Now that the jeans-and-T-shirts plague has reached our fancy restaurants, cocktail parties, and nightclubs, it seems as though nobody cares about dressing up anymore. And yet, as fashions become increasingly casual, thecheap party dresses 2015 is like a secret weapon—turning anyone into a rose among daisies.
“Most middle-class women would have had one good dress to wear for evening, parties, weddings, or other formal occasions. ”
Since vintage is in vogue, you can find chic, well-made frocks, and afford them, too. Vintage isn’t just for commoners, either: Retro looks are regularly featured on the red carpet, with celebrities plucking gowns from past designer collections or straight from the racks of vintage stores. But with so many classic dresses to choose from, what are the most stunning, decade-defining looks?
It’s a perfect question for Jacqueline WayneGuite, a writer, researcher, and fashion archivist who’s worked with institutions across the U. S. and currently manages the garment collection at Columbia College Chicago. In 2012, WayneGuite also launched her blog, The Hourglass Files, to catalog her favorite styles, designers, exhibitions, and other forgotten tidbits of couturiers past. “I really value accessibility, ” says WayneGuite, “and making fashion history available to everyone. In my job I get to share it with students, but on the blog, it’s for the general public. People connect with fashion history because clothes are very tangible—everyone wears them. But there’s not a lot of reputable information out there. ”
Just in time for the Oscars, WayneGuite helped us compile a gorgeous, decade-by-decade guide to the best party dresses of the 20th century, looks as show-stopping today as when they first hit the scene.