A Look At The History Of Women's Beauty

Which era would you choose?

1600s-1700s: The more the merrier.

Throughout the Renaissance and Baroque eras, beauty was all about the Rubenesque figure. What would be considered plus-size or overweight nowadays was once thought very sexy and feminine. The ideal women of the 1600s-1700s were portrayed as stout and voluptuous: a little extra here and there was thought to be a sign of health and wealth.

1800s: Big butt and small waist rage.

The 1800s, or Victorian Era, called for full skirts and waists as tiny as possible. Women were strapping corsets around their midsections and wearing petticoats, hoops and bustles to emphasize their small waists and magnify their round, voluminous derrieres.

1900s: Still about that waist.

Although the small waistline stayed, the early 1900s liberated women from the huge crinoline skirts and big butt rage. "Gibson Girls" epitomized the ideal of beauty with their slender figures, full breasts and round hips.

1920s: Curves are out! Flat is in.

The Roaring Twenties started with a true feminist revolution which had a big impact on the women's beauty perception. Many young, rebellious women, by that time called "flappers", were hiding their curves under slinky, long dresses, exposing only their arms and legs. The overall look was kind of boyish.

1930s-1940s: Sport those arms and legs.

By the 1930s, every woman was secretly dreaming of being a Hollywood star. Arms and legs were the thing, so women started working out more to build muscle tone. The revolutionary padded stretch cotton bra was introduced so cleavage got more attention too.

1950s: The era of Marilyn.

The 1950s were screaming Marilyn Monroe. She was perceived as the epitome of beauty with her 90/60/90 hourglass figure. Curves were back in the market. Hair had to be curly and cheeks had to be peachy. Think pin-up girls or Betty Draper from "Mad Men."

1960s: Rail-thin with big eye lashes.

The 1960s feels like a throwback to the slim, boyish style of the '20s. Models like Twiggy and actresses like Audrey Hepburn were a huge influence on girls back then, advocating petite figures and expressive facial features.

1970s: The "Me Decade."

After the freewheelin' '60s, the 1970s came with even more emphasis on being thin. Mini skirts, bell-bottoms, short shorts and high-heeled platform shoes required a skinny figure, which was mostly achieved through fitness regimens. Bronzers and self-tanners were the new craze. 

1980s: Aerobics, big hair and over-the-top makeup.

Throughout the 1980s women continued obsessing over their weight. A slim, but toned body was considered beautiful, which naturally led to the boom of fitness and aerobics videos. Despite opting for less body mass, fashion stated: more of everything. Big hair, lots of makeup, shoulder pads and neon spandex were a must.

1990s: You're either a flat-belly glamazon, or the "heroin chic."

1990s had two main ideals: glamazon models like Cindy Crawford, or the "heroin chic" appearance of Kate Moss. The former advocated skinny but athletic, curvaceous figures, which helped spawn the craze of crop tops and belly-button piercings. The second meant a pale, strung-out look, closer to the grunge style. 

2000s: The time of choice.

We'll leave this one unanswered...

(Cover image: We Heart It)

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