A Fashion Lesson For The Decades
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STYLE_Intro Card_AmericanWomen_v021 of 11
The Twenties2 of 11
By Lilah Nicolaidis
The original It Girl, so called after her first big break in the 1927 film "It," Clara Bow exemplified the country's fascination with flapper style. With kohl-rimmed eyes, shimmering beaded dresses, piles of glittering jewelry and opulent furs, Bow set the standard for fashionable women in the public eye.
The Thirties3 of 11
Famous for her risqué double entendres, actress Mae West relished the role of sex symbol and often appeared both on screen and off in bold, glamorous fashions that evoked more prosperous times. She loved strutting her stuff in sequins, feathers, fur and diamonds.
The Forties4 of 11
In a decade when most women were still wearing ladylike dresses and accessories, Katherine Hepburn defied the era's conventions of femininity and ushered in a chic new trend of wearing pantsuits and menswear-inspired separates.
The Fifties5 of 11
Christian Dior's glamorous "New Look" dresses exaggerated the hourglass shape of the female figure and captivated '50s women, who dreamed of living the good life. In a real-life American dream come true, Grace Kelly became a princess when she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956. Images of the blonde beauty with her hair swept back, wearing exquisite gowns and opulent clip earrings, still take our breath away.
The Sixties6 of 11
By the late '60s, American women were letting it all hang out and celebrating the freewheeling (and freedom-loving) lifestyle of the hippie generation. Fashions were dictated by rockers like Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell, who favored long, loose layers, flowing bohemian gowns and colorful beaded jewelry.
The Seventies7 of 11
Farrah Fawcett skyrocketed to fame in 1976, playing the vivacious Jill Munroe on "Charlie's Angels." The actress's hair was perhaps more copied than her clothes, but we're pretty sure she influenced women all over the world to try what became the seventies uniform: bell bottom blue jeans and loose peasant blouses.
The Eighties8 of 11
It seemed like everyone was prospering with the economic boom of the '80s and power was in. Women were going to work in record numbers, earning more money than ever before, and dressing the part. Wide, padded shoulders and no-nonsense heels became the look of choice for women, from the boardroom to the silver screen, including Brooke Shields (seen here on set in 1988).
The Nineties9 of 11
As the excess of the '80s quickly became vulgar, minimalism soon came to define the '90s and designers like Calvin Klein and Jil Sander ruled. Monochromatic looks in subtle shapes said, "I'm cool and I'm not even trying." In 1997, Jennifer Aniston's simply chic look (and yes, her hair) inspired the style of every American woman with a television set.
The New Aughts10 of 11
And then the pendulum swung back. By mid-2000, all we wanted was more, more, more, and fashion was prepared to give. It bags, gem-embellished shoes and dresses that cost more than a car were de rigueur. Young Hollywood typified this more-is-more look, with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen leading the pack of tiny starlets, who were practically weighed down by expensive and one-of-a-kind clothes, shoes and bags.
What's Next...11 of 11
How to define the look of this young decade? By modern elegance and a classic American sensibility. In a time when everyone is scaling back and less is more, Gwyneth Paltrow's long lace gown is the perfect example of glamour that's gorgeous without being flashy.
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