Fashion Fuses with Culture Throughout History

John Parks in an all denim outfit, giving off a classic 70s look. 

Remember when you were a kid and you dug through your parents’ closet being amazed by some of the old clothes they have?

There are lots to appreciate about fashion throughout the years by looking back on the past of what once was.

The concepts in fashion’s style are practically endless: from bell bottoms to neon-colored clothing to crop tops. The times have changed and so have the clothes people have worn, and these have all evolved within the past few decades. The style trends from many years ago to today can reflect heavily on the unique culture that the United States has.


The first decade we’ll take a look at is the 50s where men’s fashion moved toward a more casual style and on the flip side women approached elegant and formal types of fashion. 

These polar opposites included clothing for women such as dresses and matching skirt sets that were guided by a straight and slim silhouette. Menswear that took over during these years were emphasized by youth and working-class men that had pieces like velvet-collared jackets and narrow trousers. 

A famous fashion icon from this era was James Dean who had a brief career in film where he was seen to sport a white t-shirt, jeans and a red jacket. There was a divide in what each gender wore in this decade, but each group had unique stylistic choices to them that is still remembered today. 


Broad trends took over this decade across all ages and for men and women. The styles that were known to be cultivated by the ladies included ones that focused on elegance and youthfulness. Men took on themes in clothing relating to popular rock stars, military influence, and an increase in color and patterns. 

Women were all about the skirts, from skirt suits to miniskirts, all of which were playful additions to their wardrobes while maintaining a simple look. Menswear too became more casual and followed looks such as suits with bright colors and flared trousers. 

A notable fashion icon from this era was movie star Audrey Hepburn who embraced the decade’s progressive fashion and the femininity of it all. As the years went by, more hippie influence was on the horizon which ushered in items like loose-fitting clothing and tie-dye shirts.


The transition from the 60s to the 70s saw a bold selection of colors and patterns grab the attention of many. 

Women consumed glamorous looks and men chose suit types that adopted fabrics such as plaid and polyester. The decade began with a continuation of hippie wear along with the use of handmade materials and more freedom in girls’ attire. Men’s fashion had an emphasis on tall and lean figures while following bolder and brighter colors and patterns in pieces such as suits and tuxes. 

Mick Jagger served as a fashion icon during this time with the charm seen in his three-piece suit with a paisley shirt. The 70s was a pinnacle of fashion and a staple in the way vintage clothing is seen now.


A phrase that captures this era of fashion can be simply put as “bigger means better.” Clothing from these years tended to go over the top with shoulder pads, power suits and bold colors. 

Stylish sportswear was embraced by women and a romantic style was adopted as well. Men’s fashion took note of the fitness craze as well along with workwear and preppy designs. 

Princess Diana was a well-known fashion icon in this decade with her puffed sleeves and glam embellishments which reflected on those popular trends. These years were known as the time for power dressing and it is clear to see with the boldness in many outfits.


With the century coming to a close, fashion trends were becoming more casual. Staples from the 90s included oversized clothes, jeans and grunge. 

Minimalism was big among women with a move towards less glamorous looks and more about punk styles such as biker shorts and leggings and the desire for vintage clothing.

Menswear had influence from bands and hip-hop as well as urban and dressy casual looks that could be described by outfits with khakis, untucked shirts and flannel. 

Child stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen served as a great influence on fashion in this decade with their coordinated clothing, overalls and dresses to which many young girls looked up to them. These times had a big emphasis on casual styles while paying attention to various grunge looks.


From scarf headbands to denim vests, there were a variety of trends that caught the eye of many in the fashion world. 

To start the century off strong, womenswear emerged with different casual looks. These included tracksuits, low rise jeans and fringe. Men followed these concepts with much leisurewear such as sweatshirts, cargo pants and sneakers. 

A fashion icon from this decade was pop star Britney Spears. What she brought to the table was her fearless styles like crop tops and denim dresses, often seen on the red carpet and in her music videos. Fashion during this time is remembered for its boldness while remaining relaxed.


With the most recent decade of fashion in the books, these past couple years have been embodied by the influence of social media and breaking gender norms. 

The culture of this clothing for women included skinny jeans, rompers and athleisure. Men were seen to rock looks such as streetwear, hoodies and joggers. Fluidity in fashion started to become more common as men embraced feminine styles such as skirts and pastel colors and women took on masculinity by wearing suits and blazers. 

Rapper A$AP Rocky was influential for his numerous designer looks and sharp tailoring that still continues to be praised and looked up to. The minimalism and influencer culture reflects on the modern styles that are still being worn today. 

As early as the grooviness from the 70s to the eccentric styles not too long ago during the early 2000s, fashion has evolved each decade. Some looks still have similar features in simplicity and others have developed to how chic it is today. There can be a lot to learn and appreciate about our country’s culture in fashion as it continues to thrive and mature.




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