Working Lives

General changes in life, 1920's - present

Changes in fashion


The clothes people wear today are more about personal choice. Just because Nicole Kidman or Madonna look great in a corset doesn’t mean all young girls have to wear them. Many teenagers prefer a less glamorous look like MTV heroine Kelly Osbourne or pop star Pink.

Modern trends often reflect past fashions – miniskirts and thigh-high boots or hippie chic clothes from the 1960s, disco or punk styles from the 1970s, or the new romantic look from the 1980s. All these styles are reborn again in today’s John Lewis fashion departments. It wouldn’t be difficult to find photos of pop stars like Beyoncé or Madonna wearing all these different kinds of clothes from various eras.

Fashion became more and more international during the second half of the twentieth century – with Paris, New York, Milan, and London as the major fashion capitals. The market for ‘couture’ clothing (exclusive made-to-measure designs for rich clients) has shrunk, and smaller design-led companies producing original ready-to-wear clothes aimed at a younger market have become more typical.