Thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic remake of The Great Gatsby in 2013, there has been a revival of interest towards 1920s fashion. Both the book and its movie adaptations have featured some iconic features of the Roaring 20s, especially when it came to the fashion trends.
This renewed interest is why we thought of unrolling some facts about the interesting fashion trends of this decade that every fashionista should know about. It’s not just about the interest that the movie has stirred up, but also the fact that we should know about the most influential fashions that have shaped modern fashion as we know it:
Mannequins first became popular during this decade. It served as a way for store customers to learn how to mix and match clothes as well as accessories. This was both a great way for stores to market their wares as well as for customers to learn about fashion at the point where they needed it the most.
Free-spirited, fashion-conscious women in the 1920s — referred to as “flappers” — rolled their stockings below the knee, and used garters to help the stockings in place. This was a rebellious answer to the conservative lifestyle of the earlier decades, when at times even showing the ankle was considered distasteful.
Scarves were also a popular clothing accessory during the 1920s. They were tied around the head (just above the brow line) and knotted at either the side or the back of the head. Several vintage commercials portray images of women with their head covered like this, albeit the rest of their outfit and their general manner was free-spirited enough.
For the first time, women during the 1920s ditched the formal and restricting fashion trends in the past and adopted for more comfortable clothes like skirts and trousers.
One of the most distinguishable things about 1920s fashion is the short bob haircut or “bob cut” for women. This is characterized by a short haircut (usually at the jaw level), and bangs (or “fringes”). This hairstyle was popularized by actresses Colleen Moore and Louise Brooks during this decade. Again, this style was a major departure from what was considered proper for women until only recently. Before this, long hair, plaits, and large buns were considered the norm for females.
1920s Fashion Designers
The most famous and iconic designers of the 1920s have given us the most coveted brands today. These designers include names such as Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, Sonia Delaunay, Jean Patou, Madeleine Vionnet, Florrie Westwood, Norman Hartnell, Hilda Steward, and Victor Stiebel.
These iconic figures defined the 20s style and revolutionized the world of fashion for women in particular. Thanks to Coco Chanel, wearing trousers became acceptable for women for the first time in history.
Fashion Icons in the 1920s
The figures who defined the 1920s style include Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Louise Brooks, Clara Bow, Colleen Moore, Josephine Baker, Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, and Mary Pickford, among many others.
Fashion Trends for Women in the 1920s
As implied earlier, women during the 1920s abandoned the previously restricting fashion trends from the past years. The silent film was largely responsible for influencing fashion trends during this decade.
Female stars in particular, such as Clara Bow, Colleen Moore, and Louise Brooks, became fashion icons due to their revolutionary costumes on the screen. their fans were eager to follow the latest in fashion styles, being ready for a change and wanting to mimic their idols.
There were also certain women who challenged the traditional styles by wearing shorter and loose skirts, more revealing clothing and wearing too much makeup. These women were called “flappers.” while their unique style might be too ostentatious today, but some still adopt the flapper look for 20s-themed parties.
Cloche hats were all the rage during much of the Roaring Twenties. A cloche hat is a close-fitting, bell-shaped women’s hat, invented by hatmaker Caroline Reboux in 1908. The name originated from the French word cloche, which means “bell.”
There’s actually a neat piece of history behind several kinds of fashion accessories. We’ve covered some of these in this article:
Getting a Source for 1920s Fashion
If you’re interested in the flapper style or any other fashion trend related to the 1920s, you might want to pick up a reference book to educate yourself on such designs. The book called “1920s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook” is a great way to start off gaining insight into such trends, so check it out here:
The pages inside this work contain hundreds of original period photographs that redefine what we know (or think we know) about 1920s fashion. These vintage trends are still dominating the runway, so they’re worth a closer look before you create your own designs!
The 1920s decade is a worthwhile addition to the fashion scene as we know it now. By learning about the fashionable trends of the 920s, we open ourselves up to a wealth of knowledge about art deco, courtier dresses, mail-order fashions, and several other creative designs. While we don’t have to copy the 1920s designs exactly, we can take inspiration from those styles and mix them up with some updated detailing.