Looking at pictures which are undated, chances are we could still place the period of time by the fashion worn on the pictures. Fashion is a virtual timeline, distinguishing one generation from another and yet, has the ability to return back from time to time.
Fashion has a great influence on American society. These are the trends that are seen as designs seen their way to the masses. American culture is pre-disposed to be "in-style." Those who set the benchmark of style have changed through the years. But no period saw greater changes in style than the twentieth century.
The early 1900s fashion was influenced by the introduction of that great American icon, the automobile. The women dresses that time included the dustcoat to protect their clothing from the dirt coming off the road. In 1920s, women's fashion shifted to the "flapper style" complete with short, simple fringed dresses and long pearls.
Then during the Depression Era, fashion style greatly changed. No longer was material a luxury. That time, women wore what they can find and afford. In the 1930s, movie stars set the women's fashion. During the war years, a trend of uniform-like sophisticated clothes which included padded shoulders, short skirts and a close tailored look became popular.
The 1950s saw the return to the full skirt and cinched in waists. Hollywood started it all by such movie stars as Marilyn Monroe after which they pattern their clothes. No one was ever more influential in women's fashion than the First Lady Jacqueline B. Kennedy when in the 1960s, women everywhere began wearing the pill box hat that Mrs. Kennedy popularized and emulated by them.
1970 fashion was about loose and comfortable bell-bottom pants and the tie dye. Discotheques mushroomed and did not go out of the scene until the end of the century. The disco fashionistas influenced an entire generation of their choices of clothes.
In the 1980s Madonna hit the scene. She changed the music world and the fashion industry. Her leggings, skirt, off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, headband and bracelets were all emulated by young girls.
The 1990s were different. In vogue then were sleek and sophisticated acid-wash jeans were young people wore throughout the decade.
Throughout the century, fashion has changed in almost everything except its name. What was then the turf of some privileged few has become an area in which all people enjoy regardless of status. The past art of hand craftsmanship which was then out of reach of the ordinary folks have gradually changed. But what has been influential in these changes can be attributed to outside forces such as the present political conditions or beliefs among societies in which women take part in.
Today the present capital of women's fashion is New York City. Paris was then the center of fashion until America came out the leader of fashion. Fashion has evolved into something that is no longer dictated by society. It is now accessible to all people.