Western Fashion in the 1920s underwent modernisation.
Women’s fashion moved away from the extravagant and restrictive styles of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, moving towards looser clothing which revealed more of the arms and legs, that had begun at least a decade prior with the rising of hemlines to the ankle and the movement from the S-bend corset to the columnar silhouette of the 1910s.
The 1920s are characterised by two distinct periods of fashion:
In the early part of the decade, change was slower, and there was more reluctance to wear the new, revealing popular styles. From 1925, the public more passionately embraced the styles now typically associated with the Roaring Twenties. These styles continued to characterise fashion until the worldwide depression worsened in 1931.
The flapper style is the style most people think of when they think of 1920s fashion. Flapper women chopped off their hair into a short, almost masculine style. They wore short, loose-fitting dresses. Big, fancy, straw hats gave way to smaller hats such as cloches, a simple hat shaped like the bell of a flowerpot. These topped the women's newly bobbed hair.
This simplicity created the popular tubular “la garçonne” look that dominated much of the decade. Also known as the flapper look typified 1920s dress with a dropped waist and creeping hemlines that could be created in economical fabrics. Coco Chanel helped popularise this style and was a prominent designer during the period.
Both waistlines and hemlines followed similar, though inverse, Erik’s 1920 to projections throughout the decade, as waistlines dropped until 1923 before beginning to rise again in 1928; while hemlines rose until 1926, when they started to fall again
Evening dresses sometimes still nearly reached the ground, though many of the popular styles followed the hemline trends of daywear. While simplicity in construction was key to both daywear and eveningwear, the latter benefited from ornate decoration: beadwork, sequins, and embroidery all helped create the glamorous night time looks of the decade.
Like today, 1920s fashion was influenced by celebrities. People wanted to emulate their favourite stars, like Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.
The 1920s was also a time when people started recognizing the works of different fashion designers. Women's fashions were influenced by designer Coco Chanel and the actress Marlene Dietrich. These women designed and wore more androgynous styles, with undefined hemlines and straighter, flowing dresses, and sometimes even pants.
Related Tag: Fashion Prints
To read more about this period: