This image portrays the female beauty ideal in the early 1900s and the decades previous. The curvaceous and soft lines of her body represent the freedom of expression and the true, honest beauty of the female body. Women with this weight on their body nowadays could feel negatively about it due to today’s ideals, however, back then it was celebrated to the highest degree. I really love this image showing her beauty in full glory with her admiring herself and others looking on.
This 1910 image of a female beauty shows the fashion for the corseted wasp waist. The corset creates a definite hourglass figure through the use of a heavy-duty corset normally made using whalebone. The corset would be tied so tight that it even could damage the internal organs of the women and could often leave her breathless. My personal opinion of this look is the discomfort would outweigh the overall appeal of the wasp waist.
The 1920’s female ideal completely changed from the years previous. Women could bin their corsets and start to celebrate looser fitting outfits with a boyish feel. Hair was cut short to represent the freedom of expression during the roaring twenties. Women with boyish figures could at last be celebrated for being the beauty ideal and dresses were made with low waist lines to accentuate long legs. Beading was used on many garments to add weight and increase the movement of the fabric. Women could for the first time be as comfotable as a man. I love the 1920’s female ideal; the glitz and glamour of everyday outfits would make anyone feel good about themselves!
This image show a bunch of lovely 1930’s young women, showing off on the beach. Look how happy they look in swimwear in the height of summer. This era allowed the female ideal shape to become again curvaceous. Hemlines dropped again and allowed femininity to take pride of place in many outfits. Florals and girly colours were used to showcase the divide between men and women, where the 1920’s seemed to blur the gender through dressing more. This more curvaceous look really looks great and a lot of 1930’s inspired clothes can be seen on the catwalk and in the high street, which is great! Water for Elephants, a recent film by Francis Lawrence showcases 1930’s fashion perfectly in such amazing costume! Go check it out!
5- 1940 women were sexualised and in full femininity. Curves, legs, breasts, full make up, glamour hair and pin up style looks were popular. The female ideal was sexy, full figured, hourglass shaped and glamorous day and night. Perfection was key and women had the opportunity to try many newly introduced beauty products such as max factor pancake foundation, liquid silk stockings and pillar-box red lipstick. This look is also always available now in mainstream fashion and looks great on every shape, everyone loves a bit of glamour from time to time.
6- The 1950’s female ideal is basically an exaggerated 1940’s one. The waist was even more emphasised and hair and make up was flawless. The glamour icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren reined as style icons giving women aspirations to be glamorous. The glamour idea solely stemmed from Hollywood icons and film stars allowing women who didn’t fit the ‘ideal’ feel very excluded and insecure. The pressure to live up the ideal was tough and demanding, comparing this to today’s ‘slim ideal’ some people would say it’s a similar pressure felt today by some women.
Post by Zina Graber
Zina is a fashion styling student from Cornwall who has a huge interest in celebrating the female form and individuality through styling. I want to be part of changing women’s negative perceptions of themselves so I have recently created a campaign that promotes global style and fashion diversity. The idea is to collect photos of individuals around the world, no matter who you are and showcase you’re style to the world. Check out “What Ya Wearing World?” and find Zina on Twitter @whatyawearingw