Fashion, Technology, & Women’s Rights – Ready to Roar?

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by Thea Wood (

Fashion, technology, & women’s rights are intertwined today—just like they were in the 1920s. Trends in wardrobe, hair, and makeup are a visual sign of the times that speak to women’s current roles and values plus technological advances throughout the decades.  A few historically significant trends come to mind:


Flapper dresses that embraced physical freedom through functionality and accessibility


The mini skirt (named after British designer Mary Quaint’s favorite car the Mini) debuted in 1940s pulp and science fiction and became streetwear for “Ya-Ya Girls” in the ’60s. It eventually became a symbol of female power to be feared by men who might succumb to its seductive nature.


Power suits and shoulder pads told corporate powers that women can compete with men in any workplace role. While suiting was popularized by Hollywood starlets as early as the 1940s, this decade’s suits were devoid of curves—mimicking a masculine projection of competence and confidence. Think of the movie Working Girl.

Major changes in women’s roles, rights, and values are reflected in fashion and are often considered to be rebellious or associated with immoral behavior (like the mini skirt).  One example is…


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