“Changing Women's Fashion”: A Look at Coeds' Clothing on SU's Campus from Pre-1900-1950s - Casual Wear Slideshow

Daily wear is perhaps the most indicative of fashions; the casual clothes of each decade show much about cultural and social norms. In some instances, fashion trends even sparked campus controversy. These images will show what Syracuse University co-eds were wearing to class, to sporting events, and out with friends.

The length of this garment would have been slightly scandalous as hemlines during the 1880s continued to reach the ground and feet remained invisible except when climbing stairs or crossing a muddy street. c. 1884-1887 [ARM Image 09-0038.jpg] The extensions previously added to the hips and backside of dresses gave way to enormous puffs at the shoulders that tapered to tight sleeves just above the elbows. Ladies Glee Club, 1887 [ARM Image 11-1359.jpg] Floral patterns, stripes, and the plaids seen here were very popular in the early decades of the 20th century. Eta Psi Upsilon Sorority, 1902 [ARM Image 11-1354.jpg] Whole dresses, and even coats, were made of 'lingerie materials' like lawn encrusted with lace or crochet. The Sigma Theta Xi Society Seniors, 1910 [ARM Image 11-1353.jpg] During the 1910s hats returned to the ponderous sizes they had reached 150 years earlier and moved away from the small toques (small hats trimmed with flowers and ribbons) of the late 19th century. Lantern Slide of part of a geology class, c. 1911-1912 [ARM Image 10-0902.jpg] The second decade of the 20th century saw a significant simplification of female dress. c. 1911-1915 [11-1315.jpg] Instead of the high, boned collars with frills just below the chin, day dresses of the 1910s favored a lower-cut neckline, called the <em>Gretchen</em> since it resembled a collarless peasant blouse. c. 1911-1915 [ARM Image 11-1316.jpg] The prevalence of plain fabrics cut in straight simple lines during the 1910s was due in most part to Paul Poiret, a French designer whose impact on fashion in this era is uncontested. c. 1914 [ARM Image 11-1329.jpg] By the 1910s feather boas had become too common to be considered chic. Long stoles of fabric or fur took their place, often with the tails still attached as seen on this student's left shoulder. c. 1914 [ARM Image 11-1333.jpg] During World War I women participated in the war effort on a large scale. This necessitated functional garments and never again would clothing be as cumbersome as in the past. The female student on the left even appears to be wearing soldier's breeches. From the Jason Zurflieh Digital Collection c. 1920 [ARM Image 11-0811.jpg] The combination of low riding hats and high standing collars on outerwear in the 1920s almost hid the face entirely. From the Jazon Zurflieh Digital Collection c. 1920 [ARM Image 11-0814.jpg] The <em>garconne</em>, a look ushered in by Coco Chanel in the spring of 1924, was so named because the androgynous style of women's hair and clothing in this period was reminiscent of black and white clad waiters in France. We better know these women as <em>flappers</em> or <em>gamines</em>. The Morphology Class, Room 202 Lyman Hall, January, 13 1926 [ARM Image 09-0125.jpg] The <em>cloche</em> hat became popular in the 1920s and was typically bell shaped and pulled low on the head. Women's Day, 1929 [ARM Image 11-1397.jpg] A pleated skirt was a staple in fashionable women's daily wear during the 1920s. Women's Day, 1929 [ARM Image 11-1398.jpg] Fur was not only a popular trimming for coats and jackets in the 1920s and 1930s, but was also used to create entire winter garments. Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority Sisters, c. 1930 [ARM Image 11-1306.jpg] Hats of the 1930s abandoned their brims and were worn at the crown of the head, no longer covering the brow as with the <em>cloche</em> of the 1920s. Football game, 1938 [ARM Image 11-0503.jpg] Both young women are holding gloves, which were extremely important in completing an outfit in the 1930s. Often, the gloves had a hat or scarf to match. Margo Ludgren and Virginia Chamberlain, Freshman Beauties, 1938 [ARM Image 11-1391.jpg] Though pants were worn on the farm, in the factory and during outdoor sports, no attempt was made to glamorize them in the 1940s. Winter Carnival Queen Candidates, 1945 [ARM Image 11-1307.jpg] Fuller skirts, which had been discarded for more narrow silhouettes in the 1920s and 1930s, returned during World War II (Black, 335). These freshmen are also wearing beanies, a soft hat in either green or orange that had been used to separate freshman from upper classmen since 1893. For more information on beanies and first year students at SU, visit our online exhibit <em>'Tip It Frosh!': The First-Year Student Through SU's History</em>.1946 [ARM Image 10-1175.jpg] This coat is modeled on the <em>duffle coat</em>, which was a loose fitting, knee-length garment originally made of khaki wool with toggle closures that came into style at the beginning of World War II. Many variations are still worn today. 1946 [ARM Image 11-1364.jpg] One of the most successful components of the ready-to-wear trade, new in this decade, was the introduction of separate tops and skirts-and even trousers. These could be combined into different outfits, resulting in a more varied wardrobe.1946 [ARM Image 11-1369.jpg] By 1951, the day-time silhouette had settled at straight and slender, with the trim waist often emphasized by a belt and the hemline hitting at mid-calf. c. 1950s [ARM Image 07-0145.jpg] Bermuda shorts, originally worn on the Island of Bermuda, were knee-length and became popular in the 1930s. These shorts were frequently banned when worn by women and the issue was still heated in the 1950s. See the article 'Freshman Coeds United in Long Short Issue ... Beauties Bemoan Bermuda Ban' from the <em>Daily Orange</em>, 1956 in the <em>Printed Material</em> section of this exhibit. c. 1950s [ARM Image 07-0153.jpg] This student is most likely wearing petticoats made out of nylon, a new fabric in the 1950s that allowed skirts to be held out wide but to remain almost weightless. Their wash-n-wear status meant they were mass produced and were in every girl's closet by 1959. Mary Ann Colvin Brewer, 1959 [ARM Image 10-0719.jpg]