The 1920s were defined by a culture of indulgence – think Jay Gatsby's wild parties in 4D, and you're about halfway there. That quintessential ‘Roaring 20s’ celebratory spirit was all about excitement and a feeling of novelty that arose following a burst of unprecedented economic growth. Technological advancements brought the radio and motion pictures to the fore, which, in turn, allowed a new assortment of models, dancers, singers and actresses to prosper and inspire.
Naturally, not everyone sustained affluent lifestyles, but those who were rich enough to partake absolutely made the most of the truly dynamic decade.
1920s fashion trends
Because of their enchanting, kinetic energy, feathers added a sense of drama to any outfit and were often incorporated into the costumes of dancers.
Rich beading infused clothing with a sense of decadence, worlds apart from the austere, practical garments worn by women during the First World War.
Faux pearls were more widely accessible in the 1920s, meaning that long strings accounted for a major jewellery trend.
Sequins experienced something of a revival in the 1920s and their light-reflecting quality made them perfect for dazzling party outfits.
Who influenced our fashion in the 1920s?
The flapper look was all the rage among young women across Europe and the USA, consisting of 'short' skirts –hems that rested at knee level – bob hairstyles and slinky slip-style dresses. Across the pond, growing contempt for Prohibition meant that speakeasies (illicit drinking clubs) were rife, as were wild dance crazes such as the Charleston.
Not a Strictly fan? All you need to know is that the vigorous, energetic steps lent themselves to utterly decadent outfits, adorned with feathers, beads, fringing and sparkly embellishments – demonstrated perfectly by dancer Josephine Baker's glitzy costumes.
On the screen, actresses Greta Garbo and Anna May Wong were known for their truly showstopping accessories, but when it came to the emergence of the androgynous look, aka "La Garçonne", Louise Brooks paved the way. With her ultra-shiny boyish crop and sharply tailored suits, she had a huge impact on the fashion of the age.
Hello! Fashion shares the style icons who changed the face of 1920s fashion:
Anna May Wong
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