Business Wear Through The Decades – 100 Years Of Women’s Workwear Style

2018 has been such a big year for women! Yes, ladies have been through so much in the past century, but we are now stronger than ever. If you are a fashion fanatic, the chances are you’ll want to know more about the changes that came upon business wear through the decades. Even if you’re not- this story is worth all of your attention. Women’s workwear style wasn’t always as liberal as today. So while you’re preparing your Coffee and Walnut Baked Doughnuts of the day, spare a minute or two to find out how ladies struggled in the past 100 years to get where we are today.

The 1920s- Coco Comes To The Rescue

Thanks to Coco Chanel, women’s workwear got a whole new dimension sometime around the middle of the 1920s. But the beginning wasn’t as bright as it sounds. The very low percentage of females that actually had a job opted for androgynous cuts which remind very much of a men’s suit. The iconic designer made sure that the ensembles stayed strong, but with a very soft feminine touch to them. Her cuts were still boyish, but with suitable fabrics such as wool, velvet and more. As you can imagine, everyone decided to follow. The flapper-inspired shapes gave women the long-awaited freedom and unlimited movement that was prevented by super-tight corsets. It is 2018, and Karl Lagerfeld still follows the basic rules set by the legendary Gabrielle.


By the mid-1920s, another type of women’s clothing has sprung up – waxed cotton. Not only this material waterproof, but it was also breathable. These features were quite new at the time and were considered as a technological advancement in the field. Waxed clothing quickly grew in popularity among women working in the outdoor industry, and especially in the country. Waxed cotton jackets for women quickly became popular and wax jackets and coats kept their popularity to this day in the UK.

The 1930s- The Golden Decade Of Power Suits

Feminism was suffering during the Depression, but not in the field of fashion. After Chanel’s breakout wave of female suits, another designer decided to join. Marcel Rochas created the first pantsuit in 1932. This is the decade when the percentage of working ladies grew, so there was a need for a new uniform. Actually, at that time, females were accused of trying to steal men’s jobs. That power suit we all love rocking today belongs from the ’30s. Women’s workwear style hasn’t changed that much after all.

The 1940s- Military Vibes

The number only gets higher, so the business wear goes through more changes. Now we’re in the time of “no waste” because of the Second World War. Women started wearing smaller, shorter and minimalist pieces to save material for the military uniforms. During the 1940s females and males wore very similar army-inspired ensembles in the same colors. 2018 might be the year of maximalism, but the chic olive green attire, pleats, and belted jackets are still a thing decades later.


The 1950s- Glamorous Ladies

In this amazing journey of business wear through the decades, we come to a time when ladies get to show off their femininity in the best possible way. Christian Dior debuted the iconic bar suit made of a pleated skirt and a belted blazer. Thanks to that silhouette, Monsieur Dior changed the course of fashion. This is the time when women’s workwear style gets those hints of sexy, more feminine silhouettes. Ladies also did quite an amazing job of accessorizing their work attire in the ’50s.

The 1960s- Show Some Leg

The 1960s is such an important decade for feminism. In 1963 John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, while in 1967 Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Presidential Executive Order, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex in hiring and employment. Business wear during this decade was strongly influenced by Jackie Kennedy. It was all about mini skirts, mini dresses, pussy-bow blouses, and a lot of hats. It was more casual compared to previous decades, but still very fashionable. These are the trends that us ladies still adore in 2018. You can find the most beautiful pussy-bow blouses at Simon Jersey and get the best offers and discounts with the Simon Jersey Discount Code.

“Hunting” (60th years).


The 1970s- Gender-Bending

More and more ladies join the workforce. Their main goal during this decade was to find the most comfortable women’s workwear style, while also staying on trend. That’s exactly what we all do almost 50 years later. This is a time when glam-rock becomes a thing, so ladies are here to follow. The outfits are once again more on androgynous side. There is a new trend in town, and it’s called unisex. Those masculine vibes in pants and structured layering were only meant to show extra power. Gender-bending is such a huge trend this year. The most luxurious fashion houses presented collections that break all existing lines between the two sexes.


The 1980s- The Era Of Exaggerated Shoulders

Males are still dominant, but women are doing everything in their power to stand out. The 1980s were all about oversized bold shoulders and loose pants. Another battle won, the first-ever female prime minister. The huge shoulders are meant to imitate the ones of a gentleman, alluding to the fact that the opposite sex is just as powerful. Yes, you can still rock bold shoulders, every fashionista seems to be doing it now.

The 1990s- Laid-Back Power Suiting

As women became more numerous, the huge shoulders meant to make a statement disappeared. It came a decade of more relaxed power suits, adored by all females. It’s a decade of minimalism when women felt free to make their own choices. The success only became bigger and bigger, so the tailoring started being more relaxed. Oversized suits are now once again in the focus, thanks to labels such as Dior, Marc Jacobs and more.

The 2000s- Jeans Are In

The denim revolution begins. Women are officially allowed to wear denim at work. Also, another huge step of the decade is the requirement that employers should not instruct ladies to wear anything against their wish as long as men are not instructed to wear the same thing. In other words, the same rules apply for both sexes. “Business casual” is the best two words to explain women’s workwear style in the 2000s.


As we’re approaching the end of another decade, it’s time to wrap up the long journey of business wear through the decades. Ladies gain more and more control in the office, making sure that their voice is heard. The past few years have been revolutionary not only in fashion. In the last eight years, the pants and blazers became tighter, and more relaxed once again. It has been quite a throwback to all the previous nine decades, with many come-backs of old trends. You can see ladies flaunting fabulous pantsuits, chic bold shoulders, belted jackets and stunning power suits. Who knows what the end of the decade will bring.




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