A look at Yesteryear's Fashions through Photographs
Women's Fashion - Early Twentieth Century

About this Image:
1)  A full–length portrait featuring an unidentified beauty posing beside a carved chair. The off–the–shoulder bodice with small sleeves and very tiny waist typified evening wear around the turn of the century. Fashionable women wore a narrow skirt with a sweeping train both day and evening, often decorated with tucks or ruffles below the knee. This woman's accessories include a ribbon in her high–piled hair (which was probably padded for fullness), a pearl choker, and a twisted bangle bracelet.

2)  These five young women, standing in front of a palm tree in the park on Alamo Plaza, all sport dresses with a full skirt cut above the ankles. This shorter hemline, which provided greater ease of movement, first appeared in 1915 after being influenced by WWI and the women's suffragette movement. Hair styles also became less elaborate, with hair pulled back to follow the natural shape of the head. The young lady in the center may have bobbed her hair, a fashion trend that famous ballroom dancer Irene Castle started in 1915.

  This view of Alamo Plaza looks west down Crockett Street. In the background stands the Reuter Building on the left and the turret of the Grand Opera House on the right. Check out our other exhibit to find out more on Alamo Plaza.

3)  Glamorous Mexican movie star Esther Fernandez (1917–1999),wears a fur coat accented with a stylized flower pin, while seated in Commissioner Preston Anderson's office at City Hall. Her "Victory Roll" hairstyle, well–shaped eyebrows, dark lipstick and nail polish (probably red) all typify the look women aspired to during the war years of the 1940s. A Mexican WWII propaganda poster titled "Mexico por la libertad," which shows an eagle ripping a Nazi flag, hangs behind her.

Courtesy of the San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation
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ca. 1900ca. 1900
2) 19172) 1917
3) 19443) 1944