1920s fashion and style was very much influenced by the end of World War I. War had necessitated a practical change in the way that people, particularly women dressed, as more of them went to work outside the home and in different roles. A more masculine silhouette became fashionable as clothing lines became increasingly severe, the fit became more shapeless and loose. The fashion was to allow ease of movement, with pleats and slits. Women suppressed their bustlines, waistlines disappeared due to the dropped waist style and they started cutting their hair shorter. A bob haircut was the popular trend, as were Marcel waves. Those that did not choose to cut their hair would have worn it pulled back in a chignon. Womanly curves were decidedly out of fashion and narrow, boyish hips were fashionable.
By the end of the war, hemlines had risen to mid-calf lengths and this trend actually continued until about 1925. Dresses and skirts flirted with shorter lengths with scalloped and handkerchief hemlines in softly flowing fabrics that allowed more skin to peak through without seeming to be short. Fabrics were lighter and brighter than they had ever been. In 1926 skirts started being short enough to show the knee and this trend continued until 1928. Showing the entire leg to the knee was the height of the flapper trend. In 1929 uneven hems and asymmetric hemlines were back in fashion, making the length longer. By 1930 the hemline was back to being several inches below the knee. Importantly, corsets had begun to disappear.
In terms of accessories, the cloche hat reigned supreme in this era, as did the mary jane shoe and coloured or nude stockings, in place of black. Headbands were also very popular, particular as part of evening wear. Pearls were worn in various lengths and layers, as were feathered headpieces and heavily beaded dresses and accessories for the evening. Make-up became more common place and beauty brands like Elizabeth Arden and Max Factor became successful. Lipstick was only available in a few shades of red and the lips were drawn into a cupids bow shape rather than following the natural shape of the lip. Eye make-up involved the use of heavy kohl liner in dark shades, similar to the smokey eye and mascara was also used, just in a different form. False eyelashes were also a trend. Eyebrows were very high and drawn extremely thin.
1920s style headpieces:
Pixiwoo make-up tutorial Clara Bow inspired:
1920s waves hair tutorial:
Completely self taught and known for her strong sense of personal style, she began her fashion career as a hat designer in Paris in 1910. A style innovator and trendsetter, in 1916, she introduced jersey (elasticized knitwear) as a fashionable fabric. Prior to this jersey had only been used for undergarments. In 1921 she created her first perfume, Chanel no. 5 with perfumer Ernest Beaux. Some 90 years later, it is still a classic and, whether or not you like, you have heard of it. In 1926 she created her first little black dress, something for which we should all be thankful. Another classic, the first tweed “suit” was created in 1928 and would become an identifiable design for the brand.
Chanel designs (L-R) 1928, 1925 and 1925
I would suggest that Katie Holmes’ bobbed hair from a few years ago was influenced by Brooks’ style:
1920s style purses
Dior 2009/2010 ’20s inspired make-up tutorial:
Gucci Spring/Summer 2012
There are many things that I admire about the 1920s style but I particularly like the boldness of the overall style from the vampy make-up, the swingy dresses and above all, for me, the jewelry and accessories. I love the layered necklaces and the earrings, with the bejewelled hairpieces – it all seems very extravagant but I guess that that is why they termed it the “Roaring Twenties”! It is such a distinctive style that there is absolutely no chance of confusing it with another decade though, clearly, designers are still very much inspired by the time period.