Women’s Fashion in the 1920s

It isn’t hard to see why it is called the “Roaring 20’s.”


Fashion experienced dramatic changes as it entered the modern era of the 1920s. So long full skirts, bustles and corsets. Hello bright colors and freedom of expression.

Background:

World War I just ended and everything seemed alive again!  The people in the US were beginning to buy things due to economic prosperity in the 20s and could afford more luxurious clothing.

Advancement in textiles and garment industries with ready-to-wear fashion gave designers opportunities to explore with different types of fabrics and embellishments. Clothing was now more avaliable to the middle class as opposed to just the economic elite.

Due to Prohibition, women began to drink become included in drinking at home and soon began to drink in public at Speakeasies. Their social freedom matched the news styles that were emerging as more revealing, scandalous and with sex appeal.

Women’s fashion:

Due to their newfound liberation and the right to vote, women in the 20s were beginning to work and turned to more comfortable clothing such as short pants or skirts.

Fashion in the 20’s was extremely attractive, sophisticated and contemporary. Throughout the decade, fashion continued to change rapidly.

Dresses were more colorful and shorter than ever. At the beginning of the period, they were long and almost to the floor however by 1925, hemlines rose from an inch below the knee to knee-length by the end of the 20s. Waistline were more “boyish” and dropped to the hips. Eventually they disappeared altogether creating a shift type of dress. The idea body type was a flat chest with no hips and revealing necklines were popular.

Perhaps the biggest change of the 20’s for women was the abandonment of corsets. Bras, slips and panties replaced drawers and knickers.

Women wore their hair short and cropped it in the famous “page boy” style. They were chic hats that we are used to seeing in the movies. The hats were simple and fit closely to the head which make them appear almost alluring and a woman to showcase her eyes and facial features.

The main rage of the Roaring Twenties, the Flapper, emerged in 1926. The “flapper” seemed to be free from all restraints of the past. She smoked, drank and was publicly sexual with men. A flapper dress was a sleek, short, revealing, typically highly decorated and made for dancing.

Flappers had a way they acted to add to their style as well. They smoked from long cigarettes, put on lipstick in public and danced to jazz music.


The flapper dress has an appeal even today and many high fashion dresses are modeled off of this style.


Outwear for women in the 1920s were coats that often wrapped to one side and fastened. Many had fashionable fur collars.


Jewelry was plentiful throughout the 20s, particularly long, dangling earrings and long strands or pearl or beads. Cosmetics were also growing to be a more popular form of fashion. Bright shades of lipstick were preferred.

Fashion magazines were becoming more and more popular and women started to base, as we do today, how they dress off of these models.

By the end of the 20s, longer more “appropriate” hemlines were replacing the shorter ones.

Clearly fashion in the 20s had a huge influence and continues to show up even in popular trends today!

*This post is for a fashion class assignment

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