As a new century rolled in, the fashion of both genders underwent some serious changes. Although not as ground breaking as the concept of women wearing trousers or the intense colour pops of the 60’s and 70’s, the fashion of the 1910’s certainly played it’s part in changing ideas about what was and wasn’t acceptable for women to wear.

Photo: rich701 Flickr
Photo: rich701 Flickr

For most of us, knowledge of the fashion of the early 20th century is lost between the stuffiness of the Victorian collar and bustle (originally worn to make the butt look bigger. Say what you want Kim K, the Victorians were one of the first to be all about the big behinds) and the glitzy, glamorous styles of Gatsby’s 1920’s. However, this was one of the first points in history when clothing became softer, and the woman’s body wasn’t forced to conform to what it was wearing. Yay comfort!

Yet, despite this ‘revolution’, there were still popular trends that clashed with this. One of these was the hobble skirt. Incredibly popular between 1910 and 1913, this uncomfortable piece of clothing looked like your typical, floor length skirt; except that it was pulled in tightly at the knee. How tight I hear you (maybe) ask? Well the name gives it away, wearing this would cause you to hobble all over town.

Photo: rich701 Flick
Photo: rich 701 Flickr

Despite this decided setback to women’s comfort, it was out with the heavy fabrics and in with light and bright colours. Wealthier women wore tailored suits, hats that really stood out and fur. Lots and lots of fur. Scarves, muffs, even full length fur coats. Very Cruella De Vil.

So, the first half of this decade was made up of bright colours, looser clothing and lower necklines. Skirts scandalously rose to well above the ankle (if you’d believe it, by 1916 women were wearing calf length dresses!) and fashion started to look much more like the styles of the Jazz Age that we know so well.

Yet everything changed in 1914. With the majority of men away fighting, women were required to get jobs and as a result fashion changed yet again. Enter the image of a British woman in a boiler suit, hair glamorously tied back with a bandana. Clothes needed to be more comfortable and better suited to their new activities, so it was out with the tailored suits and fur coats and in with simpler styles and darker colours.

The decade ended in dark colours and a sombre mood. But fear not! Coming next is the 1920’s, which everyone knows was wild, fun, and full of the promise of a new age!