This Is What The Perfect Female Body Looked Like 100 Years Ago (And Every Decade After)

Beauty can be timeless, but trends and beauty ideals… Not so much!

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. So it’s only natural that as we as a society change, our perception of beauty changes. You can see this very clearly by looking at old paintings. Whereas today, it’s trendy to be slim and toned, this wasn’t always the case. Back in the middle ages, having some extra pounds meant you had the money to splurge on food. This made you someone who was highly in-demand.

You don’t need to go back 700 years in order to witness the evolution of beauty ideals. Today, we’ll show you what the ‘perfect woman’ in every decade from 1900’s to the 2010’s looked like.

In the 1900s, the beauty ideal was to be as curvy and voluptuous as possible. Women were encouraged to have ample hips and breasts, as well as a cinched waist. The Gibson Girls of the era were seen as the epitome of beauty and elegance. This style of dress and figure was seen as the most desirable look, and many women of the time sought to emulate it. The next decade saw a shift in the beauty ideal. The flapper style of the roaring twenties was all about youth and being slim.

Women were encouraged to wear short dresses and bob their hair, and to have a slim, athletic figure. This was a dramatic departure from the previous decade, as the focus was no longer on curves. The 1930s and 40s saw a return to the curvy figure, though not as extreme as the Gibson Girl look of the 1900s. Women were encouraged to have a curvier figure with a defined waist, and the glamour of Hollywood actresses such as Marilyn Monroe certainly helped to shape the beauty ideal of the time. In the 1950s, the beauty ideal shifted yet again. Women were encouraged to be prim and proper with their hair in a neat updo and wearing dresses

The 1900’s: the S-Bend

Starting off, we have the 1900’s. This decade is marked by classy dresses for women and stylish suits for men. Women wore blouses decorated with lace and ribbons, complimented by large wide-brimmed hats. They would part their hair in the center and make it look fuller with extensions. But what was really typical for this decade were the S-Bend corsets women wore underneath their dresses. This shape pushed their chest forward and curved their back, accentuating the curve of their backsides. At the same time, it minimized the size of the waist.

Continue on to see what the ideal woman in the 1910’s looked like!

The 1910’s: Even tighter corsets

If you thought the S-Bend corsets already looked quite uncomfortable to wear, imagine wearing the one you see above. The 1910’s favored a really thin waist, creating what some referred to as a wasp waist or hourglass figure. You needed a really strong corset to keep this shape in place, so they were made out of whalebone. The corsets were so tight, that they could damage the internal organs of the woman wearing them. Besides, they made it very hard to breathe. Imagine taking that off at the end of the day. Oh the sweet relief.

Continue on to see what the ideal woman in the 1920’s looked like!