Roaring Twenties

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Jessica Hines

Mr. Cobb

English 11

November 11, 2012

Style and Fashion

The “Roaring Twenties” was a time of renewal and changes, changes everywhere from music and sports to fashion and style. With World War I ending the women had to adapt yet again from having to take over men’s usual work to going back to the way things used to be. Before the war women expressed their feminine sides, but after the war style changed and they started being a bit… bolder.

The “typical woman” of the 1920s smoked, drank, danced, voted, cut her hair, wore make-up, went to parties, she was giddy, and she took risks; she was a flapper, (Rosenberg). Lesley Anne Down was television’s first flapper, she set the image to maintain and everyone followed her. Jennifer Rosenberg also wrote that the word ‘flapper’ was used “…to describe young girls, still somewhat awkward in movement who had not yet entered womanhood.” The girls started wearing make-up more commonly; they mostly chose some sort of powder, a certain shade of rouge, eye liner and lipstick. The goal of make-up was to achieve a fine porcelain finish to the face and neck, (1920’s Fashion-Women’s Dress and Style). Women were very specific as to what make-up went with which hair color. If the hair was blonde they chose a flesh shaded powder with a light rouge. For dark brown hair it was a white powder with a cream tint and dark rouge.

Their style, however, was where the majority of risk taking exposed itself. Rosenberg said that it was all based on their truthfulness, fast living, and sexual behavior. Women wanted to be different. One piece of clothing was the Silhouette. It was said to have its “feminine grace, but without the curves,” with more of a manly look as it was slender and had a flat chest, (1920’s Fashion-Women’s Dress and Style). The dresses became more popular as the hem rose to knee length, with which women wore short necklaces. Sweaters were hip length with a waistline that rested below the bottom: taking the emphasis away from the hips, and turning it to the female shape itself, was the main priority. Wrap-over coats with large buttons and belts were also in fashion. Common fabrics and material consisted of beading, furs, feathers, flowers, lace, chiffon, taffeta, satin, velvet, and brocade.

During the day women wore corsets and stockings, but at night the corsets came off and the stockings followed and the women went out dancing. For dancing they sometimes wore girdles and suspenders. As for their feet the main focus was bar shoes, T-Bar to be precise. Bars on the shoes meant that they wouldn’t fall off when they danced. Along with the corsets and the T-Bars was the Bob. The hairstyles were all short and consisted of mainly three different types; the Bob, the Ethon Crop, and the Finger Wave. Hats were also a big deal, most women wore the cloche hat, but there were also feathered headbands and turbans, or sequined caps. Another activity, besides dancing, was swimming. The swimsuits of the 1920’s were one piece suits with a short wrap-over skirt, and they were called ‘swim dresses.” Swim dresses later became a suitable idea for a regular dress to wear out in the town.

The men of the 1920’s mostly wore suits. The suits aimed to give men a slim, boyish look, (Jennings). Jackets were tight with sloping shoulders and ties became more casual leaving bow ties to become more fashionable. A common piece was the “plus” pants which were categorized by “how far the pants fell below the knee before being secured around the leg area,” (Jennings). A large part of men’s fashion was following the image of sports. For example, with tennis becoming more popular men started matching what the players wore; white trousers and a v-neck sweater. Suspenders were replaced by belts and skinny trousers were added to the wardrobe instead of just baggy pants. Men always had hats just as well as women. In the winter and autumn months the most common hat was the fedora. Men also had an interest in shoes, rather than continuing to wear the one, solid color shoe, they changed their style and started wearing two-tone shoes of mostly brown or black.

All of this change brought a lot of emotion and thoughts. There was much more of a sense of eccentricity and originality. People could have their own image and they could express themselves. There was also an emphasis on excitement, which put a splash of fun in the lives of the roaring twenties.

“Change” was the theme for the 1920’s fashion and style. Women became bolder and men became more ‘boyish’ and took an interest in fashion. After World War I the styles and the fashion of the twenties certainly were “roaring.”

Works Cited

Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Flappers in the Roaring Twenties." 20th Century History. Guide, 2012. Web. 07 Nov. 2012.

"1920s Fashion - Womens Dress and Style | Glamourdaze." Glamour Daze. Word Press, 2012. Web. 09 Nov. 2012.

Jennings, Danielle. "Men's Fashion in the 1920s." LoveToKnow- Men's Fashion. LoveToKnow, 2006. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.

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