The Evolution of Business Apparel

Workwear has come a long way since the turn of the 20th century. While certain styles generated more impact than others, each decade spawned specific and innovative trends that moved the fashion of business apparel forward. In the early 1900s, women wore tight corsets and dramatic skirts, while men finally replaced formal suits with more leisurely ready-to-wear styles.

Soon after, women “followed suit” by getting rid of the corsets and donning professional blouses instead. For a brief moment in the 1930s, plaids and checks made an appearance before quickly reverting back toward darker tones in the ‘40s.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that professional attire became more playful, as men adopted Ivy League jackets and women fell in love with shape-enhancing dresses from Chanel. Over the following two decades, color and whimsy were the name of the game for everyone. Workers wore long lapels and psychedelic styles that expressed the flamboyant personality of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Some might argue that the ‘80s took a cringe-worthy turn, as yuppie culture inspired a vision of the future that didn’t quite withstand the test of time. Then again, present day fashions often borrow from the best of that time period in more appealing ways.

In more recent decades, work apparel finally took on a more casual-meets-professional tone. It also placed emphasis on durability as workplace safety became a much larger conversation.

Take a look at the timeline below to learn more about the many styles that influenced modern work culture today.

The Evolution of Business Apparel
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