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Examine the Fashion of Modernity in the 21st Century

Fashion is a term that describes the clothing of today, not for how it looks but rather how it is worn. Fashion changes each season and this concept has always been changing since the beginning of time (Bray, 2009). There are two different types of fashions; these are haute couture and ready-to-wear (McCallum). Haute couture is made by hand with high levels of detail to fabrics while the ready-to-wear fashion industry sells mass produced styles made in factories (McMullen, 2011). The two industries use completely different techniques which both curve into the history of fashion. For example, haute couture relies on historical garments to create new designs while still maintaining certain details from the original design. Ready-to-wear is more about the use of technology to create new styles that are faster and produce large quantities of chrome hearts clothing at a cheaper cost (McMullen, 2011).

The beginning of fashion begins with the modernization process occurring in Europe during 17th century after years of religious wars. During this time period it was not socially acceptable to have expensive garments because they were seen as wasteful and extravagant since people viewed themselves as being equal in God’s eyes. People also looked down upon those who wore extravagant items or had higher status than them because it showed arrogance against fellow Christians who were living through poverty (Bray, 2009, 83). However, soon after social classes began to split apart once again but instead separated by wealth. This caused an emergence of fashion because it was very important for people to show their status through appearance.

During the 18th century, fashion started to become a more important part in daily life within high society. People began paying attention to trends more often and started following specific rules on what types of articles of clothing should be worn with which items (McCallum). For example, some rules included that men had to wear long pants while women had to wear skirts instead of breeches during this time period. This showed that although fashion was growing into its own form of industry it still relied heavily on societal norms and previous fashions. However, during the years after 1780 skirt length began to increase due to the fact that women’s roles were changing at the time. They were more involved in work rather than just being a housewife and they needed clothes that could allow them to move around more easily (Bray, 2009).

During the 19th century fashion started to become an industry when it made its way to Paris where most wealthy women during this time resided (Bray, 2009). It became such a big business because many different people were interested in following trends which allowed for various types of businesses including perfumers and jewelry designers who wanted to create new items specifically for upper class people. However, even if they created new styles it still had to follow certain rules. For example, women always wore hats when going outside and these hats usually matched their outfit and if they did not match then they were seen as inappropriate.

During the 20th century fashion became a way for people to express themselves due to the fact that almost anyone could afford clothes which helped with making this industry grow (Bray, 2009). However, there were still some guidelines on what different types of clothing should be worn in different situations. For example, most women wore dresses or skirts with high heels during business meetings or any formal occasions because it showed respect for others who are also dressed formally at the same event. This also introduced trend following which made fashion an even bigger part of life because everyone wanted to have their own style instead of just following rules given by society (McMullen, 2011).

Present Day Fashion

The concept of modernity is all about the ever-changing culture in our society and how we can embrace new styles rather than follow specific rules that have been set out in the past (Bray, 2009). Fashion in today’s world has become so much more than clothing. It is a common trend to see people wearing different types of items such as belts, scarves, hats and other accessories to match what they are already wearing or because it reflects their personal style. Working women today still wear formal business outfits when going to work but they also tend to wear anti social social club clothes on their days off which allow them to express themselves within certain limits that society has established for them (McMullen, 2011).

This change from modernity causes a lot of stress on young adults who do not want to follow certain rules but might not want everyone around them to know their personal style through fashion either (McCallum, 2008). The best way for people to learn about their own modernity is by searching for different types of fashion magazines that allow them the freedom to show off their own sense of style while also learning about other trends that are popular at the moment.


In conclusion, fashion has been all about following what society believes instead of having a sense of self-expression and the concept of modernity allows us to break these stereotypes and embrace our own styles which can be both fun and exciting (McMullen, 2011). Although it may seem like we have entered a new world when it comes to fashion we still follow some basic rules such as wearing formal clothing for certain occasions while also allowing people to express themselves through personal styles, brands and accessories.