Fashion in the 1920s
“Fashion is one of the greatest forces in present-day life. It pervades every field and reaches every class…. It has always been a factor in human life but never more forceful, never more influential and never wider in scope than in the last decade, and it gives every indication of growing still more important. ” So with everything in mind, we can really agree with him when he said that it was more than an expression of individual taste; it was instead a statement of group membership, of involvement in the currents of one’s time. “To be out of fashion,” he wrote, “is, indeed, to be out of the world.
During the decade technology vastly improved which helped spread the word about what people were wearing and driving and how they were decorating their homes or designing their public buildings. Improved communication meant that a large proportion of the general population was exposed to the latest fashion trends and responded, positively or negatively, to them.
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During the sass the most distinctive clothing styles originated in Europe: in France for women’s attire and in England for men’s. Coco Channel was one of the first women designers to adopt the new era of clothing, which meant that she adopted a more boyish look.
She replaced the corset with lighter clothing that wasn’t so restrictive. Throughout the years dresses kept getting shorter and the backs lower. “By 1925 dresses were the shortest in history – an act of the devil, some thought. ” Many people were so outraged that they passed laws in the states of Ohio and Utah that the hem length of ladies gowns had to be seven inches from the floor but these responses from mature adults simply increased young women’s fondness for their short skirts and cosmetics. After all, what fun is it to rebel if nobody notices or cares? But what are some major reasons for this changes in women fashion?
The first one is that after the war women continued to work outside their home, so the clothes had to be altered to allow for an ease of movement. Also with the lack of men due to the war, women began wearing more alluring clothing to attract a husband. The ratification of the 19th Amendment also played a major role as women soon began wearing loose pantsuits called ‘pajama suits’, a direct result of the newly gained right to vote and the strong cries for further female empowerment. Probably, one of the first images that pops into your head when you hear the word sass fashion is the Flapper which is the symbol of the oaring twenties.
It embodied the decades modern fashion elements such as short sleek hair, a short shapeless dress, a flat chest, and exposed limbs. Flappers also had a reputation that added to their style as well; they smoked from long cigarette holders, applied makeup in public and danced to Jazz with reckless abandonment of propriety. Men of this time wore suits, day suits, formal suits, all different kinds of suits. Along with their suits, they wore a hat according to their class in society: the upper class wore top hats, middle class wore a fedora, and the working class wore a flat cap or no cap at all.
To complete their ensemble they wore black patent leather shoes or saddle shoes. As well as the classic suit, flannel, twill, knickerbockers, and sweaters were a more commonly seen casual wear among men of all ages, Then around 1925 “Oxford bags” were introduced to the public, after being worn as a kind of uniform for Oxford University students. This style grew and grew and before you knew all the young men were wearing them. As the decade progressed, the automobile increasingly became another definer of status and social class in America, both for young people and their parent’s. Henry Ford’s Model T, which dominated the U. S. Rake until it went out of production in 1927, gave middle-class and even lower-middle-class citizens affordable, reliable transportation. The quintessential expression of American energy and optimism in the sass was the skyscraper, the great tower that aspired toward heaven and dominated the earth (rather, the urban streets) below. Throughout the sass, then, a concern for fashion, for style as a social and cultural delineated, flourished. Fashion developments in attire, in architecture, and in automobiles helped to define the decade and these developments proved more pervasive and more influential than they had ever been in the past.