Queens! It’s March 8 today and celebrations are in order. Celebrations to mark years of struggle and breakthroughs that make us, women, essentially, who we are today. Speaking of breakthroughs, this piece is basically a huge shoutout to fashion and how it’s had our backs all this time. From moments, as far back as the 1900s, up to now, fashion has thrown game changers our way, all through the years. A quick recap of all empowering revolutions in women’s fashion, perhaps?
The 1900s marked the beginning of the restrictive 19th-century corset dumping. Thank God, couldn’t breathe just thinking about it and also the Suffragette movement which spoke about women's right to vote.
Which led to the traditional female wardrobe giving way to clothing for activities like swimming, walking and cycling. Later in the 1920s and 30s, pants made their way into women’s closets, in the aftermath of World War II because of the growing demand for jobs. They’d still go back to dresses during off-duty hours, though.
Now, the 50s were real exciting, because girls started wearing pants for style rather than function.
And that, my queens, set off a bunch of empowering alterations to the typically ‘feminine’ silhouette. In fact, the 70s were all about shapeless ‘hippie’ silhouettes - the boho maxi, loose shirts and lots of minis - and bell bottoms with Cuban shirts. Free spirits FTW.
‘Gender norms, what?’ was the motto of the 80s. Big shoulders, suits and chunky belts - all ordinarily ‘masculine’ fashion, were trademark elements you’d find in an 80s woman’s closet.
With the onset of the 2000s, small changes turned into big revolutions. Here are all the times trends were more than just fashion statements. They were also political statements standing for female empowerment.
Dior’s first woman Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chirui’s debut collection was the start of something big and new with the iconic ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ t-shirts.
Prabal Gurung’s AW ‘17 t-shirt series was a nod in the same direction, and it stuck. All the ‘GRL PWR’ and ‘Feminist AF’ t-shirts on Instagram are proof enough, no?
From being a ‘girly’ colour, pink went to become THE colour of 2017, thanks to Pantone. From Gigi Hadid to Sonam Kapoor, women from across industries and across the world dressed in support of the big pink comeback.
Hillary Clinton started it and the fashion girls of today won’t let it end, amirite? The former presidential candidate is a role model for millions of women across the world and her vast range of pantsuits is probably a giant reason why. She wears them, and she wears them well.
Here’s another one:
And here’s millennial queen bee Gigi Hadid - one of the most coveted supermodels of the decade, showing us who’s boss in this supremely chic androgynous pantsuit:
The comeback of a more comfortable, and stylish corset was another empowering fashion moment. A version which wouldn’t have you gasping for air half the time, or checking for broken ribs once taken off. From belts, and dresses to t-shirts, the corset was undeniably the biggest trend takeover the last couple of years. All thanks to Kim K!
Then, at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, the red carpet saw stars, men and women alike, dressed in head-to-toe black. A sartorial stand against sexual harassment and unjust pay for women in the movie industry. P.S. It was a sight for sore eyes. As Fall Out Boy once sang, “I’ll stop wearing black when they invent a darker colour’.
Padded shoulders stole the spotlight all through last year and turned it up further this year at fashion weeks as well. From fashion runways to edgy editorials, women are owning the big-shouldered look and how! Hope this one sticks around.
Happy Women’s Day, queens! V. V. IMP: Empowering fashion = empowered women. Empowered women empower women. Get it? Got it? Good.