Over the course of the past century, beauty standards for both women and men have evolved drastically. From decade to decade, trends have come and gone, altering the perception of what the ideal human (or in this case, Poptropican) looks like.
In this post, we’ll be taking a glide through time, observing how such beauty standards have changed over time, and presenting them with Poptropica avatars. (Please note: This list is more specific to U.S. or Western society.) Let’s begin!
In the midst of the Gilded Age, the end of the First World War had a huge impact on industrial production—and this decade witnessed significant beauty revolutions as well.
For many years prior to this time, women were pressured to adopt unnatural shapes by wearing panniers to widen the hips and corsets to slim the waist. For once, women were encouraged to embrace a more natural posture, and widespread corsetry ceased. Cosmetics also became more prevalent in the market. It was no longer frowned upon for women to use makeup. Though the popularity of makeup boomed, it was still used in a natural manner only. Full-lengthened dresses and large hats, often embellished with flowers, feathers or beads (or all), were worn like in previous decades before.
During the 1910s, men primarily wore suits that were fitted. Evening wear often consisted of a tailcoat, as it was said to have a slimming effect on the waist – thus making a man more handsome. Hats remained a fashion staple for both men and women, and top hats were common among the upper-class men. As for facial hair, mustaches were at the peak of their popularity, and styles like the chevron mustache and the handlebar mustache were popular choices at this time.
In The Roaring Twenties, beauty standards changed completely for women. With a growing film industry, big actresses in Hollywood swayed women’s fashion choices. A noteworthy look from this time is the “flapper girl.” Flapper girls wore heavy makeup and short hair, which was contrary to the ideal woman in the 1910s. Now a slim, androgynous figure was the desired body type, and draped dresses with shorter hemlines became popular.
For men, the change was a bit more understated. Top hats and tailcoats became less common. Tuxedos with patterns like plaid or stripes were in fashion in this decade, as well as bowler hats. Charlie Chaplin, an iconic actor at this time, often sported a bowler hat. Beards and mustaches became less popular due to the commercializing of razors becoming more frequent.
Despite the Great Depression, fashion was still flourishing in the United States.
In the 30s, femininity and modesty was en vogue. Fichus or kerchiefs were worn over the bosom for modesty. Skirts were lengthened and now favored over the shorter skirts worn in the previous decade. Makeup was toned down, though a dark, red lip was still very in-fashion. Short hair still remained common, but was often worn curled, rather than straight like in the 20s look.
Though hats were becoming less popular for women, they remained a man’s identity. The boater hat was an ideal choice at this time. Layering clothing pieces became very prominent in this decade. To achieve a larger build, men wore overcoats over their suits. Facial hair regained popularity with the pencil mustache being the most desired style.
The 1940s didn’t bring any significant change for fashion trends from the 1930s. In fact, they were almost the same. There were a few minor changes, however.
Women kept with the natural look women in the previous decade went for, but toned down their makeup even more. For makeup, a light application of blush and matte lips in a light shade of red was the way to go. Mostly women wore dresses as they did in the 30s, but tailored suits with skirts also became a casual look.
Because of WWII, fabric rations made men’s suits not as stylish as before, but fairly similar. Also due to rations, men’s attire became a bit more casual, but it still maintained a formal feel. The fedora was by far the most widely worn styled hat in the decade. As for facial hair, it became more uncommon. Most adult men were serving in the military, and having facial hair was prohibited. This custom carried on when men returned home and lasted throughout the 50s as well.
In the 50s, many young women began to dress differently than the older women who had a more glamorous look. A popular look for girls was the preppy style pictured here. Dresses with billowy skirts, and bandannas for the hair were very stylish at this time. A natural face, with the exception of a little blush and rouge for the lips, was all a young girl needed to look pretty.
Greasers were a youth subculture that popularized in the 1940s and 1950s. Rock and roll music and doo-wop music were huge parts of the culture as you can tell by the wardrobe. Greasers typically wore black leather jackets over white t-shirts with trousers or jeans. To get their hair in the iconic jellyroll pompadour style, men often used products like petroleum jelly to style it.
The latter of the decade saw huge political and cultural changes, and fashion for both women and men were completely different from the start of decade.
Although the day it was introduced is undetermined, the miniskirt gained huge popularity in the 60s, with hemlines as short as a few inches above the knee. Paisley printed or white poncho blouses were prominent among those affiliated in the hippie movement. Accessories like a pillbox hat and mod sunglasses made for a complete fashionable look.
The popular music group, The Beatles, had a huge influence on men’s fashion. Men’s clothing in the 1960s became more effeminate and colorful. Pants became tighter and sweaters became a popular clothing choice. It was more common for hair to be grown and layered, rather than short and sleek.
This decade also witnessed a huge difference in fashion from the beginning to the end.
Disco culture started out as an underground movement, but with the release of Saturday Night Fever (a romantic drama with a disco-centric theme), disco culture became a mainstream fad.
Wilder, feathered hair with blown out waves represented a mixture between hippie and disco culture, and became the ideal look all women wanted to achieve. Typical dresses worn in the 70s were shorter, looser dresses with yellow, red, and orange tones. A predominantly natural face with a glossy lip was the most common makeup look at this time.
In the previous decades, other than the 60s, men’s fashion changed very subtly. However in the 70s, fashion for men changed immensely. Like women, clothing was patterned and colorful. Shirts were worn tucked in and unbuttoned, collars were worn wide, and pants were worn high-waisted and tight. Aviators were very popular in the 70s, and made for a great accessory. They were usually thin framed with colored lenses.
The 1980s were a time of experimenting with bolder fashion looks and self-expression. As they said “The bigger, the better!”
Perms and mullets were popular hairstyles for men and women. Girls often accessorized with scrunchies and hair bows too. Bright neon colors for clothing and makeup were all the rage. Many people layered clothing items with a jacket or windbreaker worn over a t-shirt. Accessories like sunglasses, belts, and bracelets were also all vital in the wardrobe.
80s fashion began to be viewed negatively, so trends were almost opposite during this time. In the 90s, bright colors faded away, and a grungy, subdued look was more in fashion.
Many women wore their hair down, but many also wore their hair up with chopsticks due to the Chinoiserie trend of this time. Denim overalls were an iconic 90s trend, and have recently made a comeback. Another iconic garment was the choker necklace, which has also regained popularity. For makeup – a bare face with a dark burgundy lip was very common.
Tropical themed sports shirts were in trend for young men at this time, but mainly I took the boy band approach for the look of the guy featured here. With the gravity defying hair and hip-hop style 3D shades, he looks like he could almost be a member of NSYNC.
Celebrities on the red carpet had a huge influence on what many girls wanted to look like. For women, this decade was defined by fake tans and frosted lips. Hair was usually worn flat and straight, sometimes with bangs or poofs. Short denim skirts and ruffled skirts were very popular among young women at this time. Accessories like puppies, a small tie, or a flat cap made any outfit complete.
Many boys and girls also rocked the emo look. Emo is a genre of rock music, characterized by the emphasis of emotion. It emerged in the mid-1980s, but entered mainstream culture in the 2000s. As emo became a mainstream subculture, people who dressed in emo fashion and associated themselves with its music became known as emos or scene kids. Emos typically wore tight shirts and jeans in the color black (sometimes with skulls or emo band names on them), along with eyeliner and black nail polish. Hair was also worn flat and straight, but usually in black, with long bangs to cover the face.
Celebrities, social media stars, and blogging platforms all play a huge role on the fashion choices people make. It is even theorized that celebrities are now driving the beauty trends rather than the fashion industry itself. Fashion trends of today are very much evocative of hipster culture. Normcore style has become a prominent aspect of hipster culture in the past few years.
Popular clothing items for women these days include oversized sweaters, shawl scarves, leggings and high-waisted jeans. Hair with natural waves is also considered to be the most common hairstyle for women of today. In recent years, fuller lips have become the desired look for women. Lots of women will over line their lips with lipstick or consider injections as a way to achieve a fuller lip.
For men, it is a very similar look. Popular clothing choices include scarves, ocher jackets, casual blazers, fitted jeans, and beanies. As for facial hair — a faded beard is becoming a more popular style. In fact, facial hair has had an explosive growth in the last couple of years, and many men are now using their beards as a fashion accessory to showcase their personality.
A lot has changed in the past 100 years, hasn’t it? What’s next? We’ll have to wait and see…
That about finishes it. I hope you enjoyed this PHB special! Props to anyone who made it to the end. Let us know down in the comments which style was your favorite!
Thanks for reading as always, talk to you in the next one.
-Lucky Joker 🍀