Vintage Style Guide


1920s Fashion History

With the conclusion of World War I, the world found itself in a state of jubilation and readiness to celebrate the triumphs and newfound freedom. This era, fondly referred to as "The Jazz Age," holds an exalted position in the annals of history as a time of merriment, unrestrained revelry, and enchanting melodies. The 1920s became synonymous with a whirlwind of vibrant dances that captivated the masses with their infectious rhythms and movements. Among the most popular were the Fox Trot, the Tango, the Shimmy, and arguably the dance that defined the decade, the Charleston. The advent of Prohibition, which was implemented in 1920 and endured until 1933, exerted an indelible influence on the fabric of society during the 1920s. Its impact was far-reaching, as it necessitated the transformation of conventional saloons into covert and illicit establishments colloquially known as "speakeasies." These hidden drinking spots became havens for those who defied the constraints of the law and reveled in the camaraderie and forbidden allure of these clandestine venues. Concurrently, the 1920s heralded the rise of a new artistic movement called Art Deco, which emerged as a manifestation of the societal yearning for a contemporary and progressive sensibility. Previously recognized as "Art Moderne," it presented a tangible embodiment of modernism that permeated various artistic and architectural realms, leaving an indelible imprint on the fashion landscape of the time. The style of Art Deco was marked by an array of forms, but its essence rested in the inclusion of geometric lines and futuristic designs that brought forth an undeniable allure and transformed the aesthetic paradigms of the era.

Art Deco

In 1920, women finally received the right to vote. With this new emancipation, women strove to be socially equal as well. The Flapper was born! In Flapper magazine in August, 1922, the following description of a flapper was offered:"What the Flapper Stands for". . ."Short skirts. Rolled socks. Bobbed hair. Powder and rouge. No corsets. One-piece bathing suits. No chaperons. Attractive clothes. The inalienable right to make dates. Good times. . ." In the twenties, music, art, fashion, and attitudes were youth driven. It was very fashionable to be young! In 1922, Flapper magazine listed the popular slang of the day: "Cat's Meow - Great" "Bee's Knees - Wonderful" "Neck and Pet - Make out" "Scram, Go fly a Kite - Get Lost" "Heebie Jeebies - Nervous" "Out on Parole - Divorced"

Finger Waves



The wildly popular hairstyle in the 20s was the boyish new bob, often worn with a headband. Another popular look was the finger wave, which involved setting the hair by pinching it between the fingers and combing it in alternating directions to create the signature wave shape.


During the 1920s, there were several shoe styles that gained immense popularity and captivated the fashion-forward individuals of that era. Amongst these coveted styles were the elegant and alluring t-straps, the timeless and classic oxfords, the dainty and chic peep toes, and the darling and feminine mary janes. Each of these shoe styles possessed distinctive characteristics and unique charm that made them highly sought-after by both men and women alike, shaping the fashion landscape of the roaring twenties. To shop our collection of 1920s style shoes, click here. 

1920s Fashion Icons

Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks

One of the era's most popular silent film stars, Louise Brooks appeared in twenty-four films between 1925 and 1938.  While her career was relatively short lived, Louise Brooks embodied the devil may care attitude of the flapper and became well known for popularizing the angular bob haircut.


1920s Fashion

Fashion in the 1920s had distinct differences between the first and second halves of the era. Initially, the hourglass-shaped gowns of the Edwardian period were replaced by the chemise, a simple, straight, and tubular dress with a dropped waist. Contrary to popular belief, evening hemlines remained long, reaching just above the ankle or mid-calf. However, flappers in the early 20s challenged conventions by wearing shorter hemlines just below the knee. While the early twenties still featured full-skirted Robe de Style gowns and floor-length slinky dresses, the flapper dress became the iconic style of the decade. Flapper dresses were made from various fabrics and adorned with beads, chiffon, lace, velvet, sequins, and lame. They were often worn over slip dresses, with many featuring fringe for shimmying while dancing. To explore our collection of fringed and beaded flapper dresses, click here. Another popular style was the "picot-edged" or "carwash hem," which had fringe-like panels that swung and swayed when worn.

Flapper Dress



Hats/Headbands/Combs: Formal evening wear was most often accompanied with headdresses (headbands), wound around the head, adorned with a variety of jewels, medallions and/or feathers. Another favorite was the Art Deco comb. It was often made of celluloid, available in all shapes and sizes, which included both hand carved and rhinestone versions. The turban and cloche hat were also popular. Cloche hats were deep, close-fitting and pulled down to the eye brows. Skull-caps were typical of the vamp style and were inspired by the east and silent films.

Hose: Often worn with back seams, usually in black or white (nude was still considered too racy).

Evening Bags: Were generally fine mesh and beaded, framed and pouch or flat envelope style. Plain silver, gold and black or with Art Deco designs. A favorite brand of the day was Whiting & Davis.

Gloves: For evening were often worn long, above the elbow.

Boas/Furs: Fur and boas were often used as neck wraps.

Fans: Fabulous feather fans were often a must have accessory for an evening out.

Pearls: Pearls of every size and shape were popular since cultured pearls were relatively inexpensive.

Cigarette Holders: Flappers lived on the wild side and often carried long, opulent holders for their cigarettes.

Velvet & Fringe Robes/Scarves: The legendary Mariano Fortuny introduced the extravagant and prestigious beaded and printed silk and silk velvet and fringed robes, inspired by the Grecian and Renaissance motifs. Often seen were kimono style robes and batwing sleeves.

Makeup: Flappers often wore the makeup with lots of white powder, roughed checks and cupid's bow red lips.

To see our collection of 1920s inspired accessories, click here.


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