University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Power Suit"

Fashion History Symbolism & Other Fun Facts

Fashion Timeline. (Photo Credit: Pinterest)

Welcome fashion aficionados and history buffs! Fashion is more than just clothes; it’s a rich tapestry woven with culture, politics, and whimsy. Join us on a stylish journey through time as we explore some delightful and surprising fashion facts that have shaped the way we dress today.

THE TALE OF HIGH HEELS

Portrait of Louis XIV of France in 1701. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Think high heels are a modern invention? Think again! High heels date back to the 10th century, and they weren’t originally worn by women. Persian men wore heels while riding horses; the heels helped them stay secure in their stirrups. It wasn’t until the 16th century that high heels became popular among European nobility, both male and female, as a status symbol.

CORSETS

An illustration of a Corset, 1893. (Photo Credit: The Vintage News)

Corsets have been a staple of women’s fashion for centuries, evolving significantly over time. During the 19th century, tight-lacing was common, creating an impossibly tiny waist. Yet, corsets were not just about aesthetics; they played roles in health and social status too. Ironically, the feminist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw women burning their corsets as a symbol of liberation.

MEN IN SKIRTS

Ancient Roman Tunics and Togas. (Image Credit: Albert Kretschmer, painters and costumer to the Royal Court Theatre)

Do you know that in Ancient Greek and Roman times pants were considered uncivilized. Before trousers became the norm, men in many cultures wore skirts and robes. Ancient Egyptians donned kilts, while Roman men sported togas. In fact, the Scottish kilt, a symbol of national pride, remains a traditional garment. Today, many designers have embraced the idea of men in skirts, challenging gender norms and pushing boundaries.

THE BOUNTIFUL BUSTLE

A day dress, French, c. 1870. (Photo Credit: Kent State University Museum)

Travel back to the 1880s, and you’d find women wearing dresses with a distinctive feature: the bustle. This padded undergarment was worn at the back of a skirt to create a pronounced silhouette. Bustle skirts were a marvel of Victorian engineering, often intricately decorated with ruffles, lace, and bows. Although they symbolized opulence, bustles were difficult to move in.

DENIM

James Dean, in Rebel Without A Cause. (Photo Credit: John Kobal Foundation)

Denim jeans, a quintessential American garment, were invented in 1873 by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss as durable workwear for laborers. Originally called “waist overalls,” they gained popularity during the Gold Rush. By the 1950s, jeans became a symbol of rebellion among teenagers, thanks to cultural icons like James Dean. Today, denim is a fashion staple worldwide, transcending its humble beginnings.

HAT ATTACK

Liza Minelli as Sally Bowles in Cabaret (1972) wears a Bowler hat. (Photo Credit: Alamy)

Hats have made significant statements throughout history. In the Middle Ages, the type of hat you wore indicated your social status. The top hat, introduced in the late 18th century, became a symbol of sophistication along with other famous hats such as the bowler hat, the beret, and the cloche, while the Stetson symbolizes cowboy ruggedness and the American West.

THE BRA REVOLUTION

Mary Phelps Jacob and one of the first bras she created. (Photo Credit: India Times)

Did you know that World War I played a pivotal role in the popularization of the bra? Before the war, corsets were the norm for women, often made with metal boning. As the war effort ramped up, the need for metal in military equipment led to a shortage. Enter Mary Phelps Jacob, an American socialite who invented the modern bra in 1914 using silk handkerchiefs and ribbon. Her invention marked the beginning of a new era in women’s undergarments. Now bras are even worn on the outside, a symbol of the avant-garde.

THE ROARING TWENTIES’ REBELS

A flapper girl look. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The 1920s roared with change, and nothing epitomized this era of liberation more than the flappers. These daring young women defied conventional norms with their short-bobbed hair, bold makeup, and knee-length dresses. Flappers embraced jazz music, dance, and a freer lifestyle. Coco Chanel played a significant role in this movement, designing clothes that allowed women to move freely and express their newfound independence. She also introduced The Little Black Dress (LBD), a symbol of an essential wardrobe piece.

HOLLYWOOD’S PANTS PIONEER

Katharine Hepburn in 1939 wearing trousers. (Photo Credit: Shutterstck)

Long before pants became a staple in women’s wardrobes, one iconic figure in Hollywood was already breaking the mold: Katherine Hepburn. In the 1930s and 1940s, when it was still considered scandalous for women to wear trousers, her preference for high-waisted, wide-legged trousers made a powerful statement. A symbol of independence and defiance against gender norms.

THE BIKINI

French designer Louis Réard created the first bikini in 1946. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Introduced in 1946 by French designer Louis Réard, the bikini was named after the Bikini Atoll, where atomic bomb tests were conducted. The daring design was initially a controversial symbol but has since become a beachwear staple.

THE MINISKIRT REVOLUTION

Mary Quant’s 2019 exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. (Photo Credit: Getty)

The miniskirt, introduced by Mary Quant in the 1960s, was more than just a fashion statement; it symbolized the liberation and empowerment of women during the Swinging Sixties. It was daring, bold, and reflected the youthful rebellion of the era. The miniskirt has since become an enduring icon of fashion history, continually reinvented by designers worldwide.

THE POWER SUIT

Jerry Hall in Armani’s spring 1980 show. (Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal)

In the 1980s, the Power Suit became a symbol of women’s rising influence in the workplace. Pioneered by designers like Giorgio Armani, the suit featured broad shoulders and tailored lines, exuding confidence and authority. It marked a significant shift in women’s fashion, blending femininity with the sharpness traditionally associated with men’s business attire.

SUSTAINABLE FASHION: A RETURN TO ROOTS

Sustainability in fashion might seem like a modern concept, but it has deep historical roots. Before the rise of fast fashion, clothing was made to last and often recycled. In the early 20th century, it was common to repurpose and mend garments. The current movement towards sustainable fashion is a return to these values, emphasizing quality, longevity, both  symbols of environmental consciousness.

Care to share your favorite fashion history moments and symbols?

FALL 2019 BRIDAL – BREAKING THE RULES

- - Fashion Shows
Marchesa Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Marchesa Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

 Here comes the bride…and lucky for her, she has so many options to choose from. While Bridal Fashion Week took place earlier this month in New York City, designers offered plenty of show-stopping looks.

For most women around the world, their wedding dress is the most important and most expensive dress they will ever purchase. While following fashion fads may not always be ideal in the bridal market, following the top bridal designers around the world is a great way to interpret what trends to incorporate into your future bridal designs.

Nliss by Monique Lhuillier (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Bliss by Monique Lhuillier (Photo courtesy of the designer)

During Fall 2019 New York Bridal Fashion Week, many designers played it safe with frothy tulle skirts, intricate lace details, romantic 3D floral applique’s and of course, plenty of sleek, minimal dresses courtesy of the Meghan Markle effect. All were beautiful and perfect for the traditional bride.

Viktor & Rolf Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Viktor & Rolf Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Sareh Nouri (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Sareh Nouri (Photo courtesy of the designer)

What was refreshing this season was to see so many bridal designers step out of their comfort zone and offer their brides a variety of options. The runways were filled with chic power suits, youthful crop tops, seductive jumpsuits, romantic capes and even a effortless tracksuit. While these options may be daring for the ceremony itself, they are great options for all the events leading up to the wedding and even the reception.

Ready to take on the fall 2019 bridal trends? Here are the latest wedding dress trends future bridal designers need to know about now.

THE RETURN OF THE CROP TOP

It’s time to tone up those abs as crop tops were all the rage this season. Bridal designers are showing plenty of separates on the runway, such as cropped tops with sleek skirts. The look is a modern and fresh take on traditional bridal.

Laure de Sagazan (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Laure de Sagazan (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Cushnie Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Cushnie Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Rime Arodaky Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Rime Arodaky Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Willowby by Watters (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Willowby by Watters (Photo courtesy of the designer)

BHLDN  (Photo courtesy of the designer)

BHLDN (Photo courtesy of the designer)

JUMP RIGHT IN

Jumpsuits are here to stay as brides chose to change into seductive jumpsuits to let loose and dance the night away.

Ines di Santo  (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Ines di Santo (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Pronovias  (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Pronovias (Photo courtesy of the designer)

DB Studio by Davis's Bridal (Photo courtesy of Davis's Bridal)

DB Studio by Davis’s Bridal (Photo courtesy of Davis’s Bridal)

Savannah Miller Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Savannah Miller Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

SHORT AND SWEET

Thanks to social media, a bride’s wedding dress is just not the be-all-end-all. Today, brides are wearing looks for each event leading up to her big day. One perfect alternative is the bridal mini. Here are some of our favorites this season.

Vera Wang Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Vera Wang Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Idan Cohen (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Idan Cohen (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Justine Alexander (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Justine Alexander (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Viktor & Rolf Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Viktor & Rolf Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Cape Town

With so many sexy and transparent wedding gowns, a dramatic cape is the perfect cover up, especially for religious ceremonies. The added layers are equally exquisite from stunning embroideries to dramatic ruffles.

Naeem Khan Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Naeem Khan Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Berta (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Berta (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Allison Webb (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Allison Webb (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Tadashi Shoji Bridal (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Tadashi Shoji Bridal (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Zuhair Murad (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Zuhair Murad (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Breaking Traditions

Not every bride wants to wear a gown on her wedding day. Chic power suits and even athleisure looks are also on the menu. In addition, these relaxed options are perfect alternatives to all of the pre-wedding day events: bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, and the après wedding brunch with family and friends.

Gracy Accad (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Gracy Accad (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Theia Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Theia Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Savannah Miller (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Savannah Miller (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Elizabeth Fillmore  (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Elizabeth Fillmore (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Randi Rahm (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Randi Rahm (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Rime Arodaky (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Rime Arodaky (Photo courtesy of the designer)

IN LIVING COLOR

Not every girl wants to wear white on her wedding day. It’s refreshing to see more and more bridal designers incorporate color into their collections and still remain true to the romantic bridal aesthetic.

Reem Acra (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Reem Acra (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Vera Wang Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Vera Wang Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Dalaarna (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Dalaarna (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Lazaro (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Lazaro (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Ines di Santo (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Ines di Santo (Photo courtesy of the designer)

L. Wells Bridal (Photo courtesy of the designer)

L. Wells Bridal (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Got a fav?  Tell us, what’s your favorite bridal trend this season.