S-Bend corsets were especially popular during the 1900s. It would produce a more “feminine” figure whereby the hips would be thrust outward. This was only emphasized by puffed, frilly blouses that would often have lace collars and broad ribbon ties. Women would often get custom-made dresses to accentuate their figures.
Many women didn’t wear makeup during the 1900s because it was still considered to be something for “women of the night.” Some high-class women wore makeup to make themselves look paler, which was accomplished with the use of arsenic. Pale skin was associated with wealth because it meant the person didn’t work outside.
Starting in 1910, fashion began to loosen up. Dress designs without corsets were utilized thanks to French designers. Instead of a constrained figure, dresses would be loose and drape on a woman’s body. Conservative women kept their corsets for a bit longer, but most American adopted this new, comfortable style of clothing.
By 1910, makeup became fashionable, thanks to ballet, but that didn’t mean all women could wear it. In 1915, Kansas legislature tried to make it a misdemeanor for women under the age of 44 to wear cosmetics. Eye shadow and eyebrow pencils made an appearance for home use, but the stigma kept women away. Many men thought rouge and makeup were a mark of sin and ugliness.
World War I had a significant impact on the United States, so it naturally affected fashion. Women gained the right to vote in the 1920s and were entering the workforce. Women of a certain age still dressed conservatively, but younger women went for shorter skirts with pleats, gathers, and slits to allow more motion. Low waist dresses also became popular along with the famous flapper style. Flapper dresses were often black, had a low waist, and fringe.
The 1920s is when makeup became really mainstream thanks to the film industry in Hollywood. Stars like Theda Bara encouraged women to wear mascara and experiment with kohl. Women began to put on dark eyes, rouge, and red lipstick. Coco Chanel also suggested women should tan. Fake tan products hit the market to provide both men and women with a “sun-kissed” look.
1930s Fashion: The Early ’30s
The Great Depression had a profound impact on fashion. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed fashionistas dropped the flapper look in exchange for sophistication. Looks were supposed to be classless, ageless, and reasonable as well as made with affordable materials. The end of the 1920s brought pants and shorts, so women often wore comfortable pants and tops.
1930s Fashion: The Late ’30s
That being said, the late 1930s brought a new wave as the Depression ended. Starlets in Hollywood brought glamor and Gucci. Dressing sporty became exceptionally popular at night, but during the day, women still wore streamlined designs that were practical.
The economic crash also had an impact on makeup. Makeup changed from the flapper look to something that was clean and light. Lips would be brighter, blush was applied to the cheeks rather than the whole face, and eyebrows became extremely thin—we’re talking single-line thin. Eyes were supposed to be softer rather than the all-around kohl look.
World War II began in 1939, and America’s fashion sense would change yet again. With manufacturing jobs being the norm, uniformity became inevitable. People were encouraged to make do with what they already owned. Service uniforms were constantly worn, and women were given ration coupons for new clothing purchases. Women also started to wear jeans, something that was once considered just for men.
The Second World War had a dramatic effect on cosmetics. They were in short supply since petroleum and alcohol (basic ingredients in cosmetics) were needed for the war. The only thing that wasn’t subtle was lips, which was often a bright red lipstick in colors like “Victory Red.” Other than that, women had to make do with what they had, and this often led to DIY makeup using burnt cork and beetroot juice.
1950s Fashion: The Early ’50s
At the end of WWII, fashion became much more extravagant, and this carried well into the 1950s. Rations were lifted, and this meant one thing: freedom. The ’50s can be categorized into two sections. The first was the early 1950s when poodle skirts and modest white blouses with oxford shoes reigned supreme. Women often tied ribbons in their curled hair and threw a cardigan sweater around their shoulders.
1950s Fashion: The Early ’50s
Housewives and older women preferred a tailored look. Swing skirts and girdles gave them an hourglass shape, although some women favored tight-fitting pencil skirts. Floral prints and cat-eye glasses also blew up in popularity.
1950s Fashion: The Late ’50s
The second era, the late 1950s, fashion moved toward something sexier. Women began emphasizing their hourglass bodies, and the classic pin-up style appeared. The pin-up fashion began when female sexuality became more acceptable to portray, whether a woman was walking down the street or at a photo shoot. Naturally, the pin-up style wouldn’t be complete without heavy makeup.
At the beginning of the 1950s, makeup was chic and elegant. Eye shadows were light with pastel tints while the lips were rich and intense, usually red. Brows grew thicker, were arched, and strong. By the late ’50s, the pin-up style influenced makeup to have black winged eyeliner, full red lips, and filled-in eyebrows with full arches. Beauty marks were drawn on to look like Marilyn Monroe.
1960s Fashion: The Early ’60s
The 1960s was a time of change, and it’s often considered a fashion revolution. The most popular clothing during the ’60s was bell-bottom jeans, but women could pick and choose what trends to follow based on personal tastes. Beatnik fashion and go-go dancers were two other really popular trends during the ’60s. Go-go boots became the go-to shoe during this era.
1960s Fashion: The Late ’60s
There was a huge turn in the mid-to-late ’60s as the hippie subculture took over. Psychedelic clothing became a hit, and colors became brighter and bolder. Hippie fashion consisted of bell-bottom jeans, maxi dresses, peasant blouses, fringed vests, flower patches, headbands, and sandals.
There were two stances on makeup during the ’60s. The decade was heavily influenced by feminism, so many women went without cosmetics. Instead, they threw them in a “Freedom Trash Can.” On the other hand, many women viewed makeup as a sense of expression. False eyelashes became the “it” thing thanks to models like Twiggy. Eye shadows were usually blue, grey, and white. Lipstick was often pale pinks or reds.
The 1970s brought an experimental phase after the psychedelic ’60s. After the Vietnam War started, mod subcultures and punk styles gained traction. In the early ’70s, bell sleeves and granny dresses were highly sought-after. Bell-bottoms jeans didn’t go anywhere, mostly since they paired perfectly with platform shoes. The ’70s also brought us disco culture. Basically, women could wear whatever they wanted.
The ’70s was a divided time in makeup. While some people sought after a “natural look,” others preferred color and pop. Women wore plenty of eye shadow, and lipsticks were new colors like lilac, green, and silver. Of course, there were those that still preferred the pale pinks and reds. Contouring and highlighting also became incredibly popular.
1980s Fashion: The Professional
It’s impossible to pin down the 1980s down to one trend. It was a melting pot of personal styles with countless trends, and it was anything but subtle. Everything had to be bigger and better. Huge shoulder pads and power suits became the professional thing to wear.
1980s Fashion: The Public
Punk also became pretty big, especially after the creation of MTV. One of the most influential pieces of the ’80s was most likely leggings. They stuck around for a while, and they’re still worn today—albeit much less colorful versions than in the ’80s.
The makeup of the 1980s was just as extreme as everything else. It was colorful, big, and dialed up to 11. Eyeshadows were often two, three, and sometimes four colors—all of them vibrant. Blush was used liberally and often a bright pink. Of course, eyeliner was super heavy, and lipsticks had to be dynamic. Even in the workforce, some women chose saturated colors that popped, but that isn’t to say there were no “natural” looks.
Hip-hop and alternative music had a massive impact on the ’90s. This inspired baggy pants and a rocker look with distressed denim. Other women preferred to wear preppy clothing like sweater vests, turtlenecks, khakis, and palettes of pink, green, and white. Thanks to pop music, many girls wanted to dress like their favorite stars. This meant low rise pants, tall heels, and tight-fitted clothing.
Makeup in the ’90s focused on three areas of the face: the eyebrows, the eyes, and the lips. Eyebrows had to be dark, defined, and well plucked. Eye shadow was often smoky, but women also experimented with browns, purples, greens, and blues. As for lipsticks, they were usually shades of apricot, brown, purple, and red. Although, lip gloss was often the lip product of choice.
The 2000s are referred to as the “mash-up” decade. Like the ’80s, it didn’t have one particular style. It recycled a lot of stuff from the past decades and called it vintage. Women’s fashion took a marked feminine turn as they began to wear denim miniskirts, jackets, halter tops, belly shirts, and low-rise jeans. Tunic dresses also got popular in the mid-2000s and were often paired with ballet flats.
Makeup in the early 2000s was much like the 1990s. Most women straightened their hair and spritzed on tons of sweet-smelling perfume. Makeup itself had to consist of thick, black eyeliner and glossy lips. Eyeshadows were often bright colors in shades like blue or purple. Smoky eyes were still incredibly popular during this decade.
This decade is almost over, and it’s been defined by a few things including hipster fashion, athleisure, and alternative fashions. There have been a few clothing trends in particular that stuck around through the decade like skinny jeans, wedge sneakers, leggings, and “mom” jeans. With the rise of social media and influencers, brands are crucial, so many designers made their logo large and easily visible.
A few things defined makeup in 2010. First, it started with neutral looks with a color-matched nude. However, more recently, dramatic eyeshadow looks are becoming more and more popular. On top of that, makeup today is seen as an expression of self and is experimented with like the art form it is.