Here on the blog we’ve been taking you through each decade in fashion during the 20th century. So far we’ve had the flamboyant and over the top 1900s, the revolutionary introduction of trousers for women and army uniforms for men in the 1910s and now the fun really starts with the 1920s.
One of the most popular eras for its glitz, glamour and decadence and a popular choice for fancy dress these days for evoking ideals of wild parties with loose morals! With eras of great social change come dramatic changes in fashion and the post-war 1920s really made its mark in both social and fashion history.
Hemlines and hairlines rose for women, cigarette holders became the fashion as, for the first time, it was acceptable for women to smoke in public and slim and slender was the ideal figure. Simplicity of clothing became important for the first time too, with women able to slip on outfits with ease, doing away with complicated corsetry, layers and stiff clothing.
As women’s hemlines rose, so did men’s jackets. In the early part of the decade, jackets were worn high on the waist and even trousers were kept a little short to reveal the socks. Cuffed trousers also appeared on the scene and detachable collars were considered too stuffy and uncomfortable, and replaced with more practical attached shirt collars.
Of course the all-important accessory for men was the hat which not only depicted the occasion but also your social class. Upper class gentlemen wore top hats and homburg hats, whereas bowler hats, fedoras and trilbies were common for the middle classes and working class men kept to newspaper boy hats and flat caps.
Photography was also becoming an important part of the fashion scene and Vogue produced its first fashion shoot in November 1920. Cecil Beaton was capturing the spirit of the age on camera with his glamorous black and white portraits, as well as schmoozing on the social scene itself with the crowd known as the ‘Bright Young Things’.
Designers began to branch out into perfume for the first time too, the most famous being Chanel’s first perfume, No.5, launched in 1921.
Chanel is one of the most collectible designers of the era, along with Vionnet, Paul Poiret and Chéruit. Jewellery designer Miriam Haskell, known for her striking pearl necklaces and nature-inspired jewel clasps, can be a more affordable option for investing in iconic 1920s attire. However, as she didn’t use an official signature mark on her jewellery (one was later introduced in the 1950s when her brother took over the business) it can be very difficult to prove its authenticity unless you’re speaking to a trusted trader such as those at Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair.
For our previous guides click the following links:
And keep reading our blog for our guide to the 1930s coming soon!