1920s Fashion By Bri Darnell

The Basics of 1920s Fashion

The 1920s was a huge departure from the lengthy skirts and layers of the early 1900s. The 1920s were the first era to reveal anything above the ankle and the first era to utilize sheer material without layering underneath.

The construction of 1920s dresses were also unique to the period. For the first time, the iconic beauty was a slender woman with a flat chest and slender legs. The dresses and skirts of these times were made to reflect that; there was no defined silhouette to any 20s outfit. The waistline had dropped from the natural waistline to the middle of the hips, creating a straight, boxy outline.


In the United States, the biggest promoter of Flapper fashion was Vogue. Vogue was started in 1892 and by 1900 had grown to be one of the most popular magazines in terms of fashion. While you couldn't order clothes from the magazine, the women pictured in it gave a glimpse of how richer women lived and what they wore. Vogue often caught little snippets of how other countries dressed, France being the biggest style reference for young American women.

Popular fashion brands

The names of the most Famous 1920's Fashion designers included Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, Sonia Delauney, Jean Patou, Madeleine Vionnet, Florrie Westwood, Norman Hartnell, Hilda Steward and Victor Stiebel. Obviously, Chanel is the one we know most. Most of these designers were French; demonstrating how far fashion traveled, even in the Roaring 20s.

Fashion Icons of 1920

The 1920's Fashion icons included Hollywood movie stars such as Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Marie Provost, Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Swanson and Colleen Moore. Other Fashion icons included Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker, other celebrities and members of royalty.

Primary Fashion Trends

Short Flapper style clothes that provided freedom of movement

Striking Art Deco designs

Cloche hats and bobbed hairstyles

The adoption of male clothing

Casual styles for day wear

Fun, fringed flapper dresses or glamorous silk gowns for evening attire

Make-up and Hair

Make-up was very dark in the 20s. While light skin was preferable, women often darkened and thinned their brows to the point they were straight lines, having little arch and little definition. Blush was applied at the apples of the cheeks and usually in highly concentrated red colors. Blush was also used a lipstick, so women of the 20s had deep red lips. Their eye make-up was dark and smoky, but nothing was blended like it is today.

Hair was cut short and hid in cloche hats. The modern bobbed hairstyle is much longer than the traditional bob. Flapper bobs were about passed the ear and usually curly or straight with a curl pointing in the same direction as their jaw.

Difference between Modern Flapper and Traditional Flapper

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