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The Most Popular Women's Fashion Through the Decades (1900s-2010s)


Over the years, fashion has evolved, but it has also continued to revolve within itself. Women's fashion through the decades has always been sustained through creativity and innovation, but in every era, there is usually the popular style or styles. People like to jump on them; people like to wear the trendy fashion, and those popular styles are the very ones which last through the decades.

Ever wondered how your grannies slayed during their youth? Women, but also men, want to know which outfit was the most popular in previous eras, so that they can know whether to draw some inspiration from them, recreate them, or even bring them back into the fashion world as they were. So, let's take a look at the most popular women's fashion through the decades. 

Women's Fashion Trends through Decades 

Although in the 1900s, some modern changes began to enter into the culture to challenge the fashion of the past decades, which was brought about the shirt dresses, but most of those changes didn't become very evident immediately. Women's styles through the decade almost remained the same even when it got to the 1900s. They were mostly influenced by previous trends, the rules which the rich folks made, and the trends were very extravagant.


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1900s?

Bell-shaped fitted waistline skirts and blouses, but tailored dresses and shirt dresses were the most popular fashion trends through the first decade of the 1900s. Not that there were different ways to dress since fashion was not diverse as it is today. 

1900s corset dress

1900s corset dress

Long skirts were sewn to be fitted at the waistline; they had a bell shape and grazed the floor more often than not, and were worn with blouses which had either shorter or longer hands. But the dresses seemed more popular. Again, there were shorter, high collars tailored with lace material, which were more popular than dresses or blouses with long sleeves. The use of corsets made the dresses and skirts give the women that wore them an S shape as you can see in the image above. 

They were sometimes excessively embroidered, especially by those who could afford it, and the richer folks wore their outfits in silky materials, damask, chiffon, and satin. This trend favored the rich greatly, and made way for new trends by the end of the decade. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1910?

Dresses and skirts, worn with hats, boots or curved heels were the most popular outfits from the decade.

1910s dress

1910s dress

Women's clothing through the decade were not very varied, but women's fashion through the decades began to become distinct, slowly allowing new trends to find its way into the following fashion over the decades. The 1910s were distinct, the women mostly wore skirts that didn't sweep the floor, but let you see what they wore on their feet. These skirt and blouse attires also differed from the previous style because they were made a little tighter at the feet, unlike the wide ball gowns of the previous decades. They can be compared to present day pencil-skirts, but longer. The blouses were less complicated, more plainly-looking than the heavily embellished dresses of the previous decade. 

While this style was usually accompanied by tunics, jackets or fur-lined coats, adorned hats were worn a lot, too. Women often wore boots or curved heels. The fashion of this decade embraced modern style more. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1920s?

Simple and comfortable dresses were popular in the 1920s, popularly known as the garçonne. 

1920s garconne dress 

1920s garconne dress

After the First World War, the next decade was affected greatly. There was an impact on culture and society, which didn't leave fashion the same. Women's fashion through the decades took a very huge turn at this point. Women preferred simpler and comfortable outfits over double or multiple layers of clothes. 

Fashion History, quoting Jayne Shrimpton in Fashion in the 1920s, a dress historian, wrote about clothing through the decades in 1920 that, in the 1920s, women preferred their convenience, so the fashion trend then was more about clothes, which made them very comfortable. Gradually, that simplicity became predominant.

The dresses were not long like the outfits from the previous decades; they dropped from the waist, and were very popular. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1930s?

Silhouette and slender evening dresses with pronounced shoulders were popular in the 30s. 

1930s evening dress and formal Day dress 

1930s evening dress and formal Day dress

After the 20s, the trend went back to long, feminine and silhouette dresses, but better than the previous decades, they could hang around the ankle. Silk was a dress language of the rich, evening dresses dropped at the upper back. Both day and evening dresses hugged the body, embracing the curves that the 20s fashion covered up, and the day outfits could come in different designs and patterns. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1940s?

Knee-length dresses, suits and padded shoulders were popular.

1940s suit and knee-length dress

1940s suit and knee-length dress

The Second World War brought another era in women's fashion. Women wore knee-length dresses, and made out of their wardrobes, what they could, especially for simplicity, comfort, and diversity. But highlighting their curves with short suits and peplums to show femininity was a thing, as well as wearing lipsticks. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1950s?

Fashion at this point had begun to be diverse, so, the trend in the 50s included the wearing of pants, shorts, and dresses that left the shoulders bare. 

1950s new look and the curvy dress

1950s new look and the curvy dress

Designers still made conservative clothes, but women preferred casual and simpler attires, some of them seemingly boyish, like the wearing of pants and shorts. However, the curvy figured clothes were still very popular and predominant, with full hips and waists, as well as full busts. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1960s?

Diversity prevailed in the 60s; women wore different outfits such as miniskirts, pants, and bikinis for the beach. 

1960s diversity

1960s diversity

Women's fashion took a different turn in the 60s, with influences from the first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, who was seen wearing pants, the movies and across the world. The style and patterns were varied; stilettoes and go-go boots were very popular. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1970s?

Bell-bottom pants and miniskirts were very popular, even though they weren't the only popular fashion in the 70s.

70s Bell bottoms 

70s Bell bottoms
photo:@Tim Graham
At this point, there was no rule guiding fashion, people were free to wear what they pleased, and so, diverse outfits were worn by women. Hot pants, bell-bottom, miniskirts, jumpsuits, low-rise jeans among many others were in trend. People explored heavily this era. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1980s?

Denims, this period saw the wearing of jeans more than any other era before it. 

80s denim era

80s denim era

People continued to explore their fashion choices, but jeans were worn a lot in the 80s in different ways. Women wore overalls, high-waist jeans styled with tight tops, jean jackets, oversized shirts or sweaters with any shoes that matched. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 1990s?

Trousers, particularly in different styles like the high-rise jeans, pleated mini and midi skirts were popular in the 90s among various other outfits. 

All 90s outfits

All 90s outfits

Fashion knew no bounds at this point, so women wore whatever they pleased, but the 90s saw a trend where women wore lots of pants, and short skirts and dresses with all kinds of patterns. 

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What was the most popular fashion trend in the 2000s?

Hip-hop fashion inspired by technology and music stars was popular. 

The Y2K fashion

The Y2K fashion

Hip-hop fashion was the trend, the era became known as the Y2K or hip-hop era for that. It redefined fashion, and had an impact on every young person in that period. They had freedom to express and combine fashion with the development going on around them. 


What was the most popular fashion trend in the 2010s?

Athleisure, alternative fashion and a recycling of vintage fashion was trendy in the 2010s.

2010s Athleisure and Alternative fashion 

2010s Athleisure and Alternative fashion

These outfits were popular because they allowed people to explore what they had. They could easily be pulled off, especially the alternative fashion and the Athleisure, and they were versatile, so, they could be styled casually, for the gym and for work. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What was the most fashionable decade?

Fashion is progressive, at the same time, recycling; each era had its best. 

2. Does fashion go round in circles?

Yes, but it often gets upgraded. Fashion goes around and comes around, but it often passes through creativity and innovation. 

3. How does fashion change over time?

The freer people are to try out new things, the more creatives employ their skills to create trends. 

4. What are current fashion trends?

Fashion trends today are very varied. In different ways, past trends from centuries and decades ago get recreated and worn in more age appropriate ways. Fashion trends have never been so versatile, visiting vintage trends and bringing them back. 

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