1920s Trends: Popular Things in the 20s

Written By Alla Levin
January 06, 2020
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1920s Trends: Popular Things in the 20s

Stepping into a new decade of 2020, I am very curious to look back at a century ago and get familiar with some popular things in the 1920s. I have so many questions!

Who were the key retailers across the globe? What kind of significant events and the appearance of popular things in the 20s, as well as the activities of well-known people were anticipating the main trends of 1920?

So, let us discover key themes that were set to shape the lifestyle and fashion for 1920.

Please take a moment to look back at some of the events and sights from around the world a century ago.

The 1920s – this age was dominated by a huge change. Women developed noticeable hemlines, reaching the predominantly mid twenties flapper style shocking their men.

The age was also dominated by crime packed entertainment, as well as prohibition and, of course, The American Dream.

Ladies embraced the makeup and shorter hairstyles.

The flapper girl craved short sleek hair, above the knee straight shift dress, as well as the masculine figure shaping the 1920s trends.

Popular things in the 20s: Art and CultureLouis Armstrong and Duke Ellington

The 1920s was a jazz era, spearheaded by the popular Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington among others. Art Deco-influenced the change of art.

Architects like Frank Lloyd Wright Bauhaus design company structure buildings with linear lines. The Art Deco influence gave rise to 1920s fashion, structured lines, pyramid, and square shapes.

Queen Elizabeth married the Duke of York on January 13th, 1923, conducted in her straight and shapeless dress. The dress was designed by Madame Handley Seymour, who used to make dresses for Queen Mary.

The 1920s Trends: The ProhibitionAl Capone

This was a prohibition period. The US prohibited to transport, manufacture, sale, import, and export of alcohol.

Prohibition law was meant to alleviate the crime rate and reduce social problems. Prohibition failed as the crime was organized and therefore became the daily norm.

Underground speakeasies were invented to work illegally. There also arose bootlegging (smuggling) and organized crime. Al Capone was notorious for criminal activities dedicate to smuggling liquor and prostitution.

He, therefore, grew very famous and was seeing in lavish attire.

The Flapper StyleThe Flapper Style 1920

The women fashion changed dominated by ‘boyish bob’ and the ‘Garonne frock’ fashion terms. While a classic flapper girl dressed in a short shapeless shift dress, short sleek hair, and had an exceedingly flat chest, the flapper rebelliously wore makeup, smoking, and exposing her limbs while dancing in jazz clubs.

Shapes and SilhouettesShapes and Silhouettes

Then spaghetti straps, a more sleek and sophisticated look was adopted. They were to reveal the sexy topography intentionally. The chemise style dress designed, adorned for dancing to jazz. With the waist disappearing and the bust suppressed, a narrow boyish figure was preferred. The air was shortened, curves eliminated, and line simplified.

Menswear1920s Trends: Popular Things in the 20s

The 1920s menswear was classic. Suits were not meant only for the city but were popularized in rural areas by the idea of the American dream. The conservative suit was popular at the onset of the 1920s.

It was popular for its jacket, tight waist, and narrow shoulders. For jazz enthusiasts, there was a jazz suit for them. Oxford Bags were a trend formed at Oxford University in England after a ban on knickerbockers and plus fours.

There was an emergence of wide-legged trousers to hide the knickerbockers underneath. Before the decade ended, short suit jackets were worn, long jackets becoming morning outfits while tailcoats for formal events.

Men later wore shorter tuxedo jackets leaving the old tailcoat regarded as fashioned. Fedora hats were dominated the decade, which was designed for women, but the apparel became a male trend as gangsters are seen loving the accessory.

Accessories1920s fashion

There were various accessories that improved the 1920 looks. These included the Egyptian style, beaded bags, feather boas, and embellished headbands. People liked the pearls.

At the onset of the decade, women are using pointed shoes, which gradually turn more rounded. In mid-twenties, the Cuban style and Mary Jane’s style of shoe dominates female fashion. These are regarded as high heels.

Hats were popular with women for more elegant looks. Initially, the hats were simple with brims, later on, the rimless cloche hat became the female fashion in mid-twenties.

The hat was fitting for a short flat hairstyle due to its fitting design. The hat covered the eyes, and this affected female posture as they tilted their heads to see.

 The Icons

Clara Bow
Clara Bow

The decade’s decline in the silent movies led to ‘talking’ film stars. Clara Bow was the premiere flapper girl who represented the Twenties’ sexual styles. In the decade, Josephine Baker became the first African American film star while the actor Marlene Dietrich became the highest-paid actress of the era.

The Designerspopular-things-in-the-20s

Coco Chanel

Chanel was one of the famous designers for the 1920 styles. Her design was focused on demonstrating elegance and sophistication and was one of the most popular things in the 20s. She promoted the styles associated with pearls and flappers. She designed the first little black dress, which was reinterpreted severally by other designers.

Jeanne Lanvin1920s-trends-popular-things-in-the-20s

Lanvin’s style adopted the look of the time with the use of embellishment, complex trimmings, and exceptional embroideries. Her designs were mainly recognized through her skillful embroidery, which was a unique feature for 1920s fashion.

RetailThe 1920s Trends

Neiman Marcus

Initially, Neiman Marcus was a topnotch fashion retailer in 1907 in Texas. The shop improved by 1927, premiering the first weekly retail fashion show in the US. She expanded again in 1929, and started selling menswear as well, and posing competition to other fashion stores.

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue was founded in 1867. The company merged with Gimbel Brothers Inc, to become Saks Fifth Avenue in 1924. The company’s twenties saw a rise in Saks Fifth Avenue, opening a new store in Southampton in 1928 and another in Chicago in 1929, followed by several others.

The 1920s Trends: Movies

Popular things in the 20s – movies inspired the modern-day audiences. The 1987 Untouchable film was inspired by both Al Capone, the prohibition era, and the classic gangsters.

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