trends

1887 Words8 Pages
Have you ever noticed how fashion is constantly repeating itself? There are several trends that have come, gone, and come again. A few examples are bell bottoms, skinny jeans, leg warmers, and flannel shirts. But how far back do the repeating trends go? Styles from the 20th century repeat but some trends and styles you see today go back much further than that. Although 18th century clothing was a lot more elaborate then todays you can see its influence in fashion today. Although there are several examples of this two that will be discussed are the corset and the mens suit. During the 18th century Americans started to develop their own style slowly but were influenced by European fashions, most of which started in Paris. Other…show more content…
Cottons and linsley wool were often used among the average population (Carpenter) Dress of the working class was more simple, casual, undecorated and functional while dress of the upper class was more elaborate and made of finer fabrics, much like today. (Tortora and Eubank 229) The upper level of society also had the advantage of using embellishments and accessories. From diamonds, fur, and feathers to fans, laces and silk flowers, elite members of society used these extra flourishes to further make known their status (Fraser 641). The classic man’s three piece suit was first seen in the 17th and 18th centuries. “The birth of the three-piece suit, then, mean not only the donning of a new wardrobe: it meant the fashioning of a new masculinity, a new ideology about the morality, politics, and economics of elite men’s consumer practices, an ideology still prevalent today.” (Kuchta 2)
On October 8, 1666, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary, "The King hath yesterday in Council declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes, which he will never alter. It will be a vest, I know not well how; but it is to teach the nobility thrift, and will do good." (340) This was the introduction of the first part of the three piece suit, the vest; a sleeveless garment with pockets and buttons down the front. Later it was called ‘waistcoat’ because this new garment was cut and shaped so that it reached to
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