Anne Greene here:
In December I discussed Christmas During the Roaring 1920s. In January I discussed the Flapper In The Jazz Age. This month for Valentine's Day, I’m homing in on Fashions During The Roaring 1920s. In March, I’ll discuss Accessories and Hairstyles During the Roaring 1920s.
When we think of the 1920s we tend to think of ancient history. But events that occurred after World War I still affect our lives today.
FASHION CHANGED AFTER WORLD WAR I. Social customs and morals relaxed in the optimism brought on by the end of the war and the booming stock market. Women entered the workforce. People ignored the prohibition on alcohol. A revolution occurred in almost every sphere of human activity. As women earned the right to vote, fashion trends became more practical. Flappers discarded the constrictive corset, an essential undergarment to make the waist thinner.
Undergarments transformed to conform to the ideals of a flatter chest and more boyish figure. The chemise or camisole and bloomers replaced the confining corset. Soon those shortened to panties or knickers. All-in-one lingerie grew popular.
The development of new fabrics and new closures in clothing affected fashion. Natural fabrics such as cotton and wool were abundant. Silk was highly desired for its luxurious qualities, but the limited supply made it expensive. Artificial silk patented in the United States became known as rayon. Rayon stockings grew popular as a substitute for silk stockings. Rayon was also used in undergarments. Before the 1920s buttons and lacing fastened clothes. Now metal hooks and eyes, zippers and snaps developed to make dressing easier and faster.
Improved production methods enabled manufacturers to produce clothing working families could afford. People’s fashion sense grew more sophisticated. Working-class women looked for modern dresses to transition from farm work to urban careers. Women adopted a modern look that suited their new careers as typists and telephone operators.
For the first time in centuries, women's legs were seen with hemlines rising to the knee. A more masculine look became popular, including flattened breasts and hips, and short hairstyles such as the bob cut and the Marcel wave.
But the 1920s also loved luxury. High end designers favored expensive fabrics like silk, velvet and satin, while department stores carried less expensive variations on those designs made of new synthetic fabrics. The use of mannequins grew widespread and showed shoppers how to accessorize the new fashions. The modern fashion cycle, established in the 1920s, still dominates the industry today.
Clothing fashions changed with women's changing roles. Although society matrons of a certain age continued to wear conservative dresses, sportswear worn by younger women became the greatest change in post-war fashion. The tubular dresses of the teens evolved into a similar silhouette that sported shorter skirts with pleats, gathers, or slits to allow motion. The most memorable fashion trend of the Roaring '20s was the flapper look which was functional and flattened the bust line rather than accentuating it.
The straight-line chemise topped by the close-fitting cloche hat was the uniform of the day. Women bobbed their hair short to fit under the popular hats, a radical move in the beginning, but standard by the end of the decade. Low-waisted dresses with fullness at the hemline allowed women to literally kick up their heels in new dances like the Charleston. In 1925, shift dress with no waistline, and a hem approximately one inch below the knee emerged.
Proper attire for women was still enforced for morning, afternoon, and evening activities. In the early part of the decade, wealthy women still expected to change from a morning to an afternoon dress. Afternoon gowns featured long, flowing sleeves, with sashes, bows, or artificial flowers at the waist. Evening gowns, slightly longer than afternoon gowns, featured satin or velvet, and were embellished with beads, rhinestones, or fringe.
Clothing styles consisted of more than just the cloche and flapper. Casual clothing was introduced to the public. Women began to wear pants. Certain styles of women’s shoes were unique to this decade. Some of the breakout shoe styles included the ankle strap button shoe, the t-bar shoe, and shoes trimmed with sequins or other materials.
Men began to abandon formal wear when more and more men opted for suits with long suit jackets for special events and shorter suit jackets for casual occasions.
All in all the decade brought in practicality and fun. The US was young, lively, and full of expectations. Nothing was impossible.
Would you have enjoyed living during the 1920s? Leave a comment for a chance to win Anne’s newest book release, Marriage By Arrangement. This makes a lovely Valentine's Day gift for a loved one.
ANNE GREENE delights in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines.
Her second novel, a Scottish historical, Masquerade Marriage, won the New England Reader Choice award, the Laurel Wreath Award, and the Heart of Excellence Award. The sequel Marriage By Arrangement released November, 2013. A Texas Christmas Mystery also won awards. She makes her home in McKinney, Texas. Tim LaHaye led her to the Lord when she was twenty-one and Chuck Swindoll is her Pastor. View Anne’s travel pictures and art work at http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com. Anne’s highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Buy Anne’s books at http://www.PelicanBookGroup.com. Or at http://www.Amazon.com. Visit http://www.anneswritingupdates.blogspot.com for information on writing an award-winning novel. Talk with Anne on twitter at @TheAnneGreene. Visit Anne’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor.