Over the last week, I’ve been focusing on the iconic flapper girl style. Before I continue to explore the 1920’s wardrobe in detail, here’s the key items to achieve a flapper look – perfect for that Gatsby inspired theme party!
All items are on sale on ebay.
Along with their new trends and social statements, flapper girls invented their own slang, some of which still makes an appearance in our vocabulary today.
Some of it is indicative of these women’s growing liberation: “handcuff” was a slang term for engagement ring, “hush money” was allowance from a father, and “dropping the pilot” meant getting a divorce.
This generation even had their own magazine,“The Flapper”, whose tagline was “Not for Old Fogies”, that catered to the movement.
Read on below to get in touch with your inner flapper and brush up on the lingo from the 1920s. Are you a tomato, a hopper or a Trotzky?
Here’s some amazing original 1920’s photos showing the flapper girl style. I love finding original vintage photographs with good quality. You can see everything in such detail!
You can find these and more on my pinterest and tumblr. Enjoy! x
There is debate over what the etymology of the word “flapper” really is.
Perhaps from flapper “young wild-duck or partridge” (1747), with reference to flapping wings while learning to fly, of which many late 19th century examples are listed in Wright’s “English Dialect Dictionary” (1900), including one that defines it as “A young partridge unable to fly. Applied in joke to a girl of the bread-and-butter age.”
But other suggested sources are late 19th century northern English dialectal use for “teen-age girl” (on notion of one with the hair not yet put up), or an earlier meaning “prostitute” (1889), which is perhaps from dialectal flap “young woman of loose character” (1610s).
Any or all of these might have converged in the 1920s sense. Wright also has flappy, of persons, “wild, unsteady, flighty,” with the note that it was also “Applied to a person’s character, as ‘a flappy lass,'” and further on he lists flappy sket (n.) “an immoral woman.”
In Britain the word took on political tones in reference to the debate over voting rights.
In the years following World War I, the word was increasingly used to describe a fashionably dressed, impulsive young woman and by the 1920s, it was used to describe “modern” young women who broke traditional rules of both appearance and behavior.
“Flapper” is the popular press catch-word for an adult woman worker, aged twenty-one to thirty, when it is a question of giving her the vote under the same conditions as men of the same age. [“Punch,” Nov. 30, 1927]
Today’s post is dedicated to Zelda Fitzgerald. I must confess I didn’t know much about her (apart from being F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife and muse), even though she was one of the biggest icons of the 1920’s.
I have seen many pictures of her and I also knew she was famous for her incredible beauty and charisma. So, I decided to do a little research about her actual personal life and found this.
When you start reading, it kind of suggests that you’re about to be amazed. Being married with the great Scott, you probably expect a life full of excitement and fulfilment. However, a few paragraphs down – what a surprising twist!
I was really amazed and shocked at the same time. I definitely recommend to read more about her extraordinary life.
She will always be “the first flapper”.
“I don’t want to live, I want to love first and live incidentally.”
― Zelda Fitzgerald
The old “S” silhouette from the end of the 19th century was replaced by a more sophisticated and daring style. The hair got shorter, the line became more simplified and curves were hidden.
Women intended to stand out showing off their slim and young figure through the use of the shortest skirts possible (although they never revealed the knee), lower V shape necklines and dropped waists.
Flappers were the definition of the modern women of the 20th century.
Chemise / Slip Dress:
shapeless and loose fit shift dress
low waist and straight line to enable active dancing
more feminine fabrics weighed down with elegant bead work and/or pleats. Silk was the favoured fabric in chiffon, velvet and taffeta . For the working class girl – the new fabric Rayon – an artificial silk, was the alternative.
shorter hemlines than before but never revealing the knee
thin straps or sleeveless to create a revealing look.
short sleek hair – Bob cut, Eton crop and Shingle bob
heavily rouged cheeks
dark eyes, especially Kohl-rimmed, were the style
flappers were also rumoured to rouge their knees, and this is a part of the greater emphasis on legs crucial to the flapper persona
Accessories and Shoes:
Accessories were a key part of the 1920’s look. The accessories were extravagant, big and opulent.
beaded bags and embellished head bands with designs taken from Art Deco and Egyptian style
pearls made famous by Coco Chanel
any accessories that flaunted outrageous behaviour, like the jewelled cigarette holder and ornate compact, were also popular
jewellery usually consisted of art deco pieces, especially many layers of beaded necklaces. Pins, rings, and brooches came into style
horn-rimmed glasses were also popular
evening shoes worn with daywear – cuban style and mary jane style
And that’s it for today! My next series of posts will be showing the key features of the 1920’s women’s wardrobe (tops, bottoms, outerwear, etc).
So, this week I decided to explore one of the most amazing and extravagant decades ever – the 1920’s!
This was the time of enormous change in the society – after the World War I, people were more optimistic, the economy boomed and society consumed goods like never before.
Technological advances lead to an explosion of creativity – writers and artists experimented new themes and styles – fashion was no exception.
At the same time, the 1920’s opened up the doors to new opportunities for women as they entered the workforce and earned the right to vote. Trends became more accessible and practical as well as new social customs/morales were now accepted.
WOMEN’S FASHION – FLAPPER GIRL
The glamour of early silent screen cinema drew upon a heavy exoticism. Invited to Hollywood in 1920 to try her hand at script writing, the 56 year old Elinor Glyn was in her element. Vamps, mysterious Slavs, doomed queens and gypsies were her stock in trade.
The feminine aesthetic of theses years combined a touch of the harem with the Cleopatra look: women were kitted out in unlikely slave-girl costumes, wreathed in beads, with serpent-of-the-Nile arm and ankle bracelets and kohl-rimmed eyes.
This vampish Arab princess look, associated with Theda Bara, Nita Naldi and Pola Negri, gave way in turn to the image of the flapper – the fun loving, pleasure seeking modern girl. (1)
This meant not only a new and exciting way of dressing but also a new attitude and lifestyle. These were young women who enjoyed themselves by breaking the old conventional rules of behavior, dancing the night away in the golden era of jazz who also expressed themselves through fashion.
They abandoned the prudish Victorian styles of the past and refused to wear corsets. Underwear was lighter in fabrics and minimal in details – I will also dedicate a post about lingerie to talk about these changes.
Probably a more enduring stereotype than that of the ‘bright young things’ of the 1920’s, the ‘modern girl’ was associated with much more than just hectic partying, jazz and the dance crazes of the decade. Representations of both stereotypes owed something to literature of Scott Fitzgerald and Evelyn Waugh, and also to the impact of screen performances by Clara Bow in ‘The Plastic Age’ (1925), and ‘It’ (1927), by Louise Brooks (Pandora’s Box and The Canary Murder Case, both 1929 and Joan Crawford, especially in ‘Our dancing daughters’ (1928). (1)
(1)Glamour : Women, History, Feminism (2010) by Carol Dyhouse
For my next post I will be going through the “Flapper” garments in detail – from shapes and fabrics to make up and accessories! Don’t miss out! 🙂 x
Hello everyone and welcome to my new born blog – “Fascination Street” (yeah, I do love The Cure!).
I invite all fashion history lovers to join me and share all about vintage garments and style!
Please note I am not a fashion historian (I wish!), this is a work in progress and every day I learn something new. However, all content provided will be as much accurate as possible so it could also be used as an online resource. Here you will find a mix of images, words and notes taken while studying fashion history, books and personal online fashion history research.
I will be posting not only the fashions of each decade but also its social /historic context, fashion icons, designers, music, film, etc.
You’re more than welcome to comment, share your opinion and if you have any suggestions/questions don’t hesitate to contact me via email@example.com!