Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Roaring Twenties

The muse for this post was Downton Abbey, which is now in the 1920s here in the States. If I was dragging my heels about blogging this month, Downton Abbey took care of that. So, here we are, readers - in the Roaring Twenties.
I often wonder why The Roaring Twenties or annĂ©es folles (Crazy Times) as the French called it was given that name. I assume it was because of the social and artistic changes that roared in like a mighty wind as the decade dawned. The 1920s was ‘The Jazz Age,’ the decade of Art Deco and surrealistic painting. More than that, it was the decade when women were at last given the right to vote. Not a small part of these exciting changes was a show of women’s legs in public for the first time in centuries. In keeping with the fashion revolution that swept throughout every strata of society, those lovely long Victorian tresses were cut off in favor of short hairstyles. With all former restrictions thrown to the wind, the 1920s marks the beginning of the modern fashion era.
Joan Crawford in hostess pants
As women became freer so did their clothes. Lingerie drawers were filled with chemises, camisoles, all-in-ones, and bloomers (later panties) as women bade farewell to the constricting corset worn by generations before them. Simplicity and practicality now reined on the runways. Fluid shapes that fell unrestricted over the body were the mode, as were mix and match separates in practical new fabrics such as jersey. The new buttons, zippers and metal hooks and eyes made easy-to-wear clothing easy to fasten as well. Much cheaper than their silk counterparts, rayon stockings also stepped onto the fashion stage.

1920s fashion highlights
The cloche hat
The headband
A boyish, flat chested look
The shapeless chemise
Short hairstyles (the bob, the Eton crop and the Marcel wave)
Knit sportswear, Separates
The handkerchief hem, Trousers

Louise Brooks in cloche hat

 1920s fashion icons
Several famous designers emerged during the 1920s, Coco Channel, Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin and Elsa Schiaparelli to name a few. Because of their huge influence on the fashion of the time, and on the lifestyles of women as a result, Coco Channel and Jean Patou deserve special mention. Channel was one of the first women to toss her corset out the window. She was also among the first to bob her hair, and wear trousers. She popularized jersey knit clothing and elevated costume jewelry to heights never seen before. Jean Patou, like Channel, designed the sportswear that would free women of constricting clothes forever. His designs, created to satisfy the new trend toward the outdoor activities, were the blend of luxury and practicality that would mark the style of one of fashion's most exciting eras.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons