Fashion Era: The Twenties

The 1920’s was a decade of change. The twenties was the first decade to abandon traditional fashion such as, full length dresses and tight corsets. We have the 1920’s to thank for shorter hemlines, synthetic fabrics, and bobbed hairstyles. Roles of women changed throughout society as they joined the workforce and gained the right to vote, but their roles in fashion changed too. Fashion became more relaxed, masculine, and casual.

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The 1920’s was the first decade to break into modern fashion. Women began wearing trousers, which were once considered only for men. Women also began cutting their hair to short lengths to fit their hair easily under their hats. Short bobbed hair represented an independent and modern woman during the 1920’s. Coco Chanel was the first prominent woman to wear trousers and cut her hair into a bobbed hairstyle. “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” -Coco Chanel.

“There is no ugly women in this world, just lazy ones.” -Coco Chanel

Big innovations in fashion came around during the 1920’s such as synthetic fabrics and new and innovative clothing fasteners. Cotton and wool was very accessible and common during the twenties, but luxurious fabrics became more popular in high-end designer fashions. The everyday working man/woman could not afford silk, which was more expensive due to its limited quantities. Due to the desire for more luxurious fabrics, cotton was not “fashionable”.  The solution to this issue was to start using synthetic fabrics in clothing such as, Rayon. Rayon was invented in 1910, and started being incorporated in clothing sold in the department stores in the 1920’s. Women started buying rayon stockings instead of silk. Not only were synthetic fabrics budget friendly, but they allowed one to have the feel of luxurious items without the hefty price tag.

We also have the 1920’s to thank for modern closures on our clothing. Previously they had used laced up materials to close up clothing, but in the twenties, they started incorporating hooks & eyes, buttons, zippers, and snaps to fasten clothing. This was less time consuming and easier, and we still see these fastens on modern clothing in the 21st century.

The Popular Flapper Dresses

The 1920’s were most popular for Flapper dress which is easily associated with the “Roaring Twenties”.  The Flapper dress had a drop waist, which gave women a more boyish figure which was popular at the time.The low hemlines were also popular because it allowed women to kick up their heels in dances such as the Charleston. Flapper dresses were adorned with embellishments, feathers, and fringe.

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Other Popular Fashions of the 1920’s

The shift dress emerged in 1925, which virtually has no accentuated waist line.  Women also wore undergarments to flatten their chest to give them a more boyish look. The 1920’s was very much so about not drawing attention to womanly curves. They incorporated the dropped waist, loose dresses, and undergarments to flatten the bust, all to create a more boyish appearance.

Fur Coats or fur trimmed coats became very popular for evening wear and fur was all the rage during the 1920’s. The coats were also very popular with people who owned cars because their cars were without windows and doors, so they used fur to keep them warm. Popular accessories included stockings, long stranded pearls, headbands, feather boas, and cloche hats.

Interesting Facts

  • Ready-to-wear clothes in stores became available for women at the beginning of the twentieth century. Before that, they went to tailors or dressmakers or women sewed their own.
  • In the 1920s, it was fashionable to wear a different outfit for day, afternoon, and evening. Women would change clothes several times a day. The hemline indicated which outfit was for which time of day.