Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fashionable Flapper: Almost a 100 years later and still the bee’s knees

The era of the flapper began in 1920 at the close of WWI and it ended abruptly, with the Crash of 1929.  The period was a particularly restless, defiant and ultimately liberating time for women. As they began to vote and work and drive, they resisted the status quo, causing liberating changes in both fashion and self-expression.

Fashion was yielding to the modern era after decades of constricting and voluminous Victorian attire.  The sweeping fashion evolution of the era was brilliantly chronicled in the costuming of the television mini-series Downton Abbey. Stylish women abandoned corsets for a light chemise. Hemlines shortened, waistlines dropped and sleeveless, loose fitting dresses were the rage. Essential to the flapper style was the long necklace, especially pearls and stacks of bracelets.  Years of growing long hair were ended by the bobbed cut and Marcel wave, making dangle earrings indispensable. Trending cloche hats and oversize portrait hats brought attention to a heavily powdered face, sultry kohl-rimmed eyes and a deep red rosebud mouth. 

Hollywood movie studios publicized the glamour and sophistication of their stars to millions of women who wanted to emulate the modern clothes, hair and makeup of their screen idols. Legends such as Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert, Josephine Baker, Clara Bow and Gloria Swanson portrayed the changing roles of women on and off screen. Up and coming designers Chanel, Schiaparelli and Lanvin, fueled the fashion boom during the prosperous period of the Roaring Twenties.  By her own economic means, a woman could drive herself to a department store, shop a wide selection of ready-to-wear dresses and purchase them on credit terms.

The emergence of seminal art and style movements in the 1920s is what kept this particular decade continuously influential through the century. The ebb and flow of 1920s fashion trends, from vampy false eyelashes and lipstick to statement jewelry and seamed stockings continues into the 21st century.  The inspiration of the Flapper has never lapsed.  We’ve seen her reprise in dozens of movies set in the ‘20s, most recently The Great Gatsby and soon, Café Society.  Yet, her fashion innovations and artifacts are a mere reflection of the independent social role she pioneered for modern women. 


  1. I definitely agree with your post and it would be so enchanting to live in the Flapper era even for just a day! The dresses, jewelry and colors from that era were stunning, stylish and sophisticated. I have heirloom pieces from this era which I cherish. I love wearing long necklaces and stackable bracelets to compliment my outfits. Clothes and jewelry go hand in hand. Your jewelry is inspiring and breathtaking and certainly captures the essence of the era!

  2. The Flapper Era is the one for me. So many exciting changes were beginning for women. The styles were as exciting as the times. I love the hair, the hats, the dresses and most of all, I love the beautiful Art Deco jewelry. I think the jewelry from that era was the most beautiful ever. The lines of the jewelry were different from anything that came before it. Women were starting to come into their own. They came out of the prim Victorian era and showed the changes in the styles they wore and they had fun along the way.

  3. I got to know my Great Grandmother all the way thru my early 20's. In that time, she planted the seeds of a simpler time. She was 20 yrs old in 1907. I always loved the clothes and jewelry. And hair styles. Being a child of the 60's and not buying store rack clothes, she and I would put together clothes with lace collars and long dresses. She would also crochet little skull caps for me. My house now is decorated with antiques, many of which belonged to her. My home was built in 1887. So I guess I would like to live in that era more than a day. I have many Sweet Romance pieces of jewelry. I always get compliments on them. Thank you for letting us share our stories with you. Deborah Monk

  4. My favorite era was the Roaring 20's or Flapper. I wish I could have been alive then to be able to wear all the great flapper dresses with all the accessories adorned with feathers and fringe. When I was invited to a Halloween party the first thing I would want to dress up in was a flapper costume. Love the fringe and loved the idea of going down to an antique store for the jewelry. P. Davenport

  5. love the flappers of the 20, they always seemed to be having a good time and the fashions were freeing, as opposed to all the corsets of the previous eras,,,even the hair was fee with the bob styling, it always had a feeling of all seemed so unconstructed as opposed to the victorian era.which was all rules.and dont get me started on the beaded purses and the long glass beads of the era. D.Serra