1900 Victorian-era styling dominates. Daytime necklines are high. Legs and ankles are unseen. A tightly laced corset thrusts the body forward in an S-shaped curve. Bosom and hips are generously curved in contrast to the small waist. Shoulders are wide thanks to leg-o’-mutton sleeves. Skirts are full and worn over petticoats. This is the hourglass figure idealized by the drawings of Charles Dana Gibson which became known as the Gibson-girl look.
1910 The silhouette narrows as full skirts and the S-shaped body curve disappeared. The waist is still tightly corseted. The hobble skirt was a long tight skirt so restrictive that one must walk with small, mincing steps. Although the hobble skirt's popularity didn't last long, skirts stayed relatively narrow and began to rise; ankles were sometimes seen.
1919 The tubular silhouette becomes softer and more natural. Dresses are belted, but the waist is not pinched. The hemline is almost to mid-calf. Draping, tiers, and tunics created full hiplines. Legs and feet are now seen, so shoes and hosiery are now important.
A boyish, straight silhouette which ignores the bust line, waist and hips
becomes popular. Women sometimes bind their breasts to flatten them.
Many women go without corsets. Skirts are now at knee level, a new
high. Some indications of a low waistline. The cloche hat is
worn low over short, cropped hair. This
is what is known as the flapper look.
P. and Eubanks, K. (1994). Survey of Historic Costume, 2nd ed.
New York: Fairchild.