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Flappers and the Jazz Age

Flappers and the Jazz Age
Women's Fashions of the 1920's   Less TailoringWomen's fashions of the 1920's are a large part of the Jazz Age identity. New technology and the end of the horrors brought about by World War I and the 1918 Flu Pandemic gave rise to a youthful exuberance personified by the Flapper.
Contrary to popular misconception, the short skirts and bold make up of the flapper did not rule the fashion of the day. Fashion periods are usually distinguished by the female silhouette which presented a boyish figure with flattened breasts and loose clothing for most of the decade.
The drop waist shift dresses of the 1920's relieved women of the last vestiges of Edwardian formality. Less tailoring, as well as the availability of the sewing machine meant that women could easily make fashionable clothing at home so that high fashion was no longer restricted to the elite.
Women felt empowered when they won the right to vote (1920 in the US, 1928 for 21 year old women in Britain). The widespread use of the automobile, radio, and increased educational opportunities encouraged young women to cut off their hair and kick up their heels.
The New Culture of the 1920'sDuring World War I, young women worked outside the home more than they had in the past. They drove cars and disregarded tradition. Gender specific clothing began to fall by the wayside after women worked in munitions factories during the Great War. Scott Fitzgerald, as the Lost Generation. Young women smoked cigarettes and danced the Charleston and Blackbottom, typified by fast, jerky movements. Short skirts allowed greater freedom to dance; and plunging necklines, and low backs put more of the female body on display than ever before.
Flappers incorporated an unusual use of clothing into the wild new style. Flappers rolled stockings below the knee, and wore unhooked rubber galoshes that flapped when they walked.
Fashion icons of the 1920's like Joan Crawford, Anita Page, and Clara Bow presented glamorous images of party girls, hoydens who flouted tradition and shocked their elders by cutting their hair into a bob as well as wearing bold, obvious make up.
Fashions of the 1920's   HemlinesNot all women wore the short skirts or the flippant styles of the cap wholesalers flappers.
Skirt hemlines began to rise in 1913 when skirts stopped just above the ankles. By 1818, hemlines had risen to just below calf length and for the next several years showed variations of a few inches one way or another.
In the early 1920's, uneven hemlines gave the appearance of shortening when uneven, scalloped, and handkerchief hems became fashionable.
By 1929, asymmetrical skirt hems brought hemlines back down. But fashions brief flirtation with short hemlines gave us the image of the modern woman, a style that continued (more or less) throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century.
Women's Underwear of the 1920'sRejection of the stiff tailoring of earlier styles made corset sales plummet. A new, elasticised corset replaced the old, white baseball caps stiff, restricted whale bone corsets of the past.
Young women flattened their breasts with fabric bands to enhance a slim, boyish figure.
As hems rose, the legs were suddenly ( and shockingly) on display. Silk and rayon stockings hooked onto the long 'girdles' with snap on garters. Stocking came in shades of skin or sun tan, colors that gave the appearance of bare legs. Flappers rolled their stockings to just below the knee for ease of movement while dancing.
Fashion Designers of the 1920'sGabrielle Coco Chanel entered the fashion world in the 1920's with her loose shift dresses, blouses, and evening coats in dark and natural shades. Long, belted blouses, and Russian peasant style embroidery simplified the look of women's clothing. In 1926, Coco Chanel claimed to have introduced introduced the Little Black Dress, a fashion staple that has endured for 85 years.
Coco Chanel's jewelry workshop introduced the long chain necklaces and multiple stands of faux pearls associated with the flapper look.
A new, masculine look offered loose, sailor style trousers for women to wear at home and at the beach. These 'beach pajamas' were an early form of a pants suit.
Art Deco played a prominent role in the fashion trends of the 1920's with geometric shapes based on natural lines.
The discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922 set off an instant craze for all things Egyptian. Clothing styles and embellishments reflected designs and patterns of ancient Egypt.
The designer Jean Patau designed romantic fashions embellished with fine lace, embroidery, and a lavish use of beading. Along with Coco Chanel, Patous' garconne look created a tubular silhouette that de emphasized the feminine figure by flattening the breasts, narrowing hips, and ignoring the waist.
In 1922, Jean Patou became the first designer to embroider his initials onto the fabric of his sportswear designs, a concept that is still popular today.
1920's Hair and HatsModern concepts of hygiene encouraged women toward more frequent hair washing. Emancipation from traditional gender styles encouraged women to cut their long hair and free them from the complicated hair styles of Edwardian times.
The bob appeared in the US shortly before World War I but really took hold in the 1920's, infuriating the older generation and igniting controversy about gender and appearance with the new androgynous look.
Women with bobs needed more frequent hair cuts, and wanted permanent waves, ushering in an explosion of beauty parlors that offered dye jobs, and perms, as well as the fashionable new hair cut.
Cloche hats were all the rage; narrow, close fitting, bell shaped hats that often featured feathers, bows, beads, or artificial flowers.
Flappers held hair out of their eyes while dancing with headbands decorated with embroidery, beads, or a feather.
1920's Fashion   FabricsNatural fabrics like wool and cotton were still worn, but technology and mass production manufactured synthetics like rayon, introduced in 1910 as a faux silk.
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