From 19th century peasant to 21st century couture. Here’s a brief history lesson on your wardrobe’s perhaps most essential garment.
THE STORY BEHIND IT
Over past centuries, the trends and rules of fashion have been dictated by the royal, noble, or in any way wealthy and privileged classes. Before the 1920s, women weren’t allowed to vote, work, choose who to love, and decide what garments to wear. In Western Europe and the United States, the dress was a requirement for every occasion.
This changed during the first years of the 1900s, which saw restrictions in women’s fashion decline and simplicity and practicality increase. Gone were the days of bustles, frills and corsets. The new woman – who had won the right to vote – wanted free-form clothing with a low waistline, and the designers of the times created garments thereafter. One of the key figures behind the new aesthetic was Coco Chanel, who made wearable, comfortable and elegant garments that empowered women. Dresses got shorter, sleeves disappeared and the blouse–skirt-combination was considered elegant instead of unkempt.
Feminine blouses with intricate beadwork, as well as masculine shaped dittos, became popular everyday wear at this time. Today, 100 years later, the blouse is a fundamental item in every woman’s wardrobe. It’s an ancient garment – related to the tunic and dress shirt – that didn’t become a true fashion item until fairly recently.
To celebrate the key item of the new woman’s wardrobe, we have curated a selection consisting of the best of the best blouses in the H&M assortment. Find them below.
The blouse is modelled by Danish beauty Camilla Christensen (Le Management). Lok Lau (CLM) did her hair, and Nina Belkhir (Mikas Looks) worked her makeup magic.