Fashion Flashback: A Look at Style Through the Ages

To celebrate Fashion Week 2015, check out our line-up of fashion throughout history from National Geographic’s archive.

Each fall, designers around the world unveil their collections in New York, London, Milan, and Paris at Fashion Week. While the exclusive events showcase current styles, they also provide a glimpse into the past due to the cyclical nature of fashion.

Looking at photographs of style of dress over time illustrates how history influenced fashion. As women’s equality has expanded from the 1920s on, women’s fashion has mirrored this trend, evolving from rigid formal wear to styles based on comfort and choice.  

The factors that influence fashion are constantly shifting but as these photos show, what’s out usually comes back in. Take the high-waisted swimsuit from the 1940s that is in style again more than half a century later, or the renewed popularity of stockings thanks to Duchess Kate Middleton.