Roaring Twenties historic overview
The Roaring Twenties defined itself by the lightening of spirits. The First World War had ended, the economy thrived and change was in the air. Moreover, the end of the 1910s had brought about the women’s right to vote in most western countries and the class society of the 1800s disintegrated after the war. Then, what followed was a considerably lighter and cheerier era: the Roaring Twenties.
This lightness and cheerful attitude boosted the artistic world enormously back then. Art and fashion were invested in greatly and the people behind it were praised and accoladed. The Roaring Twenties era is specifically known for the jazz parties that seemed to sprout from every larger room back then, also known as ‘speakeasies’. During the whole 1920s the consuming of alcohol was prohibited in the United States, which now adds to the magical allure of the secret back room parties they used to have.
Now, the fashion of the twenties was simply wonderful. Artists and fashion designers felt inspired by all the possibilities they now seemed to have. Also, their well-paying costumers wanted to outshine everyone else at the ball that weekend. Hence, the dresses and suits of the Twenties carry a distinctive style, with lots of glimmering touches and of all the best materials.
The chemise dress was the first distinguished twenties fashion for ladies. The chemise dress dropped from shoulder to just below the knee and had no pleats at the hips or waist. Every year the hemline of dresses creeped up a bit, from below the knee to just over the thighs.
Fashion-loving women of the twenties were well off with all the garments on offer. One of the most famous garments of the early twenties must be the flapper dress. The dress was named after its most renowned wearer, the flapper. The flapper was a young woman who had no special regard for what was considered ‘acceptable behaviour’. They distinguished themselves by wearing their hair cropped in a bob style, and listening to jazz. Also, they wore short skirts and excessive make-up and finally drank alcohol and drove automobiles.
The flapper dress is an exceptional dress purposely designed for the jazz dances, where the skirt took quite the role in dancing. It furthermore was straight and loose, the twenties women’s fashion was not about tight-fitting clothes. The flapper dress was mostly about comfort, as the women of that time felt the personal need to break away from the stifling clothing and matching gender roles of the 1800s.
To finish off the flapper girl appearance, women of the twenties used to wear close-fitting hats or cloches and hair bandeaus.
Little Black Dress
The Little Black Dress made its way into the twenties thanks to the French designer Coco Chanel. The Little Black Dress or LBD was perfect for parties, since the colour black wasn’t reserved for mourning anymore. Hence, it proved to be a stylish fashion uniform for all women in the 1920s and beyond.
Underneath the women often wore silk, or the new upcoming fabric rayon, stockings held up by garters or jarretelles. Furthermore, the corsets and pantaloons from the 1800s were done away with and made place for the much smaller step-in panties.
The shoes in the Twenties started getting higher heels, the kitten heel was still highly in fashion, but the true daredevils wore heels of 3 inches (8 cm) high. As a result, the shoe model in favour was the Mary Jane, with a strap across the foot.