Fashion of the 1920s

Fashion of the 1920s started in much the same way as the previous twenty years did in terms of dress formality for women and men, by the middle of the decade, fashion was considerably ess formal.

In the 1920's, both men and women still dressed formally when the occasion called for it. There was also a definite casual air to many of the new fashion clothing lines that were introduced. Coco Chanel, a highly influential fashion designer of that era, did much to further the emancipation of women with her fashions that enabled greater movement of a woman's legs. In addition, the fashions tended to place less emphasis on a woman's curves.

Characteristics of Fashion in teh 1920s

The 1920s or "Roaring Twenties" as the decade become known for, marked an era of increased equality for both women and minorities. The women's suffrage movement gave rise to women choosing to wear long pants or short skirts that helped to facilitate their freedom of movement rather than restrict it. The decade began much as a carbon copy of the previous few decades as far as the restrictive and formal clothing. By the mid 1920s, however, fashions began to become less formal as bloomers for women were introduced as well as such casual hats as the trilby for men.

Formal Wear Characteristics

Men's formal wear consisted of a tuxedo or a coat and tails. The latter, however, fell into disuse around the middle of the century as fashions for both women and men became less formal. Hats, a popular accessory still for many men of this time, tended to be more formal top hats for the upper class.

Characteristics of Business Attire

Men were usually seen wearing a suit with or without a vest, depending on the formality of the business to be conducted on that day. Women, entering the job market in larger numbers than ever usually wore tunic type dresses.

Casual Wear in 1920s Fashion

Casual wear for women in the 1920s consisted of long-waisted dresses and tunics. Hemlines hovered around the knees and occasionally went higher. Bloomers and camisoles replaced knickers and drawers. Men were often seen wearing suits or jackets with no vests. Top hats were considered very formal and were replaced with a fedora or trilby, when appropriate.

1920s Fashion: Gay Northeasterners

Influences on Fashion of the 1920s

There were many influential people who adopted the carefree fashions of the 1920s. With the rise in popularity of jazz music, many of the more popular men who played this music, such as Ted Lewis, Paul Whiteman and Bob Haring, dressed in the casual manner that was fashionable during the 1920s. Cuffed trousers and shirts with loose sleeves became popular dress for these musicians.

Actresses such as Evelyn Brent and Louise Brooks helped to popularize the dropped-waist tunic and bloomers that were being worn by those women who were liberated. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks both did much to popularize the fashions of the 1920s as well. The Queen of Belgium, Elisabeth Gabriele of Bavaria, embraced the 1920s and its liberating fashions. This is not surprising given her artistic roots and the fact that the fashions of this time period were closely tied to the artistic movement of that same era.

At the conclusion of the First World War, the notions of individuality and materialism began in earnest. The United States entered its most prosperous time to date. With this prosperity came more relaxed social customs and this was reflected in fashion of the 1920s. This ushered in the less conservative look in women's fashions. Women now wore panties rather than knickers and drawers. Bloomers and camisoles became popular and fashionable wear for women under their outer clothing.

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