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  • Writer's pictureEmma

Fashion Trends 1920s - 1980s

Vintage clothing trends reflect the diversity and creativity of fashion from the 1920s right up to the 1980s. With such a wealth of styles available in vintage fashion stores you would be hard-pressed not to find an item that did not suit you perfectly.

1920s Fashion

Creative expression came alive in 1920s fashion with decadent, luxurious and innovative cuts. Women’s skirts were less restricted due to the introduction of shorter styles with slits and pleats which allowed far more movement. Short hair styles, which contributed to the typical boyish look of the era, complimented the fashionable cloche hat, while dresses which were cut low at the waist created a more masculine silhouette.

1930s Fashion

In 1930s fashion the flirtatious bias cut added glamour and elegance to dresses and evening gowns, and marked the return to a more lady-like silhouette. The classic dress styles that we associate with Ginger Rogers are timeless pieces that wouldn’t look out of place today.

1940s Fashion

Women’s 1940s fashion adopted a more masculine look, mainly due to the influence of WWII. Fabrics were scarce and so garments were borrowed from the wardrobes of absent men and tailored to fit a woman’s figure. Wide leg trousers were incredibly popular and super stylish. The 1940s tea dress was also born, allowing enough room to dance the jitterbug.

1950s Fashion

1950s fashion saw the return of European haute couture and a revival of feminine styles which highlighted the hourglass silhouette. Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe also influenced the latest addition to a lady’s wardrobe. Circle skirts and a-line dresses which were tight around the waist were a 50s fashion favourites whilst wiggle dresses meant that women were embracing their voluptuous curves.

1960s Fashion

The fashion of the early sixties retained the more conservative and feminine styles of the 1950s. Shift dresses, suits with short boxy jackets and full-skirted ball-gowns for the evening were the fashion of the time, reflecting Jacqueline Kennedy’s elegant choice of wardrobe. Indeed, it was the First Lady who contributed to the popularity of the pillbox hat. It was only in the mid-sixties that youth culture began to influence fashion trends, prompting the creation of Mary Quant’s daring mini-skirt and the bold, streamlined clothing worn by the Mods. Towards the end of decade the Hippie movement made its appearance, bringing along with it bell-bottomed jeans, tie-dyed tops, headbands and sandals.

1970s Fashion

Hot pants were a fashion hit in the disco era, along with flared trousers, jumpsuits and platform shoes. The film Saturday Night Fever inspired these archetypal trends, but there was more to 1970s fashion that the styles that appeared beneath the mirrored disco ball. During the 60s, fashion designers had dictated the length of the skirts and by the end of that decade almost every woman owned a mini, however by the 70s a lady could choose between a maxi, a midi, a mini and even a micro-mini. Empire waist dresses, knee-length peasant skirts and wrap coats were also incredibly popular.

1980s Fashion

Shoulder pads, popularised by Joan Collins and Linda Evans in the series Dynasty, are synonymous with 1980s fashion. In design terms, the aim was to create structure and accentuate a smaller waist but symbolically they represented the emergence of the powerful business woman. As always, film culture hugely influenced fashion trends and the popularity of movies such as Fame prompted a craze for dance clothing, causing leg warmers, leotards and headbands to become an everyday norm in the streets.


Visit my vintage at our vintage store based in Darwen, Lancashire for a wide range of original vintage dresses and vintage clothing as well as our range of reproduction rockabilly clothing and rockabilly dresses. You can also shop online 24/7 at for even more original vintage fashion.

Hope to see you all soon…

My Vintage



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