1790s: Sans Culottes
French revolutionaries who rejected the knee breeches of the aristocracy and adopted long trousers in solidarity with the peasants and craftsmen. The first step in eliminating class distinctions through styles of clothing.

1820s: American Utopian Communities Leaders of some utopian communes insisted that the women wear baggy trousers with knee-length skirts over them. This was intended to liberate women from both sexual harassment and having to deploy the feminine wiles allegedly used to catch husbands. (These communities practiced free love, though you have to wonder how free the women actually felt.)

1844: Invention of the modern sewing machine Originally invented in the UK, the sewing machine arrived in the U.S. two years later, and the era of mass-produced clothing began.

1851: Bloomers Amelia Jenks Bloomer, an early feminist, brings “Turkish dress,” a knee-length skirt worn over baggy trousers back to the U.S. from London. This time it’s a sign of women’s liberation from corsetry, but it looked so stupid even Bloomer gave it up after a few years.

1860s: Artistic Dress Inspired by artist and designer William Morris’s dictum “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,” artistic dress favored clean lines based on the natural form of the body, as opposed to the corsets and crinolines that were popular at the time.

1877: First pair of Levi’s blue jeans Jeans would eventually finish what the sans culottes started: a universal style of dress that eliminated class distinctions (unless you look closely at the back pockets).

1881: The Rational Dress Society Founded by two Englishwomen, the society intended to make women’s dress more “rational” by decreeing they wear no more than seven pounds of undergarments at one time.

1898: Eigenkleid German term for “individualized dress.” The term was coined by Austrian architect Josef Hermann, who believed that women would be healthier and happier if they wore clothes customized to their personal needs and body shapes.

1919: TuTa Italian futurist designer Thayaht (the pseudonym of Ernesto Michahelles) proposed that everyone make and wear a jumpsuit based on a pattern he invented in protest of the high cost of clothes due to post-World War I inflation.

1943: Cab Calloway wears a zoot suit in Stormy Weather In the words of fashion historian Ted Polhemus: “The curtain parts and Cab Calloway makes his entrance. He is, in a sense, that ‘clown’ whom Malcolm X saw as undermining African-American dignity. But in his immaculate zoot suit, feathered fedora and spotless white shoes, he is also undeniably magnificent. As such, he and his fellow Zooties constituted a direct, much needed challenge to that white, Western prescription that dignity and a resplendent, stylish appearance are incompatible elements of masculinity.”

For the first time, the fashion industry took its inspiration from street style instead of the other way around.

1948: The first presidential campaign T-shirt “Dew it with Dewey.”

1964: The monokini Created by designer Rudi Gernreich, the monokini was meant to end societal repression and allow women to go topless, just like men.

Late 1960s: The Black Panther uniform Could be assembled with items found in any department store.  v