The 1920s – Modern Style is Born!

The 1920s – modern style is born!

Before the 1920s, no respectable woman would be seen with a tan, wearing more than the barest hint of makeup, wearing a skirt above the ankle, or with short hair.  Coco Chanel, the famous French couturier whose name lives on even today, was one of the most revolutionary fashion designers of the era.  Among her many achievements:  she was the inventor of the “little black dress”, single-handedly popularized the suntan, and began using jersey knit fabric in sportswear.  Previous to Chanel, jersey had only been used for men’s underwear.  What would your closet look like without T-shirt fabric?

By 1925, the flapper was epitome of style.  Flapper is the term used for a young woman who was a free-spirited social butterfly.  She drank and listened to jazz in a speakeasy, bobbed her hair, smoked in public, and –gasp– wore her skirts above the knee!  The style aesthetic had changed from corsets and floor-length skirts, a decade before, to a sleek androgynous sleeveless tank dress silhouette with a dropped waist and knee-length skirt.

Evening dresses of the era were typically made of lightweight silk charmeuse or silk crepe.  They were very heavily embellished with elaborate beading designs.  Beaded fringe moved and caught the light from popular Charleston dance craze.  If you are lucky enough to own an original flapper dress from the 1920s, it is best to store it flat, in an acid-free box with acid-free tissue.  If the dress is hung, even on a padded hanger, the weight of the beading will eventually cause the fabric to weaken and tear.

The pictures of models in this month’s blog were taken at the 2011 Taste of Vintage event. To learn more about the event go to the “About Goodwill” heading in the toolbar and follow the drop-down menu from “Events Calendar” to “Taste of Vintage”.  Save the Date for this year’s Taste of Vintage fashion show and fundraiser – Thursday, November 21, 2013.

Laura Miller