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1920s Fashion



Fashion entered the modern era in the 1920s.

The long hair and floor-length gowns of the 1910s were replaced by bobbed hair and shorter hemlines. The uncomfortable S-shaped silhouette favored by the Gibson Girl was replaced by the slim, boyish figure of the active modern woman.

The first changes took place during World War I. While the men were fighting in Europe, their jobs were taken over by women, and a factory was no place for long dresses or long hair. Women who worked in factories began to wear shorter, simpler dresses for safety reasons. They also began to bob their hair (cut it).





Before the 1920s, women NEVER cut their hair. A head of long, flowing hair was a woman's crowning glory.

A woman with short hair was assumed to be either ill with a fever or a member of one of those radical "dress reform" cults.

Ladies who bobbed their hair were taking a big step....they were getting their hair cut for the very first time.


"What have I DONE?"

This young lady looks a bit nervous! I would imagine that most women felt a sense of panic as they watched the first curls begin to fall.

After the deed was done, these women felt liberated. They were finally free from the ordeal of washing, combing and styling masses of long, tangled hair.

Most men hated the new bobbed hairstyle, but women loved it. By the late 1920s, it was difficult to find a woman under 50 who didn't have bobbed hair.

As the 1920s wore on, hair kept getting shorter and shorter. In a shingled hairstyle, the hair in back was cut very short and tapered like that of a man. In 1926, the Eton Crop was even shorter and more severe. Other popular hairstyles were the Moana and the Chesterfield.

The ultra-stylish lady also sported a spit curl right in the middle of her forehead, held in place with dried soap or a homemade setting gel.

bobbed or shingled?
--a humorous postcard
with real hair attached




the new beauty ideal
In the 1920s, Americans developed a new interest in healthy lifestyles. As a result, our concept of the ideal woman and ideal man began to change.

In the 1900s, just 20 short years earlier, the stylish man was fat and successful. He enjoyed multi-course dinners, brandy and cigars. The stylish woman was curvy and corseted.

In the 1920s, we were changing our eating habits, engaging in more outdoor activities and developing an obsession with youthful beauty. The stylish man became slim, energetic and clean-shaven. The stylish woman was slender, boyish and athletic. This desire to be eternally young and beautiful also resulted in the explosion of the cosmetics and beauty parlor industries.

flapper style
The flapper look sent society into a state of shock. Young ladies who adopted this style rejected every outdated fashion tradition. A flapper shortened her hemlines and shortened her hair. She rolled her stockings down below her knees, wrapped her head with a headache band and went without a corset. Her pearl necklaces hung down to her waist, and her unbuckled galoshes went "flap flap flap" when she walked....hence the nickname flapper.


Not all ladies were tomboys. The feminine look was still popular in the 1920s, complete with flowing summer dresses, large picture hats and floral prints.



Dresses had straight,
boyish silhouettes
and drop waists.


cloche hats
fur coats
fur stoles
long pearl necklaces
silk stockings
rayon stockings
bra & girdle combinations

It was fashionable to wear fur in the 1920s. Popular pelts included bear, goat, wolf and raccoon. Silver fox was the most prized fur of the era. Fur stoles were usually made of fox, and used the entire body....head, tail and paws.

Close-fitting cloche hats
emphasized the new
shorter hairstyles


that hussy ought to be ashamed of herself!
Bathing suits also became modern in the 1920s.

In the past, beach attire consisted of heavy wool suits with bloomers and stockings.

In the 1920s, the new tank top bathing suits were made of stretchy, lightweight knits, which made them extremely form-fitting. They also revealed a good portion of the wearer's arms and legs.

This was unheard of! At some point during the 1920s, almost every beach hosted its own version of the Bathing Suit Battles. Many women who wore the new styles were arrested for indecent exposure.

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