Traditional attire in France is both sophisticated and classic. Like any Western culture, clothing styles vary, but high fashion remains customary. Designer couture took root in 1715 with ladies of the royal class and nobility who gathered highly esteemed tailors and had them create unique, individualized fashions on the spot, according to HowStuffWorks.
Fashion houses, the brainchild of American Charles Worth, began to rise up in the late 1800s, and for the first time, labels were sewn into clothes and fashion shows staged to whet rising appetites for in vogue styles. By the 20th century, corsets and bustles were things of the past. Loose-fitting undergarments enabled a sleeker look and art deco became the rage. Coco Chanel introduced a more aloof and functional appearance after World War I. Imitators began cloning styles and mass producing them. Between the wars, an art genre known as surrealism emerged, and ladies could be seen wearing formal dresses made of material imprinted with designs such as giant lobsters. While some women wore unconventional hats shaped like shoes, the beret maintained its traditional status for women and men. Intellectuals wore berets to demonstrate their common bond. However, the beret declined in the fashion world when it was eventually relegated peasant-like and unsophisticated.