During a recent discussion on the Chictopia forums, Style Icon and EIU contributor, Annebeth suggested the idea that we editors write more personal and creative articles for EIU. I’ve always been a bit apprehensive about writing journalistic pieces from a personal standpoint, but after Annebeth’s idea, I’ve finally decided to take the plunge.
As you all have probably noticed by now, I have a HUGE penchant for vintage clothing. I’m constantly referring to silver screen film stars in my EIU articles and sporting eclectically-anachronistic ensembles in my own personal outfit posts. While some of you Chictopians may be well-seasoned vintage fashionistas, some of you may be trying out vintage clothing for the first time. In the following series of articles, I’d like to show you how to “get your feet” wet in the world of vintage, by covering the fashion highlights of several prominent decades. I hope that these will be informative starting guides for new vintage lovers and a creative refresher for those of you already familiar with the fashions of bygone eras.
The 1920’s (more appropriately referred to as the “Roaring Twenties”) was a time for the people of America to let loose and party. The end of World War I in 1918 triggered an economic boom in America and the major cities of Europe. Instead of facing the perilous terrors of international war, people now had the extra time and money to kick back and enjoy the luxuries of life.
Girl of the Decade: the Flapper
Almost a hundred years later, the flapper girl is still one of the most iconic and memorable elements of the Roaring Twenties. During this time period, women found a new voice of liberation. Casting of the gowns and hats of their mothers’ generation the young flapper of the 1920’s wore “shockingly” short, calf-revealing dresses, heavy makeup, and bobbed hair. Flappers also abandoned the social norms of the previous generation. They smoked, drank, and drove automobiles just like their male peers.
Despite the popular conception that the majority of 1920’s dresses barely covered the bottom, the shortest skirts ever got were about one or two inches above the knee. The ideal silhouette of this decade was willowy and straight, with a flat chest and dropped waistline. Popular accessories included the cloche hat, exotic turbans, mary-jane buckle shoes, luxurious fur stoles (often with fox heads and tails) long strands of pearl necklaces and chains, snake bracelets, and extravagant cigarette holders. Hair was fashioned into perky, bobbed styles, which often included bangs and playful layering. Makeup was done to an extreme. The stylish 20’s woman sported pale face powder, heavy eye makeup, thinly-plucked brows, and a flirty little red Cupid’s bow lip.
The key to successfully pulling of the 1920’s flapper look is utilizing the phrase “less is more”. Due to the extreme and dramatic clothing style of this decades, it’s usually best to incorporate just one or two flapper-esque elements into a single outfit. Although authentic 1920’s clothing is extremely rare and expensive, there are a lot of great reproduction items out there on the market. Target almost continually carries cloche hats, and Forever21 and frequent Chic Rewards sponsor, Threadsense is stocked with retro jewelry.