11 American Fashion Inventions We Just Cannot Live Without

When it comes to thinking of “American” fashion, most of us just think of American designers. That the real innovators of fashion somehow all go to Paris or Milan, maybe even London. The truth is, beyond design, Americans have also innovated the fashion industry by inventing things we cannot live without. No, not the iPhone. I’m talking things like jeans. What wardrobe is complete without a tee shirt and jeans? Can you imagine life without zippers? Remember before we had Spanx?

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. While most of us will be wearing red, white and blue to show our appreciation for the good ol’ US of A with fashion, those who really wanted to take it up a notch can wear items of clothing invented in America.

The Blue Jean


 Seriously, everyone wears jeans, even my baby!
1873 Levi Strauss & Jacob Davis

The T-Shirt

tee_shirtIf you don’t own at least one tee shirt… come on. Who are you?
1913, US Navy. (Image Source 21st eme)


pantyhoseEven though pantyhose isn’t required anymore for office attire, during the winter they will save your life.
1953, Allen Grant, Sr.

The Safety Pin

safetypinsThe savior to all wardrobe malfunctions.
1849, Walter Hunt 

The Modern Bra

braSomething’s gotta hold my boobs up.
1914, Mary Phelps Jacob

The Zipper

zipperEven Houdini couldn’t get out of this dress without a zipper.
1851, Elias Howe


spandex Oh Spandex, you have so many uses. Thank you for making my jeans more comfortable.
1959, C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers (DuPont) 


spanxNot Spanx pictured above but to be clear, I would not wear that dress without Spanx.
2000, Sara Blakely 

The String Bikini

stringbikniSelling fad diets since 1974.
1974, Glen Tororich and Brandi Perret-DuJon (Photo via Nieman Marcus)

Mass-Produced Sunglasses

sunglassesSo the rest of us can be like Anna Wintour.
1929, Sam Foster

The Pedal Pusher

pedalpushersProbably the most feminine pant.
1944, Dede Johnson

jennine11 American Fashion Inventions We Just Cannot Live Without

Comments 3

  1. Francesca

    I find the comparison European and American brilliant, Jennine. A different perspective to consider. I am shaping up a book on Italian style out of a series of interviews to various fashion insiders, do you think I could send you the outline? It would be fantastic to feature you …

  2. Raissa | The Leather Fanny Pack

    I love the look of pedal pushers! I don’t own a pair yet, but I really want one!


  3. Tanya Peyton

    The t-shirt and jeans have indeed revolutionized the fashion. The mass production of sunglasses did make the sunglasses available to the mass.

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