This is what London street style looked like before Instagram

Another season of London Fashion Week is almost over, and with it another season of cool street style looks that will no doubt set the trends for SS19. But whilst we’re now used to seeing them all over social media (if it didn’t go on Instagram, did you even wear it?), that wasn’t always the case.

Ever wondered what Londoners wore in the 20s or 30s, or even the 50s? Well wonder no more, because Ancestry, which specialises in family history, just shared their fashion records with us.

This includes fashion shows dating back to 1916, including images of London’s best-dressed woman of 1937 – Rosita Forbes – sporting the year’s biggest trend of wide leg trousers, an Ascot riverside parade in Richmond, the evolution of the Crinoline, top models learning new makeup tricks and more. Scroll down to see these and more pics.


Date: 31 May 1937
A riverside parade of Ascot fashions attracted a large audience at Richmond. The parade was held on the terrace of Mary Childs overlooking the Thames. A parade of Ascot fashions by the riverside at Richmond Bridge.


Date: 1916
London Fashion. The Cordoline – an improvement on The Crinoline


Date:N/A
Dresses from the Gay Ninetees meet the fashions of today on the Promenade Deck of a Pleasure Cruiser built high on the roof tops of a Bayswater store.


Date: 23 Jul 1953
Two of the top models of the future, now training at London’s biggest model school, are 20 year old Ticia Burrows, of Surbiton, and 22 year old Jean Leeson, of Fittleworth, Sussex. They are shown some of the new tricks of make-up by Miss Marjorie Wood, the Beauty Counselor, who is “headmistress” of the school, in Pont Street, W.


Date: 26 Jan 1929
The very latest in gloves have heavy trimmings to the cuffs. Here is a unique of black kid gloves with “mousquaitaire” tops covered with fine white wool embroidery of antique design thus supplying an additional ornamental cuff to a coat


Date: 25 October 1937
Rosita Forbes, traveller, writer and explorer, and London’s best dressed woman, known in private life as Mrs. Arthur McGrath.


Date: 23 Sep 1923
Her Majesty the Queen, who has Returned to London from Scotland for Two Days Takes the Opportunity to See the New Fashions and Select Autumn Clothes. Her purchases included new styles which she will wear for next Tuesday, on the occasion of the launching of the new Cunarder. Mannequins, who wore the gowns for the Queen, returning from the Palace, with some she had selected. FOX PHOTOS. SEPT. 23.


Date: 27 Mar 1937
A few months ago eight pretty girls were lining up outside employment exchanges in Wales, hoping for jobs. Now after a few weeks training they have blossomed into West End mannequins. They are the “vanguard” in a scheme evolved by Miss LucyClayton, who is recruiting girls from Wales for her mannequin school, training them free of charge. Photo shows- The eight Welsh girl mannequins seen in London.

Photo credit: Visit Ancestry.co.uk to get your inspiration for this year’s London Fashion Week. Photos courtesy of the UK’s largest family history site www.ancestry.co.uk ©Hulton Archive / Getty Images

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