Browse Exhibits (8 total)

Seventies Fashion

Excerpt taken from Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion:

"The 1970s was an era of striking contrasts in women’s fashions. In the early 1970s, the thigh-high miniskirt dominated, but by the end of the decade, most hemlines were well below the knee, some sweeping the ankles. The polyester double-knit pantsuit and platform shoes were favored by career women of the early 1970s, but a few years later, natural fibers and designer logos of the layered look prevailed in corporate offices. Sexualized styles such as hot pants and snug, hiphugger bell-bottoms were replaced by conservative looks in the mid-1970s, but returned in the disco era as skintight designer jeans and skin-baring tops for nights on the dance floor. The street looks of students and antiwar protestors vanished with the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, yet, at the end of the decade, rebellious youth found a new nonconformist identity with the tribal dress of punks. These and other iconic styles of the 1970s have endured decade after decade, and have been a constant source of inspiration for subsequent generations of designers." To learn more about fashion in the 1970's, click here. (Off campus users will need a HCC username and password for access.)

Delis Hill, Daniel. "American Women’s Fashions 1970–1979." Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion: Global Perspectives. Ed. Joanne B. Eicher and Phyllis G. Tortora. Oxford: Berg, 2010. Bloomsbury Fashion Central. Web. 29 Aug. 2019. <>.

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Sixties Fashion

The decade of the 1960s saw advancements in space exploration, pop culture becoming more prevalent in high forms of art and haute couture fashion, youth culture driving the market as children of the Baby Boom became teenagers, and an era of social unrest for Civil Rights and student protests against the Vietnam War. This rebellion towards the traditional and simultaneous advancements in science and technology are reflected in the fashion and clothing of the era.  Demonstrated by silhouettes that reject the restrictive undergarments of the 40s and 50s, showing off more of the body in “body conscious” fashions such as the mini skirt, loud colors, bold prints, and the increased use of synthetic fabrics, futuristic and rebellious styles were pervasive during the era. Pant suits for women and trousers in haute couture fashion made the staple in women’s casual attire pushed for more androgynous styles on the runways in Paris as well as in the hair salons as women’s hair became shorter and men’s hair became longer. The mass consumption of the 1960s and increasing demand for quality clothing made high fashion available to larger audience with the advancement of mass culture and use of man-made materials.  

This exhibit also features a number of hats, handbags, and shoes from the decade.


Nii, Rie  (2015). The Age of Technological Innovation – Fashion of the Second Half of the 20th Century. In Kyoto Costume Institute (Ed), Fashion: a history from the 18th to 20th Century. Taschen.  

Jenss, H. (2015). Icons of Modernity: Sixties Fashion and Youth Culture. In Fashioning Memory: Vintage Style and Youth Culture (pp. 37–64). London: Bloomsbury Academic. Retrieved May 03 2020, from 

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Twenties Fashion

Excerpt taken from The Berg Companion to Fashion:

"The 1920s focused on the display of the slim, youthful body through the use of short skirts and dropped waists. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and Jean Patou were particularly known for this youthful, sporty style. The flapper took this fashionable ideal to the extreme and wore the shortest skirts possible, low cloches, and negligible underwear. Evening dresses were sleeveless, flashy, and frequently featured slit skirts meant to enable active dancing. She bobbed her hair, wore obvious makeup, and sunbathed in skimpy, one-piece bathing suits. The “fast living” ethos of the 1920s was widely perceived to be a direct consequence of World War I. During wartime, many young women experienced freedoms previously unheard of, such as taking jobs, shortening skirts, driving cars, and cutting their hair. Competition for male attention was paramount since the pool of eligible men had been depleted during the war, and this probably contributed to the flashier fashions and aggressive behavior of many young women. Outrageous behavior and dress were seen as an investment against spinsterhood or, at the very least, boredom." 

Sauro, Clare. "Flappers." The Berg Companion to Fashion. Ed. Valerie Steele. Oxford: Bloomsbury Academic, 2010. Bloomsbury Fashion Central. Web. 02 Jun. 2020. <>.

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Fifties Fashion

The 1950’s brought a style revolution for women in the United States largely attributed to Christian Dior’s “New Look” campaign started in 1947. Once WWII was over, after undergoing a utilarian fashioned decade, women were eager to reinvent themselves by embracing a more feminine silhouette.  What Dior started continued throughout the decade creating  a movement that largely styled women in dresses with soft shoulders, prominent bust lines, narrow waists, and full skirts.  This new and glamourous style was epitomize on television and on large screens by such icons such as Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn, and Marilyn Monroe. This exhibit reflects this style with Claire McCardell’s’ empire waist dress, Carrie Munn’s pink lace cocktail dress and two unknown designer party dresses, a Bergdorf Goodman original evening gown and two wedding dresses. Coordinating accessories such as cocktail hats, clutch handbags, short and long gloves and costume jewelry, were very important during this era and illustrated the complete look women were aspiring for.  This exhibit also features a number of handbags and hats from the decade. 

Cited sources:

Tortora, Phyllis G, and Sara B. Marcketti. Survey of Historic Costume. New York: Fairchild Books, 2015. Print.

Walford, Jonathan. 1950s American Fashion. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2012. Internet resource.

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1980s Fashion


Defined by bold style, bright colors and exaggerated silhouettes, the 1980s embraced maximalist fashion over the minimalistic air of previous decades. From punk wear, shoulder pads, ruffles, and sequins, the statement styles of the 80’s infused cultural and societal nuances into statement pieces that heralded an eclectic sense of self-expression.

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