Probably the most iconic of the array of 1920s vintage clothes is the flapper, a loose type of dress that became popular in the mid-1920s. The “wrapover” coats were also a fashion trend, as well as pantsuits among women in the decade. The men also had their share of fashion, with the emergence of formal suits and tuxedos, both of which became the template of the 21st-century suits and tuxedos. Other clothing and accessories include the cloche hat, fuzzy handbags, and Mary Jane shoes. The 1920s, the era after the First World War, saw the more “liberated” fashion trends, where hemlines became shorter and undergarments became less restricting.
At the onset of the decade, 1920s vintage clothes for women had hemlines that stopped just above the ankles, a length that was considered already indecent decades before. Soon after, hemlines became shorter until the emergence of the “flapper dress” in 1925 that showed off a woman’s calves and even her knees. The flapper dress had a loose fit, with little tapering at the waist, an arm-baring style, and a wider, sometimes pleated, skirt. This loose-fitting design allowed for movement during dancing, as the music genre of jazz also emerged in this decade. The dress was initially restricted to the society’s more affluent women, but because its design was so simple, middle-class women learned how to sew their own flapper dresses, and the fashion trend soared to popularity.
During the wintertime, when flapper dresses might not provide warmth, the “wrapover” coats were the “in” 1920s vintage clothes. The coat's distinguishing feature was the fasteners or buttons located on just one side, so that the one side of the coat would literally “wrap over” the other side for it to be closed. Just like the 1920s dresses, the wrapover was initially longer until it became knee-high in the middle of the decade. It became fashionable to wear the coat with a fur shawl around the neck, along with a walking cane and a hat to make a woman look more distinguished.
For the men, the 1920s vintage clothes would primarily be the tuxedo, which consisted of at least four garments: the usual white shirt, vest, long-sleeved coat, and the trousers. Neckties were usually worn during formal occasions, but could be taken off for casual days. During the early years of the decade, the trousers had a higher waistline, along with the jacket that was also tapered high at the waist. The trousers also became more slender, but would usually be short enough to show the socks. Narrow slacks also became part of a woman’s attire when the renowned fashion designer Coco Chanel began selling and wearing them herself.
Of course, the 1920s vintage clothes also came with their own hairstyles and accessories. The women’s hairstyles were significantly shorter, right at or above the ears. The “bob” or “crop” cuts fit suitably under cloche hats, oval-shaped hats that would snugly cover the head up to the eyebrows. As for the men, their hair would usually be slicked back or would be parted at the middle or at the side. Shoes were rather heavy-looking, such as the “Mary Janes” for women and oxford shoes for the men.
In your journey to embody the allure of the 1920s, even the care of your vintage clothes matters. Consider modern solutions like the best laundry sheets to maintain the integrity of these timeless pieces. But remember to handwash! Vintage clothes may not withstand a spin cycle, but a plant-based detergent sheet can definitely help keep them fun and vibrant as they were when they were new.