The Roaringtwenties1920- 1929Fashion reached the modern era in the 20’s as tight corsetsand restricting clothes were replaced with comfortable ones. Influences onfashionJazz and FlappersThe jazz seen had a massive impact on fashion in the 20’s asthe music of Louis Armstrong became the anthem for the flapper.
Flappers werewomen who defied social norms of the time by smoking, drinking, and dancing.They were considered to be very scandalous carefree women and they generallyhad bobbed haircuts, over the top jewellery, and dresses that were very shortfor the time. Dancing became a hugely popular activity for young women sofashion changed to accommodate that by becoming easier to move in and morecomfortable. The idea of ‘fulfilment and freedom’ was widely promoted duringthis time as well.World War 1After World War 1 ended in 1918, the amount of death anddestruction on such a large scale shocked everyone and due to this the youth ofthis generation who later became known as the “flaming youth” decided that theyneeded to lives to the fullest as their future may not be guaranteed.”Tomorrow we may die, so let’s get drunk and make love” a quote fromfamous reporter Lois Long became the rallying cry of the 1920’s youth.
UnderwearThe silhouette and lighter style of dresses in the twenties meantthat the underwear had to change dramatically to match the slim garments worncompared to previous year were up to 11 layers of lingerie could be wornincluding corset and petticoats thinner women in the 20’s could wear as littleas a brassier and bloomers under their dresses and be considered dressed. Theunderwear of the 20’s was commonly made of cottons and silks in the form ofsatin, pongee, shantung, crepe de chine and silk glove. They also hadartificial silk called rayon which breathed well and was considered verysanitary. In the late 1920’s printed fabrics were also becoming popular andthroughout the entire 20’s embroidery and lace detailing was very commonly seenon the underwear. The amount of underwear needed to be worn differed between bodytypes where thinner women could wear less curvy women needed to wear more inorder to give the illusions of thinness and a boyish figure which was mostpopular.CorsetsCorsets were still worn into the 1920s as older womengenerally preferred the traditional lace-up boned corset. But due to the youngergenerations disinterest in the corset sales declined and they instead commonlywore the brassiere/corset combination called the corselet which had.
sidefasteners, shoulder straps, and long elastic panels, all of which combined toobliterate any curves that might disrupt the silhouette of a flat, straight,1920s-era dress. Long corsets were also common and produces a boyish figure butmade walking a slow stiff gliding motion.CamisolesIn order to hide the corset or corselet which could showthrough the thin dresses of the 20’s camisoles oflinen or silk were worn to cover any bumps and lines made by the corselet.Camisoles were loose sleeveless tops, drawn into the waist with a ribbon orelastic. BrassiereBrassieres were worn in order to flatten the bust in orderto achieve the boyish figure that was popular during that time. They wereusually made from cotton, did not have cups and were worn tight against thebody in order to reduce the size as much as possible. The Symington Side Lacerwas a bra that was popular because it could be laced at both sides and pulledin to flatten the chest. Knickers or BloomersKnickers came in nude, peach, and pink colours.
The materialfor 1920’s knickers was light and not as bulky as previous years there mostcommonly made with crepe de chine, silk, or cotton. Knickers typically had anelastic waist and knee caps.SlipsSlips were a necessity when wearing a sheer dress. Most ofthe time when purchasing a dress new it would come with a matching slip to makestyling easier. Slips were worn to prevent light from being visible through. Slips had pleating at the hips so the womenwearing them could more easily move but mostly fell straight on the body.
Thenecklines were low and square and had lace or ribbon straps. The slippery satinthat the slips were most commonly made of was useful in keeping the dress fromsticking to the body but the straps would often fall down because of it. Theslip was pinned to the outer dress using clips or pins. Silhouette A common body silhouette for women in the 20’s was boyishwith a flat chest and rectangular body achieved by the boxy shape of thedresses known as shift dresses.
The shift dress first made an appearance in1916 from designers such as Jeanne Lanvin,Callot Seours, and Coco Chanel. It became the most common style worn during theday and evening by the 1920’s. It hung from the shoulders and reached justbelow the knee and was loose down to the waistline which was dropped to thehips the hemline of these dresses was very high compared to previous yearswhich exposed the women’s legs and causing a rising interest in women’shosiery.FabricsFabrics in the 1920’s were very delicate generally. Forwomen they were thin and airy but were stiffer for men. Most garments from the20’s were not washed in order to retain their original colour and shape as thedyes in clothing of this time would fade easily. Silk was widely used in the20’s and compared to previous years was more easily affordable for the middleclass. Cotton was also an essential fabric.
Bright colours like red, greens,and blues were widely popular as well as subdued pastels. Patterns wereinfluenced by art deco and often consisted of bright bold colours and minimalism.Fabrics used for sport and leisure were knit fabrics and the casual look ofthem was popular with men. Rayon also was popular during the 20’s as it wasmuch cheaper then silk but gave of a similar look and feel. AccessoriesHeadwearThe cloche was an iconic 1920’s hat. It was round in shapefit snugly on the head, and was made from felt or straw. The hat came very fardown on the forehead reducing the visibility of the wearer so that theconstantly had to lift there chin and look down on people.
This gave theimpression that 1920’s women were snobby but it was only a fashion trend and isa pose seen commonly in 1920’s photography of women wearing the cloche. In theearly 20’s cloche hats had brims 1 to 3 inches wide but by the late 20’s therewas not brim at all. Decorations on hats consisted of geometric ribbon shapesor abstract embroidered designs.
Women would also add hat pins or broches aswell as ostrich or other various bird feather to the hats to add moredecoration when needed. Women of the 20’s also wore turbans it was made ofwrapped fabric and was commonly adorned with flowers, feather, or gems on oneside. The fabric usually matched the dress worn and was not typically worn as aday hat but as evening wear. A ribbon tied tight around the wearers forheadthat matched the colour of the dress was also common as it showed of the bobbedhairstyle that the hat and turban could not. Hair jewellery was also popularjewelled headbands that sat across the eyebrows and tiaras being the mostcommonStockingsIn the early 20’s black stocking were the most commonly wornout of all the colours during the day but throughout the rest of the decadedark nude stockings were the ones commonly seen on women. Because of the risinghemline of the dresses women decided to have more fun with their stockings.Silk stockings came in a variety of geometric designs, Asian inspired imagerysuch as dragons or butterflies, and art deco images.
Women would also wear stockingsthat matched the colour of the dresses which included pastelcolours such as peach, pink, light green, blue, silver and white. All stockingsfrom the 20’s had subtle seams running along the back and were thigh high heldup with beautifully designed garters or equally designed garter belt with cliptype holds. The “flapper girl” way of wearing stockings was to roll them downto just below the knee and if a women was to wear her stockings like this shewas considered very daring and scandalous but it was the style that was “in.”Jewellery There were two types of necklaces, they were beaded orribbon chokers and long strands of glass beads and/or pearls. Women would alsouse the long beaded necklaces as belts that hung from the hips. The earringsthat the women wore for both day and evening were long and beautifullydecorated usually matching the necklaces and bracelets.
Chandelier shapedearing were very common and a favourite among women of the 20’s. The colours ofthe gems in the jewellery always matched either the wearers dress or otherjewellery worn. Bracelets were a major fashionaccessories in the 20’s and included cuffs as well as battalions of bangles.They were thick and usually made of gold or plastic like material that wasbrightly coloured. Bracelets worn on the upper arm were called slave bracelets.