1910s Fashion


The 1910s brought new fashion styles for men’s and women’s apparel, such as fewer body-hugging suits for men compared to previous decades.

Paul Poiret was heavily influenced by Orientalist art forms like Ballets Russes’ performances of Scheherazade. His sheath dresses were undulated with color, while his cloche hats symbolized Asian culture.

Harem Pants

The 1910s marked a radical transformation in women’s fashion. Corsets, which had long been an essential part of wardrobes in Europe, became less necessary. Gradually they were replaced with dresses, skirts, and blouses that more closely fitted natural forms; women often donned calf-length dresses with wide waistbands narrowing towards the hem; tunic-like blouses with high necklines were popular; waistlines softened into closer proximity with natural figures in 1916 as women could move more freely without worrying about an “S” shape caused by straight fronted corsets – an enormous step forward that meant women no longer had to worry about an “S” shape caused by straight fronted corsets!

Paul Poiret was an influential fashion figure of this era for women. Dubbed an “oracle of style,” his designs were said to divine and define women’s desires through designs created by him. Additionally, inspired by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes performance of Scheherazade in 1911, Poiret created costumes that exuded an imaginary vision of Eastern cultures, such as his “lampshade tunics” from 1910 and 1911 harem pantaloons (both shown), which were examples of this style.

Poiret popularized wide-legged trousers as part of his signature Orientalist aesthetic, creating gowns with flowing columnar silhouettes evoking Oriental mysticism. Other designers were experimenting with this new trend, such as Jacques Doucet with fluid designs or Mariano Fortuny, who pioneered new methods of pleating and dyeing fabrics.

While men and women wore these garments, suffragettes saw them as a symbol of freedom. Many Native American communities were outraged to discover that Western fashion houses used traditional dress styles from their cultures without their consent, infuriating many Native communities that found their tradition being appropriated without proper knowledge or permission from Native people themselves.

Young boys also followed a similar trend when dressing themselves. By the early 1910s, younger boys’ uniforms consisted of flannel blazers with shorts or trousers for pants, as evidenced by both Carnegy brothers in fashion plate images and photographs by Mackay.

Walking Suits

Women often wore walking suits when they wanted to look their best and remain active or had jobs that required comfort. Made of wool for warmth and durability, walking suits typically featured a high collar jacket with an ankle-hi hemline; fur-trimmed hats were sometimes also added as accessories to these looks.

V-shaped necklines were popular choices for blouses and were frequently worn with high-collar shirts underneath, as seen here on a fashion plate. Sleeves had slim profiles from shoulder to elbow before becoming fuller at the wrist – often double-sleeved so their ends poked out of the wrist. Hemlines on dresses or skirts usually reached floor level, while bold, decorative hats were essential to an ensemble, often embellished with feathers or flowers for maximum impact.

Men’s fashion in this decade continued to evolve, with trousers becoming narrower and belts becoming optional. On more formal occasions, coats with bow ties or cravats were worn; frequently, these would also feature dickey or fedora hats for added effect. Young boys still favored wearing sailor suits as an emblem of authority, while dresses became shorter with less detail due to material rationing during World War I.

This three-piece walking suit comprises a white blouse, black jacket, and skirt in excellent condition. The blouse features cotton-like material while both jacket and skirt have heavy fall-weight wool fabric with a satin sheen finish for extra shine. It is well made and in great shape; its only noticeable flaw is a minor repair in the back under its collar – a fantastic find that would add beauty to any woman’s wardrobe!

Driving Clothes

Driving in 1910 required clothing items tailored explicitly for protection from dust, mud, and rain. Women typically wore suits consisting of jackets and skirts or dresses accompanied by full-length automobile “sweaters.” These sweaters were often knitted using fabrics designed to repel dirt. A hat was also part of their ensemble.

Though women were occasionally seen wearing house dresses in automobile photos, this was just an idealized glamour shot; no woman would drive in such garments except in rural areas with short distances to cover. Such long gowns were impractical and too risky in open-top cars with wind gusts, dust storms, debris from roads, and unpredictable drivers.

Women also wore cloaks and jackets over their dresses for extra protection when out and about. Blankets had looser silhouettes than bustle dresses while still featuring an enhanced waistline; sleeves were slim from shoulders but fuller at the elbow and wrist areas with cuffed ends; many women also sported dramatic hats featuring large feathers or flowers for added drama.

Between 1910 and 1920, fashion began to loosen significantly. French designers like Poiret encouraged this change by designing garments with more natural forms that followed the body rather than forcing tightly corseted shapes onto it as had been expected for decades prior. This shift contributed significantly to the formation of flapper-style fashion.

The 1910s witnessed an evolution in men’s trouser styles. While in the 1900s, most men favored fishtail back pants with the two-inch drop below their shoes, by 1910, trousers began narrowing towards the feet and became known as Norfolk jackets. Suspenders remained popular, but belts became more widespread. Additionally, men often don blazers, flannel trousers, vests with tall collars and stiff ties, and hats with fur or leather gloves while traveling on road trips.

Wartime Clothes

Fashion in the 1910s was significantly impacted by war and global events, as well as new designers. Parisian designer Paul Poiret made waves with loose chemise dresses that did away with corsets and narrowed from hip to ankle hobble skirts that often featured fringe or ribbon at their hems. Another innovative silhouette was the lampshade tunic: long dresses featuring wide hems worn over tighter undergarment garments.

Once America entered World War I in 1917, fashion evolved quickly. Designs featured less fabric use by simplifying cuts for dresses and skirts to conserve material use; dark hues like khaki and black that mimicked military uniforms also gained favor during this period of textile rationing; this also gave birth to items like the Utility dress as well as shirtwaist dresses (such as our 247 Lindy Dress).

Clothing during this era utilized an array of fabrics, such as industrial cloth and parachute silk. With fabric conservation on the rise, garment manufacturers began emphasizing slim lines. At the same time, designers like Norman Norell and Claire McCardell created dresses out of these new materials that still had stylish lines while remaining practical for daily life.

As the decade progressed, fashion changed from an S-shape silhouette of previous years to something that draped more fluidly across the body. An April 1910 issue of The Delineator predicted this transition: draped princess dresses would lead the fashion trends this season.

Skirts were tapered at the bottom, eschewing more luxurious fullness for practicality in 1910 dresses from Frick Collection’s 1910 dresses collection, designed to flatter women who had become used to wearing knee-length and floor-length skirts as fashion statements. Also, this era was when women could leave home and find work outside in various jobs outside their own.

Many women at this time found shortening their locks an appropriate solution, though others opted for using henna dyeing instead of the less-than-ideal chemical options available at that time. Henna provided an inexpensive, safe solution with natural-looking results.