Modern Styles for Fast-Paced Lives.
By the second decade of the twentieth century Americans had become more active than they had been in the previous century, both on the job and off. The fashions of that more leisurely era restricted movement and were difficult to care for, making them inappropriate for life in the 1910s. Women and men began to look for ways to streamline and simplify their clothing and their households—to become more modern so that they could focus on keeping up with twentieth-century life. Designers began making clothes, houses, furnishings, and cars that looked neat, used a minimum of materials, and worked well—moves that kept American fashion from being derailed by shortages during World War I.
Active Wear for Women.
One important social phenomenon that drove the demand for simplified clothes was the rise of activity—professional and recreational—among women. More and more women, many of whom were part of the woman suffrage movement, took to riding bicycles, ice skating, driving cars, dancing, and even flying airplanes. Growing numbers of women were also working outside the home. These women had no intention of pursuing their new endeavors trussed up in the corsets and swaddled in the petticoats of earlier years, and American sportswear designers and mass-market manufacturers began making clothes that...
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