Between about 1880 and 1910, the ideal womens silhouette resembled the letter "S." Bodies were boned and corseted into an hourglass shape, with waists forced into tiny circlets measuring less than 20 inches. The entire upper torso was thrust forward, creating a "pigeon front," and the hips were pointed backward and slightly up, finishing out the letter "S." Skirts hit the floor, and the sight of even an ankle was considered to be quite racy. Younger, skinnier women padded out their bosoms and hips in order to look older, and more shapely. Poufy Gibson Girl hairdos of the '00s and '10s were the primary style.

The 1910's were a transitional time. The S-shape started softening a bit and by the 1920s it took a dramatic turn. Women were flattening their busts and hips and unbinding their waists, which resulted in a long, slim line known as "garçonne." A March, 1924 issue of Vogue called the line "Tailleur Masculin." Dress waistlines fell, starting out at about the natural line at the beginning of the '20s and dropping to around the hips just a bit later in the decade.

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