Description of 1920s Fashion

By Sherry Mitchell

It was just after World War I, and the attitude in the U.S. was light and cheerful. In the early 1920s, clothing, especially for women, began to follow that same upbeat feeling. The emergence of new fashion ideas from the era can still be seen in 2011.

The Flapper dress was popular dancing attire for women in the 1920s.

A Changing Fashion Trend

Beginning in the 1920s, clothing took on a more artistic look. Drab fabrics and colors were out, and in was the Art Deco look with lightweight fabrics in bold, bright colors. Patterned material also became more popular in the '20s. Hemlines rose to just above the knee for the first time; corsets and bustles began piling up in trash cans, replaced with the more practical and comfortable bra. Dresses sported higher waistlines and were more loose-fitting.

Music Inspired Fashion

Music also inspired the fashions of the 1920s, especially jazz. When the Charleston dance became popular, women were determined to enjoy a night on the town. The loose-fit, shorter Flapper dress was invented for just that. The dresses were easy to move in and exposed just the right amount of knee while dancing. Some women even pushed the envelope, wearing dress hems well above the knee. Flapper dresses were often adorned with beads, feathers and fringe.

Accessories and Style

The 1920s was a decade where many women wanted a matching outfit or ensemble. In addition to the clothing, women of the time made sure they had a matching hat, usually a cloche or close-fitting hat. With the higher hemlines, silk stockings, also in vibrant colors, were all the rage. To complete the jazzy look, short haircuts became popular. The most prevalent cuts were the bob and the finger wave -- short hair waved close to the head.

Men's Fashions

Clothing for men during the 1920s also changed, though not nearly as dramatically. Men were still sporting the Sacque suits with their clean lines, but color also became more popular with the male set. Ties began to take on brighter colors, often with stripes or geometric shapes. Shirt colors could been seen in blues, grays and peach. For headgear, men of the era donned the popular black bowler hat. Black patent-leather dress shoes often finished out the look.