When you think of the 1920s, you may think of glitz and glamour, parties and flappers. And certainly, the Gatsby-era we associate with the 1920s is a pretty accurate representation of the times. The 1920s was a mish-mosh of modernization, jazz, sportswear, and feminism- and the clothes definitely represent those themes. Let’s take a look at three iconic styles from the 1920s, and see how they’ve translated into fashion today.
The boyish figure was a newfound revelation of the 1920s, but ironically, the flapper was not considered “stylish” by any standards at the time. The midi dress we see on the left is a perfect example of the rebellious young gal of the 20s- her dress is embellished with theatrical details and beading, and she’s dripping in luxurious amounts of jewelry. On the right, we can see how the flapper dress inspired the brand Venus- this midi dress is only one of the dozens of dresses that draw inspiration from the 1920s flapper. The slimming fringed dress is extremely similar in style to the 1920s dress, from the color and cut to the actual embellishments itself. Fringe on dresses budded as a popular trend in the 1920s, especially for the flappers. Can you imagine how lovely it would be to dance in a fringed dress, swinging all around you with movement? Now, with these vintage-inspired evening gowns, you can.
One of my absolute favorite websites for vintage-inspired clothes is Unique Vintage, because they consistently deliver great-quality clothes. They’re also generally historically accurate, and draw a lot of inspiration from a variety of different decades. You may look at the dress on the right and assume it’s based on the 1940s, and while there are certainly elements, I actually see a lot of 1920s inspiration. Sometimes we forget that there were other women besides the flapper, such as a the mother pictured on the left. Besides the obvious similarities in pattern (polka-dots were a popular pattern at the time), there are similarities in the collar, dress length, and slight flare in the hip area. A notable difference, however, is the way the two dresses hang differently. A more masculine figure was seen as beautiful in the 1920s, so many women liked their chests and hips to look flat. On the right, however, the dress has been updated to hug the model’s curves, and emphasis a more feminine cut.
Of course, if we’re going to talk about the 1920s, we cannot leave out the emergence of the little black dress. You may have remembered it, in some form or another, on a more modern figure like Audrey Hepburn. However, Chanel’s little black dress had already started picking up momentum long before that. On the left, we can see Joan Bennett wearing a 1928 LBD designed by Coco Chanel, and on the right is a modern Grace Karin evening gown. I was immediately stricken by the similarities in the slightly-revealing mesh collar area, and, of course, the sleeveless, slinky shape of both garments. Keeping with the trends of the 1920s, Chanel’s dress falls on Bennett in a masculine shape, concealing her curves and womanly figure. While the dress on the right has been slightly modernized, it still delivers that old-Hollywood glam that Chanel first pioneered, and personally, I think it’s a great interpretation of the golden age of glitz and glamour.