New styles of coats emerged during the 1900s. Many were a cross between
a cloak and a coat. Cloak styles showed new influences and often had
trailing art nouveau patterns with oriental inspired lines.
Full Length Cloak Curvilinear Skirt 1900
Art Nouveau Inspired Cloak C1900
Comparative Loose Coat Styles
1908-10 Duster Coat
1913 Cocoon Line Coat
The change in silhouette
around 1908 and the trend to a straighter columnar slimmer silhouette by 1911
meant that coat garment designs that looked much more 20th century flooded the
marketplace. Cloaks lost favour as the new century took hold.
By 1910, although some sturdy outdoor tweed
versions were still used, cloaks were worn less and less.
In the main, cloaks soon became more associated as a uniform for nurses and
service workers, rather than a fashion item. The fashion style the nurse's
cloaks followed, harked back though to another age and are reminiscent of the
first two full length cloaks on the Cloaks 1 page.
By the 1920s modern versions of cloaks similar to easy fitting cocoon styles
emerged as garments for evening. In the main most coats of the 1920s
wrapped to one side and is always a strong style feature of most 1920's coats
whatever their length. These 1920's cloaks shown here are similar to the
styles Romeo Gigli used as inspiration in the 1980s and 90s for his fabulous
velvet and embroidered styles that brought gasps from his clientele.
The next time cloaks really became a fashion force with the young chic woman
about town was in the 1930s. 1930s capes and cloaks, teamed with bias cut
skirts and dresses have stylish look about them. Some cloaks merged into
coats almost and the cape influence is strongly shown in the shoulder lines of
many fashion drawings of coats and jackets of the era. Small capes also
made the perfect cover up for a backless dress. Some of these merged into
the bolero cum spencer styles also so useful with halter top dresses.
Long Cloaks were also the ideal cover up for the full evening length dresses
of the 1930s.
The cape emerged again as an updated fashion statement in the 1950s. Paris
designers often favoured simplified lines and for bulky tweedy, check and mohair
fabrics the easy lines of a cloak were perfect to show the fabric to perfection.
A short cape was promoted in 1955 and this example shows a picture from
a magazine of 1955.
This style was also adapted and used to make short mink or other fur wraps
with kimono set sleeves, popular in the 1960s.
Stoles added glamour to outfits of the 1950s and early 1960s. Stoles
from this period were about glamour and style. Stoles dressed an evening
outfit and covered a bare back with shoestring straps. Often made of slub
silks or dull satins, the stole ends would sometimes be embroidered and fringed.
Contrast linings were frequently used in dramatic colour combinations such as
black velvet lined with gold or perhaps emerald green thick lustrous satin.
Quality machine made cotton lace versions were also popular.
For those with money the ultimate stole of the 1950s was the white mink
stole. But all stoles soon disappeared when the 60's mini made the look
old fashioned and dated. But for real glamour think 50's film stars with
cleavage and an artfully draped stole.
So the cloak and cape came in and out of fashion just as it had during the
19th century. One very interesting variation on this was the poncho cape a
fashion of the 1970s. Ponchos existed in just about every possible
variation from crochet versions to the more rustic, Clint Eastwood style Mexican
poncho. The crochet poncho version version spawned a variation in the circular
crochet granny shawls popular in the early 1970s.
By 1980 the poncho had morphed into the Pareo. A long length of wool
fabric, either woven or knitted, about 70 to 80 inches long and made from 60
inch to 72inch wide cloth that was slit and very lightly shaped part way up the
centre fold. Pareos were popular in the late 1980s and the 1990s and can
be referred to as a wrap. They are a great item for fancy dress use.
I provide a simple pattern and instructions
here on another page on
how to make a Pareo.
In the 1990s black was the only shade to wear. Colours based on primary and secondary hues seemed to disappear from
sight until the late 1990s. But the sea of black was suddenly
brightened by a flurry of pashmina shawls. They served as warm neck
wraps on chill winter days and tied in the Fulham knot by those in the know,
the incredible bulk of the item was soon reduced and became easily wearable
as a neck accessory.
At around the same time about 1997, feminine dresses in bright silks became usual.
On cool summer evenings, to cover their arms, whether toned or flabby, women
donned colourful pastel toned Pashmina shawls to accessorise crepe de chine
silken dresses. The formal jacket was relegated to the office as part
of the trouser suit and deemed too formal for fun events where a softer,
more feminine look was sought. Pashminas were the perfect solution and
brought a fresh feel to wedding and evening outfits in particular.
So the Pashmina shawl
softened the drab coat colours, and also doubled as a warm stole wrap on
summer evenings and at cold winter venues.
By the year 2000 the Pashmina was a mass fashion and many moved onto newer ideas.
Many though saw the millennium new year's eve in wearing semi sheer
iridescent long stoles designed exactly just like a pashmina shape and with
similar dimensions. It did not go away however as many
found it so useful. It returned with expensive embroidery or beadwork
in 2001 and many women always pack a pashmina for continental holidays as it
is a perfect item for a quick cover up near a cool sea breeze. It also
can be used as a grass blanket when the only place to sit is the ground.
Fashion-Era.com looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era. Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also
contribute to lifestyle trends, which in turn influence the clothes we wear. These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.
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