In the present day of 2019, we look back at the roaring 20s as a celebration of womanly freedom, parties, glitz and glamour. Financial royalty was at its height, with a celebration of youthfulness and frivolousness taking center stage after the solemnity of World War I. One of the most iconic archetypes of the 1920s, of course, is the flapper: ironically, seen then as an unstylish woman who embraced a boyish style and sexually liberated life. In the 21st century, we can still see influences of the 1920s carried into our fashion world today, especially in regards to the timeless flapper and her style.
Coco Chanel, for example, is still celebrated today as a pioneer in the development of women’s fashion. Although Coco herself is no longer with us, her fashion house and label lives on, continuing to celebrate her image and fashionable contributions. One of the elements that made Coco’s vision so special was her then-radical idea that women’s fashion could be leisurely, laid-back, and loose. In today’s society, sportswear and leisurewear is an incredibly large aspect of fashion, for the working woman and the woman on-the-go. Coco celebrated the idea that women could work, and feel comfortable and at ease while they did so. Additionally, while Coco certainly did not invent the idea of women wearing trousers, she did propel it into the fashion world as a newfound movement. A pair of work trousers is now an essential in any woman’s closet, and for this renovation, we can thank Coco Chanel. On the left, we can see Chanel wearing her yachting pants, which she utilized more for comfort than style. Though they were once thought of as beachwear or loungewear, we can see through the image on the right that trousers and “yacht” pants are often worn in a professional, dressy environment. These particular trousers, sold through NastyGal, are directly inspired by Chanel’s iconic look.
Even the more serious elements of fashion have made a lasting cultural impact on the designs we see today. These 1920s British Army boots, for example, remind me quite a bit of the modern gothic winklepickers you might pick up on an online shop. While the colors are obviously different (as with the occasions for which they are designed), I see similarities in the cut, height, and of course, side buckles. While winklepickers, the essential goth shoes of the 1980s, hit peak popularity forty years ago, they’ve come slowly come back in style for trad-goths seeking a revival of the vintage boot shape.
One of my favorite fashion moments is the revival of the luxurious fur coat, because we’re still able to enjoy the rich nature of the design with the perk of using synthetic materials! Hooray, for not skinning animals! This coat worn by Eleanor Boardman circa 1925 is quite lovely, with the fur is included for both aesthetic and warmth purposes. Today, because we no longer necessarily need wool due scientifically manufactured thermal fabrics, faux-fur is simply added to most coats as a fashion accessory instead. This certainly rings true for this black faux fur Hell Bunny coat- I can testify from personal wear that this coat is full of all the flirt and luxury reminiscent of the roaring 20s, but without the harm of animals involved. The modernized coat also includes a hood- a modern step up from its 1920s ancestor, and a nice touch of individuality from Hell Bunny.
Mendes, Valerie, and Amy De la Haye. Fashion since 1900. Thames & Hudson.
“Seven Wonders: How Coco Chanel Changed the Course of Women’s Fashion.” WonderlandMagazine.com.
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