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Women's Fashion Evolution: 1900s - 1920s, from the Permanent Collection

  • The Grace Museum - History Gallery 102 Cypress Street Abilene United States (map)
Collection of The Grace Museum, Gift of Ms. Ruth Ann Caudle.

Collection of The Grace Museum, Gift of Ms. Ruth Ann Caudle.

From the Gibson Girl to the Flapper, women's fashion evolution from the early 1900s to the 1920s in the United States was due to new economic and social factors for women. These three decades were a defining time as many women fought for the right to vote, joined the work force during World War I, and changed the traditional social norms for women from the previous century. The 1900s "Gibson Girl" style was seen as the “feminine ideal”, part of upper class society, educated, well-versed, talented, and “athletic.” By WWI, clothing for women became more practical – day suits and lighter materials became popular. Then the 1920s arrived - Jazz influenced fashion, dresses and hair styles were shorter, silhouettes changed, and women started wearing trousers.

This exhibition highlights clothing and accessories from our permanent collection, most of which are from individuals in the West Texas area, which shows that Abilene was a modern city that kept up with trends from the rest of the country.