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4 Feminist Fashion Trends That Changed the Image of Women

feminist fashion trends

Feminist fashion? Yes, it’s a thing. Today’s guest post from Olivia spotlights feminist fashion trends that have changed how we “see” women. It’s a powerful reminder that the fashion industry can impact far more than just what we put over our skin. Here’s Olivia.

On Feminist Fashion Trends and Female Empowerment

Women have changed the world through their countless contributions to literature, business, education, cinema, and society in general. From being the suffragettes to becoming the voice of the #metoo movement, women have come a long way to secure their rights in society.

Fashion is a way women have pushed forward the message of women’s empowerment. With feminist fashion, women have taught the world that style is more than just a way of life and it can be a catalyst of change. From the bloomer dress and miniskirts to little black dresses and pantsuits, female fashion has transformed and helped women express their agenda of liberty and freedom.

Below, look back at the defining moments in the history of feminist fashion.

4 Feminist Fashion Trends

1. Moving Forward from Conservative Dresses

Women’s fashion was primarily influenced by styles of the Edwardian era with modest and conservative dresses. Then in the 1850s (the time when feminism first really took off), the “Bloomer Dress” or the “Freedom Dress” was introduced by a group of suffragettes.

The reason the Freedom Dress became one of the feminist fashion trends was that Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and Susan B. Anthony (shown in the top photo) tirelessly promoted them. They did so because they believed it was freer and comfier than other styles, which helped females move about with ease.

Many women started wearing these dresses not only to support Susan B. Anthony and other standout females at the time but also for the comfort factor. Doing so drove feminist clothes to the next level, giving birth to brands that support prominent personalities, like how Shop Feminist backed Roe V. Wade with their printed shirts.

2. The Miniskirt Trend

When the miniskirt arrived on the fashion scene, it was a major transformer for feminist fashion forever. A short skirt with a hemline above the knee was edgy for the time. This piece of clothing is often 20-30 cm higher than the knee.

When first introduced, the miniskirt stood out as indicative of independent, empowered fashion. It was even more so one to include on this list of feminist fashion trends as some criticisms received on the miniskirt was that it exploited women.

As for who designed the miniskirt, there are different thoughts on this one. Many believe its style was heavily influenced by British designer Mary Quant and French designer André Courrèges in the 1960s. The name Mary gave the miniskirt stuck, by the way – She named it after her favorite car, The Mini.

What had begun for Mary as a rebellion against conservatism, the miniskirt was hugely popular. It was arguably the biggest thing on the style scene that decade. Around the same time, swimsuits emigrated from France, and bikinis became the talk of the town in America.

More Feminist Fashion Trends:

3. The Powerful Pantsuits

The 1960s was the decade when revealing dresses were popular among women. And then miniskirts married to pantsuits and became the power dressing style for working women.

In the spring of 1964, the French designer André Courrèges – yes, the miniskirt influencer, the same person! – launched a women’s version of the classic office pant and suit. In the years that followed, it became the official dress for working women and cemented their authority in the corporate world.

Carol Moseley Braun and Barbara Mikulski are credited with popularizing the pantsuit in American politics when they started wearing them during the sessions in the Senate. But it wasn’t until Hillary Clinton wore the outfit that it got global recognition. It was after this dress that women made a strong presence in the corporate world and worked shoulder to shoulder with the men.

4. The Unisex Era

As shades of boyish fashion were added to female style, it unleashed a new wave: A unisex fashion trend. Women started wearing new types of clothes that resembled the clothing styles of men. They included clothing items like button-down shirts, baseball caps, and sneakers. The idea was to break the shackles of discrimination in clothing in terms of gender.

Fashion today has become more androgynous, and it no longer has shades of sexism. The ripped jeans and t-shirts decorated with custom patches of feminist messages and short and bob-cut hairstyles rock feminist fashion trends.

The above four trends once changed the attitudes of people toward women. And they will continue to influence current and future fashion trends for years.

About Today’s Writer

Olivia Jones is an artist by passion and a blogger by profession. She has a fascination for nature and captures it in her artworks. In addition, she is an avid reader and likes to read books on fashion, lifestyle, self-improvement, and travel. She also likes photography and capturing shots of natural sceneries.

29 thoughts on “4 Feminist Fashion Trends That Changed the Image of Women”

  1. So Modishly Chic

    To be honest, I was a bit confused when I first saw the title because the I find the word feminist overused and got curious. Then I find the article is interesting and informative.

    1. Great point about self expression being the right of everyone, Jonathan :) Thanks for the question, kind of you. You’re welcome to link back to the original post but there’s no reblog button. So instead, you could create a new post, put the title and add “- reblog” to the end of said title, or something like that, and then put the original link in the post or part of the original (not full text). No pressure to do so but it’s great to have you as a reader here!

    2. Jonathan Caswell

      I have been reblogging post via copy and paste, of several bloggers I know…and there will be a direct link back to your original post. :D

  2. i’ve seen some ladies out there who wear that corporate suit just because they are business women and that’s how you show that even ladies can do what a man can do its just not about the dressing but its the way we are bringing up the equality

  3. kiraninprogress

    Greetings! I was wondering if you could checkout my new piece on Anti-abortion feminists and reproductive rights and comment some feedback. Looking forward to hearing from you. – Kiran

  4. Interesting post. I’m not sure about the androgynous bit. I’m still mulling it over. Why is it women have had to move towards men’s fashions, but men not towards women’s. Isn’t that still showing that the power lies with men?

    1. It’s a patriarchal system we’re still in, unfortunately, Norah. With a predominately male-oriented society from the get-go there’s still so much to do. It’s sad that unisex implies women taking men’s styles rather than vice versa, usually. I asked Olivia to reply to your thoughtful comment too as she wrote the post.

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