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In 1918 Fashion was on the brink of changing and adapting more modern styles for women as well. The era of noble women in elaborate, long flowing dresses had come to an end. In times of World War 1, they had to work with less and simpler clothing items.
More practical or warm items where combined with elegant accessories. In a way this freed women's fashion, and it went from "ultra feminine" to adapting looks that are more neutral and comfortable.
The look I created is inspired by that era. Though not fully authentic, because I used modern clothing, it certainly is inspired by fashion from before the golden twenties hit (when glamour had a revival, at least for the upper class).
In my imagination a woman working in a WW1 office setting could have worn something like this. The blouse is dressy enough for an office setting, but the vest keeps her warm in times where heating systems weren't the same as now (or even no heating was used), the skirt is modest, but practical because of it's shorter length. Skirts were worn waist high and often belted. Flat loafers with a small heel, were both appropriate and comfortable for walking the distance to work.
The Tweed Coat provides warmth and is also very durable. In many places tweed was a popular garment because of it's durability, especially in Ireland and Great Britain.
Bowler hats were rarely worn by women during that time, but I felt in this case it would underline the few rather masculine elements this look features and make it a bit edgy. A men's hat, worn in a feminine way so to say.
I also imagine a large leather satchel would have been practical to carry documents, money, a of course food, because eating out wasn't common for workers.
"Classy girls wear pearls...", it would have certainly be true for the time. This pearl necklace might have been a family piece that would have been proudly worn by a woman who does not have much luxury left (this was very true for my family).
The vest features a "fair isle" pattern and would most likely have been hand knit (I love doing fair isle knitting myself!!)
I love that the hat is blue, which certainly makes it a bit more feminine!
Women during the time would not have worn their long hair down in such a fashion though. Very long hair was still common, but often tucked away and women began adapting shorter hair styles that ranged from mid back length to shoulder length (and finally chin length by the 20's!)
I had my hair bunned prior to this to create bun waves (they came out some because it was drizzling). Straight hair wasn't desired at the time and even considered awkward (!).
Blouse: My own vintage item from '97
Vest: My own vintage item from '95
Skirt: United Colors of Benetton (1999)
Tweed Coat: H&M (2012)
Handbag and hat: Currently available at H&M
Pearls: Vintage from Hell's Kitchen Flea Market in NYC
What can we learn from this?
Fast fashion isn't always the way to go...there is more to fashion than owning 10 shirts with lettering on them and 6 pairs of leggings. Women back then put a lot of thought into their (few) looks and I think in a time in which we have the luxury to pick what we want to wear, we should too.
Every woman should know how to combine and layer multiple pieces that she already owns, instead of buying a new shirt every week and simply throwing on whatever is hot.
Casual looks and fashion freedom is great! But don't forget about the classy looks that women of the past put so much love and thought into!
My family before and during that time (all maternal side of the family)
1912 - My great great grandmother, great grandmother (right) and her siblings, my grandpa's side.
1909 - great great grandfather and great great grandmother, great grandmother and great great great grandfather (on my grandpa's side)
1915 - my great great grandmother on my grandma's side, her look resembles mine a bit!
~ In memory of all my past time Family ~ most of them I never met, but they are remembered.
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