Jun 13

Fashion Pieces That Changed What Women Wear

“What we wear is a statement of who we are. There is much more to the shoes on your feet and the coat on your back. What you call trendy today, may have been something more to your ancestors. Fashion Items That Changed The World is a video list created by TheRichest. It briefly details eight significant items from fashion history that made the fashion world what it is today.

We have updated the list to include a few more iconic items so what you see below are the most influential and revolutionary fashion trends and statements of all time…the history of clothing and accessories that we wear today

marilyn-monroe-in-bikiniThe Bikini

On the 5th of July, 1946, Louis Reard unveiled a daring 2 piece swimsuit, known as the bikini today at a popular swimming pool in Paris. Western countries banned the daring swim piece from public beaches and pools and the Vatican declared it sinful. The ever controversial Marilyn Monroe took the new fashion head on and posed in photos wearing it. By the end of the century the Bikini had become the most popular swim wear worldwide with many different styles, shapes and cuts. Go here for the complete story on the bikini.

high heelsHigh Heels

High Heeled shoes were originally created for wealthy men to show off their social status. They were the ideal shoe for horseback riding as they kept the foot locked in the stirrups. Catherine De Medci was the first woman to wear heels to make up for her short height. In 1950’s the stiletto was born by Roger-Henri Vivier and grew quickly in popularity and is still a firm favorite today. The complete story on high heels is here, but also check out All About Shoes here in the Library and How To Walk in High Heels.

leather jacketThe Leather Jacket

The leather jacket was worn by aviators and the military in the early 1900’s. The late half of 20th century saw the leather jacket appear in Hollywood movies. All characters who wore this piece of clothing was regarded as cool. In most popular culture examples, the jackets are worn by people cultivating a rebellious image.  The Punk culture  “rocks” the leather jacket with accessories such as chains, studs, and cuts. So celebrities from movie stars to punk rockers to the Queen of Jordan have helped make the leather jacket an iconic item. You can read the fascinating history here.

 audrey hepburn in little black dressThe LBD (Little Black Dress)

Fashion icon Coco Channel introduced the world to the LBD in a 1926 Vogue issue. Before this black dresses were reserved for only those who were mourning and it was considered to be indecent when worn otherwise. With the rise in color TV we saw a rise in popularity of the LBD because colored clothing looked distorted on black and white screens before Technicolor was invented. It was intended to be long-lasting, versatile, affordable, accessible to the widest market possible and in a neutral color. Its ubiquity is such that it is often simply referred to as the “LBD. The “little black dress” is considered essential to a complete wardrobe by many women and fashion observers, who believe it a “rule of fashion” that every woman should own a simple, elegant black dress that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Check out all the ways to wear the “little black dress”

The black Givenchy dress of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, epitomized the standard for wearing little black dresses accessorized with pearls (together called “basic black”), as was frequently seen throughout the early 1960s. A complete history of this wonderful garment is here.

sunglasses Sunglasses

Centuries ago, the Inuit wore flattened walrus ivory “glasses” to block harmful UV rays from the sun. In early 1920s, sunglasses became widespread among movie stars to avoid recognition by fans and to hide redeye from powerful lights on sets. In 1938, LIFE Magazine claimed that sunglasses were simply a fad in America. During WWII Ray-Ban created anti-glare lenses for American fighter pilots which has become one of today’s most iconic styles, the Aviator. Fashion trends also draw on the “cool” image of sunglasses and association with a particular lifestyle, especially the close connection between sunglasses and beach life. In some cases, this connection serves as the core concept behind an entire brand. Read the extensive history of sunglasses here.

Wonderbra adThe Brassiere

The Brassiere derives from the French word “upper arm” and was first used in 1893. The Brassier was popularized by Vogue in 1907. However, garments designed to support a woman’s breasts date back to ancient Greece. By the 1920s most women had adopted a bandeau-style bra that flattened the breasts for the desired flapper dresses of the day. But it was the Hollywood starlets of the 1950s — think Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield — who embraced the increased support in bra design, inspiring a generation of women to adopt the “sweater girl” look.

The 1960s was a time of protest and fashions allowed women to go braless — some even burned their bras. But by the 1990s full support was back and the Wonderbra — thanks to supermodel Eva Herzigova — became a bestseller.

Today lingerie is big business. The bust supporter has come a long way .In 1955, a Canadian brand developed the “Wonderbra” which was the first push up bra on the market. Victoria’s Secret revolutionized the bra by showcasing intricate patterns and designs at fashion shows. It is estimated that $16 Billion per year is spent on bras worldwide.

Everything you could want to know about the bra is here, but don’t forget to look at our library section on All About Bras and check out out those 31 different types of bras and what is best for you.

fashion-paper-mini-dressThe Mini Skirt

Mary Quant created the mini skirt in 1965 and named her design after her favorite car the Mini Cooper. Quant wanted to create something practical and liberating allowing women to “run for the bus”. Owing to Quant’s position in the heart of fashionable “Swinging London“, the miniskirt was able to spread beyond a simple street fashion into a major international trend. The style came into prominence when Jean Shrimpton wore a short white shift dress,on 30 October 1965 at Derby Day, first day of the annual Melbourne Cup Carnival in Australia, where it caused a sensation. With the rise in hemlines, the wearing of tights or pantyhose, in place of stockings, became more common. Mary Quant cited this development in defence of the miniskirt:

Many European countries banned the Mini Skirt because they believed it was an invitation to rape. The Mini Skirt however became a symbol of woman’s freedom and expression in the late 60s. It is now a staple in woman’s fashion of all ages. You can read more about the miniskirt here or look at the video on 10 ways to wear the miniskirt.


THE world’s first knitting machine was invented in 1589. Queen Elizabeth I believed that the knitting machine was a national treasure and imposed the death penalty for anyone who attempted to take one out of England. In the 1930s the circular knitting machine was invented. It produced the first seamless stockings by knitting tubes of fabrics to which separate foot and toe pieces were later attached.

One of the most significant advancements in hosiery was the advent of nylon in 1938. The first nylon stockings appeared in New York stores on May 15, 1940. More than 72,000 pairs of nylons were sold on that first day. Before this, the majority of stockings were made of silk. As a consequence of the popularity of nylon stockings the Japanese silk market collapsed almost overnight. In the first year on the market, 64 million pairs of nylon stockings were sold and manufacturers could not keep up with demand.

But the shorter hemlines of the 1960s made stockings with their necessary suspenders, garters and garter belts difficult to conceal. As a result, fashion designers attached the stockings directly to panties and created the pantyhose. Nylon still remains the most widely used fibre in the production of hosiery. However, today, most hosiery is also made with Lycra, which gives the garment elasticity, durability and a better fit.

Want to know more, click here

vanessa-hudgens in blue jeansBlue Jeans

Blue jeans are, without a doubt, one of America’s biggest contributions to fashion, if not to the world in general. They’re a universally worn and loved garment that today are an important section of most people’s wardrobes—not to mention a $60 billion dollar global industry in their own right. It’s their versatility and staying power that led none other than Yves Saint Laurent to tell New York Magazine in 1983, “I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity—all I hope for in my clothes.”

Learn all about them here.