List of Contents
Introduction Page 2
England Page 3 to 7
Norway Page 9 to 12
Sweden Page 14 to 17
Denmark Page 19 to 23
Germany Page 25 to 28
The Netherlands Page 30 to 32
Hungary Page 34
Italy Page 36 to 41
Portugal Page 43 to 45
End Page 46
ÔFashionÕ in the early 1900Õs
Upper and middle classes
Fashion was very important for the people that lived in the early 1900Õs. ÒLa Belle poqueÓ, as it was called, lasted from roughly 1890 until 1914. It was an age of extravagance and style. Fashion adopted Art Nouveau and everything was worn with an air of luxury.
Upper-class ladies clothes were supposed to make the women seem mature, sophisticated and well bred. The ideal outfit would present a flowing silhouette, with the skirts curving outward over the ladies behind. Sometimes dresses also included trains, which flowed behind them when they walked. They were made out of soft, flowing fabrics, which revealed the figure. Full curves and a low bosom were extremely fashionable, the fashion changed from having an hourglass figure to an ÔS-bendÕ and tiny waists were frequently emphasised with belts and sashes of every kind. During winter, a more practical outfit was worn in the form of a tailored dress or suit. The dress had a walking length skirt, which swept just off the floor to keep it out of the mud when going outside. The suit was made up of a jacket, matching skirt and contrasting blouse.
Sport was just being discovered and so clothes had to be easier to wear and play in. It also meant that for the first time in a long period the ÔcorsetÕ, a piece of underwear that made women thinner, was finally dropped from fashion. Ladies at this time enjoyed many sports, including tennis, croquet, golf, fencing, riding, cycling and, of course, motoring. The arrival of the motorcar caused a new unique style of clothing to be developed. A long duster coat and a motoring hat with a large veil were considered essential for travelling in the open-top cars.
Men wore long slim trousers, slightly full at the top and jackets with broad, padded shoulders. They often dressed in waistcoats with lapels, as well as two types of coat: a ÔmorningÕ coat and a ÔsacÕ coat. When a man was motoring; a cap with goggles and a linen duster were worn.
Children from rich families wore frocks that grew longer as they grew older. Children in this era were usually sensibly dressed, with clothes made out of a practical material that looks pretty, but can be played in. In addition, various customs dressed siblings the same and children in miniature versions of what parents wore. Boys and girls were dressed nearly identically up to about the age of 12.
Rich family portrait
This picture shows a family portrait of a rich family in the early 1900s. The father is shown in the centre of the picture, he is the boss of the family, and he also earns or owns the money and house. The wife is dressed in the latest fashion and she is also wearing an s-bend corset which gave her a fashionable figure. In Edwardian times it was common to have 3-6 children, which now seems a lot. It would have meant a lot of clothes and washing!
Lower and working class
Compared to the rich, the poor people of the early 1900Õs did not have fashions. For one main reason: that they simply could not afford to buy new clothes every month to follow fashions. When a family had extra money, which was rare, they had to buy food and pay rent, so having the most up-to-date clothes was not the most important thing on their minds.
The rich had the money and the time to go shopping and make themselves look beautiful, therefore a lot can be said about the rich and their fashion in Edwardian times. However, there is very little that can be said about the poor and their fashion because of their money problems and their lifestyle, which was not suitable for fancy clothes.
Children wore hand-me-down clothes that were usually passed from brother to sister and from neighbour to neighbour. The clothes they wore frequently had holes in and were dirty, as there was little clean water and soap or time to do the washing. A possible image of a young girl and boy in the early 1900Õs could look like this:
For adults, their style of clothing was quite similar. They often got their clothes second hand from richer families.
This picture shows the servants who would have lived with a rich family in the early 1900s to help to run their large homes. Most of the servants, especially those who worked inside, would have had a uniform given to them by the family so that they looked smarter. The gardener and his boy might have worn their own clothes because they would get muddy while they worked. Some of the women servants were still expected to wear corsets; this was very uncomfortable for them when they were working. Being a servant to a wealthy household was a good job for a poor person because they got food, clothes and a bed to sleep on as well as a small wage.
Fashion around year 1900
Women have stopped using corset, so that they can move more easily. Do you know what a corset is?
This must be a man who is
going to a party. He even has
a top hat.
Do you think I would look smart in a top hat?
Look at these children. They must be rich. The girl has got a short dress the boy wears knee breeches.
I think these children have never seen a monkey before!
ÒBunadÓ is the Norwegian national costume. These days it has become a national symbol.
Shoes for children
Do you know something? They have started making special shoes for children!
Both boys and girls wear the same type of shoes.
I saw these shoes in a shop in Bergen:
LadiesÕ shoes: MensÕ shoes:
- Hello! he shouted out.
- I was wondering if you would like to tell me where I could find some new clothes?
- That depends on what you want, a little girl said.
- I donÕt know, maybe you could show me what there is.
- Yes, of course. We could show you what we have in the play.
- Oh, thank you! IÕll go and sit down until you are ready. The children walked backstage and changed their clothes. After a while a little boy came out on the stage.
- Here youÕll see Anna in a traditional folk costume. She is wearing a dress made of linen. Underneath she has a skirt and on top she has an apron. She is also wearing a hat. This is ordinary clothing for daily use.
- Fascinating! the monkey shouted.
- Yes. And next out on the stage is Sven with his own clothing that he wore when he came in with today. HeÕs wearing shirt, waistcoat, trousers and a long coat. On his head he has a hat which his mother made for him and gave him last Christmas. On his feet heÕs wearing socks and pair of shoes.
- I have never seen such beautiful clothes before, the monkey said.
- Well thatÕs the fashion these days.
- DonÕt you think they look nice, monkey?
- Oh of course. They look very typical for the adults.
- Now we are going to show what the children are wearing. Here you have Maria and Erik.
- Here you can see that the girls have a style that it is much like the older womenÕs clothes. And the boyÕs clothes are much more stylish and have a taste of the military uniform. You can also see that it is a little bit of sailor dress in the boyÕs clothes. To separate clothes for boys and girls, they have different colours. The boys have light blue and the girl have pink colours.
- Now I can see the difference, the monkey said happily. IÕm sorry but I have to leave you now, because I have one more thing to do before I go home again.
- Of course we understand you, it was a lot of fun to have you here, and we hope that we will meet you again. Have a nice trip and good luck with your life.
- Thanks my friends, I wish the same for you! Goodbye!
On the monkeyÕs way to the station, he heard some lovely music in the street.
When he began to look he saw a church. He thought that the music came from the church. So he decided to go in there.
When he came in the church was full of people, and he wondered what was going on. He sat down on a bench and suddenly he saw a couple in the front of the church. There was also a priest who was talking to the couple who were just getting married.
After the wedding the monkey wanted to have some pictures of them so he took his camera and took some photographs of them. He looked at his watch and saw that he was very late for the train, so he said goodbye and thanks to everyone. When he got on the train he thought about all the good times he had on this trip.
This is the picture of the couple that got married:
The word fashion has to do with personal style, clothing, design and accessories.
Fashion changes with time. It can fit the shape or modify the figure. To many people clothes is a way to show who you are. In the year 1900 rich people would use clothes and fashion to show their status in society. Poor people would still mostly think of clothes as something that should be practical and warm. But they would change clothes for school and churchgoing.
RICH LADY IN 1900.
In the 19th century, womenÕs costumes were made-up of a variety of parts that could be combined in many ways. Ladies would wear a dress or a skirt, and the upper part of the body was covered by blouse. It might be of fine silk or embroidered delicate fabric. Silk was highly desired for its luxurious qualities in Denmark. It seems to be high-class people who wore beautifully embroidered and high colour blouses with a full, yet closer fitting skirt and hat.
THE RICH LADY IN AND OUTSIDE THE HOME.
In the home the ladies wore long dresses but not so fine as if they were going out. The dresses they wore at home were normally in dark colours. They could wear the dresses because they did not have any kind of work, they had to do. They had to look pretty, because they had to live up to their husbandÕs reputation. A rich man looked for a wife, who knew about fashion and had class.
When they went out to dinner parties or out with some friends, they had to look their best.
The women wore long colourful dresses, and a fine hat that matched the dress. The hat was a symbol of status, and it showed other people that they were rich, upper-class people. The bigger the hats were, the more status they had. On the picture you can see five different hats. They are especially made in a special hat store for women. They are all very expensive. If it was a really fine dinner they had to wear long silk gloves.
Underneath their dress the women would wear a corset. A corset was a closefitting undergarment which was strapped onto the upper body to support the waistline and the hips. It was a custom that all fine women had to wear corset, because they had to look very slim. So if you had a pot-belly a corset could help you. But the corset was often so tight fitting that the women almost had trouble breathing. But they wanted to look slim even though they had to suffer.
Different types of corsets worn by women.
CHILDREN IN THE CITY AROUND 1900.
In the 1900 childrenÕs clothes was very different than it is today. Girls were always dressed in dresses, and the boys always in pants and nice shirts.
In the rich families the boys had some very fine trousers with a matching jacket and they wore butterflies or ties. The girls had some long, big and beautiful dresses. The girls often had hats which would match their dresses.
The rich people«s clothes was of a much better quality than the poor people«s.
When they went to school the children had to wear some kind of school-uniform, it was very fine clothes.
At home it was allowed not to wear hats and butterflies or ties. But they still had to look presentable, if guests or visitors might show up.
CHILDREN OUT IN THE COUNTRY IN 1900.
Out in the country they did not care much for fashion. They had practical clothes, because they had to wear clothes which they could work in. For example brown trousers, an old shirt and heavy boots. And sometimes they had hats on, mostly in the summertime, when they needed to protect themselves from the sun. It was normal to wear old and dirty clothes when you were a farmer«s boy or girl, because they had to be able to work in it.
Almost all the clothes was handmade. The woman in the house was often very good at sewing clothes, and if there was a big hole in the clothes, they would not throw it out. No, they kept it and mended it until the clothes was so ruined, that they could not use it anymore. The only kind of fine clothes they had was the one suit which they wore, when they went to church on Sundays. But it was not as fine as the rich people«s church clothes.
A farmer with his two boys. Both boys wear
a hat as protection from the sun.
Elegant evening wear.
A mother with her two daughters
are posing for the photographer.
It was very fashionable for boys to wear a sailor
suit. Young boys would wear short trousers, but
after the confirmation, boys wore long trousers.
Little girl dressed as an adult.
Now I know all about the fashion in Denmark.
The clothes change and women don«t wear corsets any more. The skirts are shorter and not so wide and they have wonderful hats.
The clothes are sporty, useful and elegant. They use make-up and the hair is short.
Typical for men in the cities is the dark hat, the long coat and boots.
In the villages men wear simple clothes, because they don«t have much money.
In 1904 girls wear on special accasions wonderful dresses. The clothes are long and have lots of bows and laces.
The small children wear simple clothes at home.
For the boys it is typical to wear a suit when there is a celebration. They look like a sailor.
In their freetime they have simple shorts and a pullover or a shirt.
Fashion in the Netherlands in 1900
In the countryside and in the fishing villages people wore simple working clothes.
On Sunday, when they all went to church, they wore their best clothes. Mostly these best clothes were traditional costumes. Every region has itÕs own style.
Still the older people wear these traditional clothes nowadays.
Dutch girls in different traditional clothes with typical Dutch products: tulips and cheese.
Fashion At the beginning of the 20th century people in Hungary liked wearing ãHungarianÓ clothes. These were
not exactly folk costumes, but the basic motives of our
folk dresses could be found on them. When there were
great national celebrations e.g. the 15th March the greatest national holiday in Hungary (commemorating
the revolution and war of independence in 1848) it was
expected to wear these clothes. Patriotism was a central
issue, and that required this kind of appearance.
In villages men still wore the traditional clothes which were comfortable while working in the fields or looking after animals.
In the towns and big cities clothes were more ãglobalÓ, you could probably see the same cut in Budapest which was in, in Vienna.
In the first half of the last century the gap between social classes was very deep. The poor and the rich had completely different lifestyles. And also living in the countryside was quite different from living in towns.
The way people used to dress was a mirror of their lifestyle.
However there were some basic rules followed by everybody. For example women were expected to have long hair fastened in buns. Trousers were not right for them, only long skirts were considered proper. All men used to wear a hat and on formal occasions they wore a dark suit with a waistcoat and a pocket watch. On these occasions also children were expected to wear a jacket, sometimes in a military style, and a pair of long trousers, while on week days they used to wear shorts, even if it was cold in winter.
Most of the people who lived in Tuscany were poor farmers who could not afford expensive clothes, so they wore very ordinary ones which were always the same day after day and put on the fine outfit on Sundays to go to church.
They had only one pair of black leather shoes for winter and clogs for summer. When they needed mending they were taken to the cobbler. Buying a new pair of shoes was seen as an important event which had to be planned beforehand. Clothes were mended too. Holes were covered with patches and the worn out material was put upside down and tailored again. Every single item was handmade, even socks were knitted. Nothing was ever thrown away, but shoes and clothes were handed down from the eldest to the youngest members of the family.
Those who lived in the country used to wear hats made of straw or of chequered cotton fabrics. Men belonging to the upper classes used straw hats for everyday walks and silk-hats on special occasions.
Women who belonged to the rich families could afford very expensive clothes, made of precious material in a fashionable style. They had the
opportunity to wear them to go to the theatre or to a party.
After the second world war things gradually changed. Some families belonging to the middle class could afford short holidays to the mountains or to the seaside. At that time sportswear was at the very beginning. It is interesting to see what a ski outfit looked like in the 30s, and what swimming costumes looked like in the same period.
There was a widespread sense of public decency which prevented people from being undressed, even if they were going to go for a swim or they were relaxing on the beach.
Fashion in Portugal
-The long skirts were very popular, because the ankles were not supposed to be seen.
The corset had a main goal: make ladiesÕ waist look thinner. It also helped the girls in their youth to look more elegant and it also transformed their bodies.
-Long hair with elaborated hairstyles
The three main pieces of clothing were the jacket, the pants and the waistcoat. Underneath, they used to wear a shirt and also a tie.
The hair was short and in the face exuberant mustaches, beards and side whiskers.
The hat was always present and their favourite was the top hat.
A family dressed for a party
Children and youngsters