At the beginning of the decade, dresses featured tunics over a long straight underskirt with an empire waist. Details such as lace, cord, applique, soutache, beading and tucking were used as decorative elements. Boning was used to retain the shape of the garment, rather than change the natural figure.
The ability to travel and improvements in telecommunication connected the world in a new way. Cultures from across the globe influenced popular designers. Turbans, kimonos, and other traditional clothing inspired new designs.
During World War I, women contributed to the war effort. Comfortable, practical clothing was a necessity. Raised hemlines allowed greater mobility. Wartime shortages crippled the fashion industry and stylish clothes seemed trivial compared to the reality of war.