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Today we’re exploring four exciting eras in fashion: the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Which one are you? Read on and see more images and get the patterns to create these looks yourself!

We all have our favorite fashion moments and eras, icons and styles. If you were to choose your favorite era from the list below, which would it be?



1920s The 20s usually brings the same word to everyone’s lips: flappers! The 20s modernized fashion. Out with corsets! In with short skirts and trousers! Fabrics were also changing and becoming more widely available— silk and wool were among the two most utilized fabrics and rayon was being introduced to consumers for the first time. The “Boyish Figure” was quite popular throughout the 20s (which really only worked for flat-chested girls and waifs though right?). Coco Chanel was one of the first women to wear trousers and cut her hair short at this time— she held the torch for modernizing women’s fashions around the globe. Sparkles and sequins were used to embellish gowns, and headbands and soft, curly hair were all the rage.



1930s The 30s were feminine and sleek. Think of metallic lame (invented in this time) and slinky silky fabrics, draped over womanly figures, taking center stage throughout this time. People liked to go out dancing and to listen to big band music. Dresses and gowns were cut on the bias (inspired by Vionnet), creating a super-sexy appeal. Parisian couturiers had a large influence on this gamine look, designers like Elsa Schiaparelli were especially inspired by costumes from film during this time, as well as their surrealist contemporaries like Man Ray, Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp. Hair was worn in soft perms and many women wore hats.



1940s 1940 was the year nylon stockings were invented, which completely changed women’s lives (until they were taken away to make parachutes for the war, which later caused riots when they were available again in shops!). Life during wartime is difficult, and the silhouette from this era was sharp and low-key— with broad, padded shoulders, knee length skirts, simply cut blouses and low heels. Many women had to look to men’s clothing to alter for themselves. Thus came the Eisenhower jacket, which was a men’s coat, altered at the shoulders and side seams and tightly belted at the waist. Because Americans couldn’t import European fashions at this time, Americans began looking to their compatriots for their wardrobes. Pompadour hairstyles were very popular, and many women wore pearls.



1950s America created the picture perfect (and perky chested) image of domesticity in magazine and television ad campaigns. Waists were high and nipped, skirts were full and made from yards of fabric. Dior’s “New Look” of rounded, soft shoulders and spiked heels took the world by storm. Coco Chanel, who made a comeback after WWII, invented the Chanel Suit (which is still being walked down the Paris runways each season) in 1954. Figures like Jackie-O who donned the look so well, inspired many women to dress in this fashion. Long, tightly fitted pants were also in the picture, as well as long jumpers, floral fabrics, fitted tops, white blouses, and of course— stilettos.

Which is your favorite era?



Try these patterns to recreate your own look: 1. Channel the 20s in a one shoulder dress made from a slinky metallic knit 2. Go for glamour and try this 30s inspired ruched waist dress 3. Relive the 40s in a cropped jacket and a sleek pencil skirt 4. Look like you’re straight out of the 50s in this fitted bustier top and go all Mad Men by pairing it with voluminous A-line skirt.

92 Comments

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    Oct 3, 2013, 07.20 AMby kavinhopes

    These fashion tips for women in their 40s help you stay looking great while reflecting maturity.

    Regards, Tomsfashion.com

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    Jul 23, 2011, 12.01 PMby tinyskids

    I love them all..

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    Jul 23, 2011, 12.01 PMby tinyskids

    I love them all..

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    May 25, 2011, 05.32 PMby lolaaa

    i love the 40s and 30s they really makes ladies loks like an angel!! but what about the very excellent and nice models of 2012? yeahh 2012 really more than angel ohhhhh yeah who agrees with me!!! reply to know

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    May 9, 2011, 10.00 PMby tambasmall

    My fave is the 1920’s.

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    Mar 20, 2011, 09.20 PMby inspirehope

    I love all the fashion eras mentioned(20’s, 30’s,40’s,50’s) as matter of fact I love all 20th century eras fashion wise. Like others have said the best part about living now in this era is that we can wear them all. We can modify these styles for our body types, moods and life in a way that the people before us couldn’t.

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    Mar 16, 2011, 02.07 PMby Cristina Haines

    1950s! I absolutely ADORE the three dresses you posted.

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    Mar 7, 2011, 03.46 AMby pambox

    all of them! i’m built for the 20s, love the full skirt femininity of the 50s, but have more patterns from the 40s than any other decade. and my absolute favourite pattern ever (mccall 9043, http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/McCall_9043) is from the 1930s.

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    Mar 6, 2011, 11.31 AMby ashleeelizabeth

    I am in love with the fashion of the 1920’s! I wish I lived in that time. The designs- classy & classic with elegant embellishments. Coco Chanel is a strong inspiration to anyone devoted to fashion.

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    Mar 5, 2011, 12.35 AMby ladymacbeth86

    I like them all; I guess it depends on my mood. I love the 30s-40s look the best form the pictures you put on the article.

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    Mar 4, 2011, 04.48 AMby Debbie Wells

    There is more inaccurate information int his article. Rayon was invented in 1884 but not mass produced until 1910 and even then not really used much until the 1940’s. It would have been unlikely to see 20’s and even 30’s gowns made with Rayon. Second the 1940’s did not wear pencil skirts. They were a-line. 50’s and into 60’s Mad Men style wore pencil skirts. This is a really common misconception. People are making 1940’s Cocktail dresses when in reality they are more late 50’s style or a blend of decades. I just researched and wrote and entire guide on 1940’s fashion. Google 1940’s style guide.

    Besides these minor errors this is a really nice article. Love all the pattern available today. I am into all eras from the 1800’s to mid 1960’s.

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    Mar 4, 2011, 01.51 AMby SewinPretty

    I am in LOVE with the 40’s! It’s just so beautiful and womanly:)

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    Mar 3, 2011, 12.08 PMby asperge11

    40’s

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    Mar 3, 2011, 11.07 AMby ruthw

    Thirties and forties, though “gamine” was more 20s and 60s, in my opinion, and it’s a very different different look than "womanly’.

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    Mar 3, 2011, 09.04 AMby mitmit

    I’m all about the present era where everything can be mixed and matched! I love all the eras mentioned above!

  • 1014094_10152652215983709_1627797358_n_large

    Mar 3, 2011, 09.04 AMby mitmit

    I’m all about the present era where everything can be mixed and matched! I love all the eras mentioned above!

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    Mar 3, 2011, 07.16 AMby sew4my3

    The styles of the 40’s seem to suit my silhouette the best. Even though the 60’s are not mentioned, my daughters love the retro figure fitting styles of that era.

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    Mar 3, 2011, 01.13 AMby dj1

    I m really loving the 40’s era the 50’s looking pretty nice …… man not enough time to sew …..but right now Im sewing up the 70’s!!!Pam Grier jumpsuit updated of course here I come..:)

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    Mar 3, 2011, 12.26 AMby cellarstella

    I love the 30’s bias-cut draping. Not so much the dead animals on their shoulders! The belted apricot dress is such a lovely example, but I especially like the smart style of the smoking lady. Second choice would be 40’s. I adore that “New Look” Dior shape!

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    Mar 2, 2011, 07.07 PMby MyRomanApartment

    What? No 1960’s?

    I love all the 1930’s gowns picked for this article. If only I had an excuse to look this slinky every day.

  • Missing

    Mar 2, 2011, 05.59 PMby Sherry Robinson

    I LOVE the fashions from the 1940’s. It was an era when women could dress like women and not be looked down on it for being feminine. Bring back the attitude of it’s okay to be a woman!!!

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    Mar 2, 2011, 05.52 PMby auntlizzie

    I always have and always will love the styles of the 50’s! So beautiful!

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