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Style Revolutions A Brief Fashion History Timeline

Style Revolutions: A Brief Fashion History Timeline

​​The world has seen all kinds of fashion statements over the years, but do you know them all? Check out our brief fashion history timeline.

What kind of styles will you find on our fashion history timeline?

"Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes." – Diana Vreeland. Fashion trends have been around for centuries. Trends come and go (and even come back), but one thing is for certain — style will always be around. To learn more about different style revolutions, check out our brief fashion history timeline.

Soak up all the knowledge below!



While fashion was not a huge statement in ancient civilizations, it was a great starting point since humans were already wearing clothes. Here are some key fashion styles during ancient eras:

  • Sumerian: Wool clothing, kaunakes (skirts made from fleece), woven clothes, cloth dresses
  • Egyptian: White linen, wrap-around linen skirt (kilt), fine pleated robes, wool clothing, sandals
  • Minoan: Loincloths with a belt or girdle, furs, kilts, codpieces, long skirts with girdles, bodices, collars that rose to a high peak at the back of the neck, cloaks, sashes, patterned aprons
  • Greek: Cloth bras (strophion), loincloths (perizoma), tunics, short capes or cloaks, shawls, long capes or cloaks, linen and wool fabrics, brooches
  • Roman: Wool/linen/silk fabrics, woven cloths, togas, tunics, cloaks, mantles

Middle Ages

The middle ages lasted from the 5th century to about the 15th century. Here are some of the main styles worn during these centuries:

  • Wool clothing
  • Linen undergarments
  • Bright colors
  • Pantyhose
  • Jackets
  • Tunics with a surcoat
  • Flowing gowns
  • Elaborate headwear
  • Peasant dresses

15th Century

We’ve made it out of the middle ages. Now, people are starting to indulge in more styles. Here’s what people were wearing during the 15th century:

  • Basic undergarment extended well below the knee with sleeves extending past the elbow
  • Linen chemise
  • Houppelande (full outer garment)
  • Ornate sleeves
  • Headdresses
  • Silk and linen fabrics
  • Loose-fitting tunics
  • Côte-hardie (a long dress with a fitted bodice and a voluminous skirt)
  • Low scoop necklines
  • Lace
  • Silk and gold textiles with intricate velvet weaves
  • Embroidered emblems and mottos
  • Scooped back necklines

16th Century

Many historians consider the 16th century as the century in which the rise of Western civilization and the Age of the Islamic Gunpowders occurred. With the changes happening in humanity, here are the styles that civilians were spotted in:

  • Linen chemise
  • Smocks
  • Kirtles
  • Upper robes
  • Girdles
  • Pantyhose
  • Garters
  • Blackwork embroidery
  • Doublets
  • Jerkins
  • Stockings
  • Bonnets
  • Black mantles
  • Codpieces
  • Gown sleeves
  • Elaborate headdresses
  • Dark colors
  • Spanish capes
  • Swords hanging from a belt/baldrick at the hip
  • Standing collars
  • Frilly neck shirts

17th Century

War spread all over the 17th century — it’s the century known for its social upheaval and bloodshed all over kingdoms. Even with all the terror happening outside, there were still fashion trends happening:

  • Chemises
  • Heavily embroidered bodices and waistcoats
  • Wheel-shaped French farthingale silhouettes
  • Leg-of-mutton sleeves
  • Heeled shoes
  • Medici collars
  • Tight-fitting doublets
  • Swords at the hip
  • Black and gold jerkins
  • Lace cuffs
  • Linen décolletage
  • Large shoe rosettes
  • Spanish capes
  • Volumized sleeves
  • Soft collars
  • High waists
  • Broad shoulders
  • Shimmering satin fabrics
  • Leather boots
  • Boned bodices
  • Hairbows
  • Heavy fabrics
  • Modest clothing


18th Century

Our history of fashion has hit the Enlightenment era. Philosophy, science, communications, and politics hit the world, but of course, fashion trends went right along with it.

  • Three-piece silk or wool suits
  • Silk or cotton gowns
  • Petticoats
  • Lace neck frill
  • Sleeve ruffles
  • Wired headdresses
  • T-shaped white linen chemise and boned stays
  • Powdered wigs
  • Robe battantes
  • Two-piece gowns
  • Large-scale floral woven silk and embroidery designs
  • Dome-shaped panniers
  • Side pleats
  • Full coats
  • Lightweight silks
  • Simplistic gowns and suits
  • Frock coats

19th Century

During the 19th century, the world saw rapidly accelerating scientific discovery and invention, with significant developments in the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, electricity, and metallurgy that laid the groundwork for the technological advances of the 20th century. With these advancements, we saw a change in fashion as well:

  • High-waisted silhouettes in lightweight muslin
  • Neoclassical dresses that revealed the natural body
  • Straight skirts
  • Long trains
  • Lightly boned corsets
  • Low square or V necklines
  • Colored silk slips
  • Rich embroideries
  • Shawls
  • Cropped jackets
  • Bonnets
  • Turbans
  • Riding costumes
  • Dark colors
  • Padded shoulders
  • Empire silhouettes
  • Large puffed sleeves
  • 3-D dress trim
  • Constricted clothing
  • Narrow waists
  • Frock coats
  • Colorful clothing
  • Relaxed cuts
  • Top hats
  • Canes
  • Wide skirts
  • Princess-line corsets
  • Fullness in the back compared to the hips
  • Simplified silhouettes


20th Century

In the 20th century, you start to see a major change from conservatory looks to more modern styles. Check out what this century had in store:

Tubular shapes

  • Lace and other embellishments
  • Tuxedos
  • Sailor suits
  • Highly structured silhouettes
  • Modest dresses
  • Bell-shaped skirts
  • Draped fabrics
  • Vibrant colors
  • Barrel-like silhouettes
  • Cocoon coats
  • Business suits
  • Shorter skirts
  • Casual skirts
  • Flapper dresses
  • Natural feminine silhouettes
  • Knee-length dresses
  • Tweeds and plaids
  • Women's business and casual suits
  • Nipped-in waist and full-skirted silhouettes
  • Poodle skirts
  • Leather jackets
  • White t-shirts
  • Jeans
  • Hippie styles
  • Miniskirts and mini dresses
  • Man-made fabrics
  • Mod styles
  • Italian-style suits
  • Military elements
  • Sequins
  • Hot pants
  • Animal prints
  • Fur coats
  • Wrap dresses
  • Ra-Ra skirts
  • Leotards
  • Leggings
  • Jumpsuits
  • Turtlenecks
  • Tight-fitting flared pants
  • Power dressing
  • Shoulder pads
  • Preppy styles
  • Grunge
  • Minimalism
  • Biker shorts
  • Keds
  • Oversized sweatshirts
  • Baggy, worn-out jeans
  • Doc Martens
  • Flannel
  • Cargo pants
  • Casual wear

21st Century

We are currently in the 21st century, and we’ve seen many different styles in the past 20 years. To see many styles that are currently popular right now, check out the MOBILESTYLES blog. We go over many current and past fashion trends!

Conclusion: After checking out our brief fashion history timeline, what’s your favorite century? Do you find yourself being inspired or influenced by any of them? We want to see your fashion because you’re making history! Show us your looks on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Plus, stay in the know on any of the latest trends by following MOBILESTYLES.


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