20th Century Fashion History: 1960-1970

The 1960s often feels like a counterpart to what the 1920s were to the first 20 years of the 20th century. Corsets, body defying clothes and heavy fabrics were changed in favor of simple silhouettes, functional clothes and a fashion that eased the position of women. The past sentence is as applicable for the 1920s as it is for the 1960s. 40 years later and the liberation of women through clothes happened – again. Here’s the fashion history: 1960-1970.

20th century fashion history 1960-1970 | The Fashion Folks

The Society during 1960 – 1970

In a lot of ways, the society of the 1960s continued on the same path of the 1950s. The technology kept on improving, so did the Civil Rights Movement and the life of adults and teenagers became more distinct. The 1960s were in many ways a decade of fear of WWIII but also 10 years of growing culture and major improvements for mankind. The obsession with space influenced the fashion heavily. So did also London, the music scene and icons such as Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin.

As the decade moved along, the focus on war would shift to politics in matter of equality as well as the environment. The hippie movement would emerged from the 1960s with the music festival in Woodstock 69’ being a major influence. 

Style of the 1960 – 1970

If there’s only one thing to thank the 1960s for – it’s the length of the skirts and dresses. Never in history had the length of women’s skirts been shorter. Women were not only allowed to show their calves but also their thighs during the decade. The miniskirt would be an important style feature for women’s liberalisation as they could move freely in the clothing piece and also show skin without being sexualized. The short length, in combination with the 20th century fashion history 1960-1970 | The Fashion Folksvibrant prints and colors, created a youthful and optimistic style vibe. The short skirts, tight tops and makeup of Twiggy was mainly a style for the young adults and the liberated fashion would indicate of the more progressive views of the new generation. Twiggy in specific would be a leading style icon as she embraced a boyish silhouette which contrasted the heavy curves of the 1950s. Some people blame the skinny ideal of the 1960s for starting “the skinny model” debate.

As for the adults, the style remained quite ladylike with sets of pencil skirts and blazers being a look for the office. The silhouette shifted from A-line to body defined with a small belt marking the waist. The colors and prints differed somewhat depending on what style you embraced. The ladylike office style (think Jackie O, Audrey Hepburn, Mad Men) was kind of colorful but remained refined in the style and heavily elegant. The youthful A-line style was both colorful and energetic with a lot of vibrant prints being 20th century fashion history 1960-1970 | The Fashion Folksmatched. This style was connected to Carnaby Street and London, which put London in center as the fashion capital. It was all about the Mod style.

Another fashion that was embraced was the one of the Space Age. The clothes were minimalistic, functional and were often white or silver metallic. The fashion, led by André Courrèges, was inspired by space and looked quite futuristic and emotionless. 

The clothes between 1960 – 1970

Which designer that should have the cred for the invention of the miniskirt? Some say it’s Mary Quant and others that its André Courrèges: I say it’s both. Nevertheless would the clothing piece be an important symbol for feminism and women’s rights with its short length and liberal style. The skirt would be embraced by Twiggy and become a popular go-to piece for teenagers. Another important piece, the shift dress, would grow into becoming a defining piece of the decade. No wonder as they were comfortable, existed in different colors and prints, and left room for food babies!

The miniskirts were worn with sweaters, cardigans or matching tops. Especially the long sleeved sweaters (sometimes with a turtleneck) would be a popular piece to wear under dresses and cardigans. Often in a contrasting 20th century fashion history 1960-1970 | The Fashion Folkscolor or print of the dress. The prints were often stripes, floral, geometric or optic print. Black and white became a popular color combination to work in prints and worked excellently with the bright orange, pink and pea green shades that were trending.

As for the lady style, Chanel influenced the fashion. Her tweed jackets and matching skirts would define the decade and were loved by the ultimate style icon, Jackie O. The lady style mainly consisted of knee long dresses and coats that often were matching. The details were often buttons and the main focus remained on the shape of the coats. The coats were a brilliant extension of the early coats of the 1950s (last pic in this post). They were one of the most important pieces of the decade and worked for both the youths and adults. Also sweet pastels and bright colors (see left) were popular.

Beauty between 1960 – 1970

The beauty of the 1960s is still beloved today. The decade was kind of the first decade where people experimented with makeup, but still kept it wearable. Even though the makeup of the 18th century was more extravagant, it’s not something we can relate to today. However, the 1960s makeup is relatable in terms of heavy eyeliner, big lashes and a 20th century fashion history 1960-1970 | The Fashion Folksplay of bright eyeshadows and lines. Twiggy’s iconic makeup look was leading with the doe eyes and heavy eyemakeup. The lips were often peachy in the shade and white, bright blue and other pastels were popular as eyeshadows. Heavy lashes and eyeliner(s) remained in focus though.

As for the hair, well, similar to the 1920s when women cut the hair short: some women embraced a pixie cut during this decade (like Twiggy, again). The pixie cut worked well with the masculine ideal that grew popular (sans curves, straight silhouette etc). If you didn’t work the pixie style, your hair should only have one focus: be voluminous. Brigitte Bardot was leading in this hairdo with her iconic beauty look (see slideshow below). The fringe would be framing the face while the rest of the hair would be voluminous and bun-shaped. The name of a popular hairstyle? Bouffant. Another popular hairstyle? Beehive. We obviously need these names back in style (hairstyles too, lol).

Spotlight of 1960 – 1970: YSL

As talked about in last week’s 1950s post, YSL would define this decade through his powerful position in the fashion world. When he had conquered and convinced the fashion people with his designs at Dior, he moved on to have his own brand. Through his own-named label he would create iconic looks such as The Mondrian Dress (see left) and Le Smoking (a female version of a tuxedo). YSL kept on playing with the classic definition of womenswear and menswear by exceeding the previous lines. He gave women a simple silhouette, translated men’s clothes to women’s bodies and would continue on to set the tone for the decade. He mixed elegance with energy and wearability.

Transition to the 1970s

The later years of the 1960s would raise awareness of the gender gaps and injustice of the world. This would reflect the clothes as women’s fashion and men’s fashion would grow closer than before (naah, they were pretty similar during the 17th century tbh). But a unisex fashion would emerge, where women and men would wear the same, if not similar clothes. Both regarding style, colors and prints. The overall would be an important piece and the fashion of the bohemians was more or less same for women and men. As the 1970s arrived, the fashion had gone from strict, geometric and straight silhouettes to flowy fabrics, flower power, and a reflection of nature and earth. Pucci was an important designer for the transition, so was also YSL, Mary Quant and Guy Laroche.

And that’s a wrap on the fashion history: 1960-1970. Next week I’ll go powerful as in flower power, more unisex fashion and a mix of nature and disco! Oh btw, if anyone is wondering (giving the image below), I’m still madly obsessed with the coats of the late 1950s and 1960s. Like hello, give me them puhlease.

20th century fashion history 1960-1970 | The Fashion Folks

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20th Century Fashion History: 1950-1960

I don’t get to use the term swinging 60s until next week really, but I’m pretty sure the swinging life started in the 1950s. Youth culture, housewives, Hollywood icons and a fashion balancing between elegance and energy. Here’s the fashion history: 1950-1960:

20th century fashion history 1950-1960


The Society during 1950-1960

I often think of the 1950s as a doll house. Where the focus is centered to having the perfect home and a happy family. Where the interior is matching the clothes of the family, the furnitures of the house are all the latest trends and the surface is polished to perfection. You know?

The 1950s were a decade of youths against adults.The growing youth culture would become the first distinct decade where teenagers differed from their parents in the way they dressed but also lived. During the 1950s the teenage culture would be inspired by Hollywood stars and their work: music or movies. School cliques as in gresaers, jocks and preppy are strongly associated with the decade. Including teenage things like high school prom, drive in restaurants and the American high school dream. (Think Grease).

The decade would also be a development for technology, iconify the idea of a housewife and embed every person’s (man’s) possibility to self-actualization. The car industry bloomed and technology peaked with television for the home. Even though the 1950s, with a retroperspective, feels like quite the youthful and joyful decade – the years were defined by the Cold War as well as reconstruction after WWII and also the Civil Rights Movements. Topics that contrasted the handbooks in how to be a perfect housewife (yup, those existed).

Style of the 1950-1960

The differing of youths and adults would reflect in how people dresses. The core would be the same however, but with youths going for simpler details and more functioanl. The so called greasers would approach a more edgy style with denim, leather jackets and – of course – greasy hair. Style icons were Elvis Presley and James Dean. The people that still kept it more or less conservative 20th century fashion history 1950-1960would have Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn as style icons. If one went for a more pinup style, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor would be more defining.

The hourglass silhouette was defined by Dior and The New Look. The bust was pointy, the waist tiny and the hips large. This was often enhanced with a corset or clothes that defined and hid the body in the right places. The illusion of  large hips was, of course, helped by the voluminous skirts and dresses that gave the effect of an even thinner waist. This iconic and lively look of the 1950s has it similarities to the mid part of the 19th century, where women looked like porcelain dolls. The latter is partly relating to the women of the 1950s where they looked polished and perfected. – just like how their homes should be. A matching doll house that is.

Parallelly to the feminine style, a more boyish look was developed with Audrey Hepburn being a popular icon. The look mainly consisted of cigarette/capri pants with a neat jumper and a pair of flats. Functional and minimalistic.20th century fashion history 1950-1960

The color scale for women was bright, sweet and sugary. Pastels in all shades possible, a lot of gingham and floral patterns. Pearls for the neck, gloves for the hands and scarves for the hair. Denim became an everyday item and red was a common statement for makeup as well as clothes (especially for the pinups). For the boyish look, the colors were similar to men’s with brown, camel, grey and black.

The clothes between 1950-1960

Several looks of the 1950s remains characteristic to this day. The tight cigarette pants paired with a sleeveless blouse is one iconic outfit. The twin sets with same colored top and cardigan (often with a pearl necklace) would be a popular go to (see below by Beauty). The skirts were fluffy and matched with a blouse or 20th century fashion history 1950-1960jumper. The collars and necklines of the blouses and dresses were a cute detail (see here). Bows were a popular choice of detail, often added to necklines.

Sunnies were an accessory that grew in popularity, often with pointy frames and matching to the rest of the outfit. The skirt length was right below the knee which was a favorable length for the effect of the skirt. The jackets and coats of the 1950s were important to the fashion, an importance that remains today. Or how about leather jackets and college jackets? The coats of the decade are insanely pretty with sack coats (with a silhouette like an oval shape). Even more popular were the sack dresses by Hubert de Givenchy that became more popular towards the end of the decade.

Beauty between 1950-1960

The beauty of the 1950s is more or less a more natural version of the 1940s beauty. The eyebrows were naturally thick with an arch in the center. The winged eyeliner got its full love in the decade, often done with the classic red lip. Eyeshadow could be white or bright blue.  I often think of apples (lol) whenever I see a makeup look from the 1950s. The skin is porcelain, the cheeks perfectly blushy, the lips are the 20th century fashion history 1950-1960perfect shade of red and the overall makeup look is polished to its core. 

The hair was wavy and curly, often framing the face hanging down from the sides. Another hair look was curly with the curls brushed away from the face, giving the face its full spotlight and an ladylike appearance. Ribbons were also popular to tie ponytails and braids.

Spotlight of 1950-1960: Givenchy

Even though the queen of fashion, Mademoiselle Chanel, made her big comeback during this decade (she despised Dior’s silhouette and clothes that stopped women from mobility and a functional life), this decade belongs to Hubert de Givenchy. The french designer got his big breakthrough during the 1950s with his new silhouettes, design and simplified glamour. He launched the sack dress, which was a major success, and stood behind several of Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic looks (Roman Holiday, Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the 60s). The two of them were close friends and Hepburn was his muse. Givenchy’s style was simple but glamorous with a focus on the fabric/silhouette rather than details, which was a nice contrast to the current trends.

Transition to 1960s

The years after the mid 1950s, fashion began to go more functional. Chanel was back in fashion and embraced a more straight silhouette. So did Pierre Cardin (as seen below, just look at the coats – hello gorgeous!). Christian Dior passed away in 1957 and his successor, YSL, launched the trapeze silhouette (A-line) in 1958 with his Trapeze Line for Dior. The A-silhouette would define and enable a lot of the fashion in the 1960s, from the mini skirts to the iconic shift dresses. The fashion of the late 50s went more simplified and functional but still kept the core of fun colors and patterns. The latter would be intensified and underlined in the 1960s – and with its full force be a part of the swinging 60s.

And that’s a wrap on the fashion history: 1950-1960. Next week will be about London, the final liberalisation for womenswear and space!

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20th Century fashion history: 1940 – 1950

The 1940s are a decade of fashion lows and highs. From the product ransons of the war to the revival of couture – the decade surely lived through its changes. The 1940s fashion began in a world of crisis and ended with the new bloom of fashion. From fabric ransons to Dior’s 15 layers of underskirts: This is fashion history: 1940 – 1950!

The Society during 1940-1950

The 1940s began with WWII dominating (obviously) the world situation. People had to adopt their life after the current situation with ransons of food, fabric and luxury products. As with WWI, women overtook the men’s work and dressed accordingly to the new tasks. The fashion from the 1930s, of not looking too rich, stayed as people showed respect to the war. The focus in society shifted from the everyday life to survival and fighting WWII. When the war ended, society and fashion began to slowly recover. Fashion was relaunched with Dior, the movie and music industry expanded and people faced a new type of life.

Style of the 1940-1950

The 1940s style can be divided into two categories. The first half was practical, masculine and a rougher version of the 1930s fashion. The latter half was luxurious, with a clear focus on elegance. The early 1940s was an extension of the past decade, but with a reality check. The length of the skirts and dresses hit right above the knee due to fabric ransons. The shoulders 20th century fashion history 1940-1950went a bit oversized, similar to the men’s. The waist was slightly defined with a simple belt. The hat was still an important accessory and print was popular for dresses and blouses. Similar to the 1930s, the details were kept simple with a focus on buttons, collars and perhaps a bow or two.

The overall silhouette was rather slim and long. Women looked elegant with their knee-long skirts and heels that gave a longer impression. As they often worked the hats too and coats or trench coats – they embodied sophisticated elegance. Even though the fashion had a masculine touch, it was still done with refinement through the flow of the fabric, the makeup look and the slightly defined waist.

For the latter part, Dior’s style vision for women emerged and he brought back the joy of fashion again. With his collection The New Look in 1947 he brought back the focus on the female shape with corsets, heavy skirts and puffy blouses. Dior’s idea of fashion was similar to the one of the early 1900s, where fashion was more of a constellation than practical. Fashion was supposed to be pretty and not functional. More on him below!

The clothes between 1940-1950

Dresses, skirts and blouses were three of the most popular go-to pieces. Women’s dresses hit knee-length, had defined shoulders and waists. They were decorated with buttons and pockets (inspired from military clothes). They were common in floral prints, but gingham, dots and neutral colors were popular as well. Even though it was a restriction on fabrics, the skirts and dresses of the 1940s were quite flowy. Something that added to the femininity and balanced the strict lines of the military fashion.

Pants became a clothing piece to count on and was often worn with blouses or defined jumpers, often knitted. The blouses had a similar style to the men’s, commonly in bright colors and sometimes with a matching blazer. With matching pants, blazers and blouses, women embraced a masculine fashion. Clothes that were more functional and suitable for work. As with the 1930s, movie stars such as Ingrid Bergman kept the inspiration level high and pulled of the pants.

Towards the end of the decade all details of the 1940s were intensified. The skirts were wider and heavier, the waist even thinner and the shoulders wider. This was Dior’s fashion, and a fashion that, according to many, brought back femininity into fashion again. (Just compare the looks to the right and the ones above in floral!)  

Beauty between 1940-1950

Makeup became acceptable and the red lip was the makeup star of the decade. The beauty look consisted of relatively plucked eyebrows, long lashes, a winged liner and perfect skin. The ideal was dark brown hair. It was longer than before and often curly and done in a hairdo. It was popular to take the fringe and curl it backwards to a loop (making sense, see left). The beauty look gave a quite perfected impression with done hair and porcelain skin.

Spotlight of 1940-1950

The New Look, and Christian Dior behind it, is undoubtedly the fashion star of this decade. With his launching of The New Look in 1947, he rewrote the game of fashion. Gone was the days of restricted war fashion and here was the celebration of couture, luxury and the sculpturing of women’s bodies. Dior was tired of the simplified fashion that had been dominating fashion since the 1930s. He withdrew inspiration from La Belle Epoque and re-launched the hourglass-silhouette. To achieve the right look, it’s said that one single look could consist of 15 skirts to get the right volume. This, with precise and refined couture skills, he would set the tone for the fashion of the 1950s. Thin waists, voluminous skirts and femininity in focus. He re-established Paris as the leading capital of the fashion world – something he did with success. See more of the collection below!

Transition to the 1950s

Dior stood for the transition to the 1950s. His collection was a game-changer on a fashion, societal, historical and even economical level. The defined waist, the elegance, the luxury and the refined surface would all underline the petite fashion of the 1950s. The focus on women’s role of fashion, housewife and be dressed accordingly, would be stressed through the fashion that yet again emphasized women’s appearance. Corsets were back, the woman’s body in full focus and fashion as a product of consumption. Some thought this was a feminist backlash and others welcomed the old fashion back. The New Look can thereby be interpreted as an old one –  Literally and metaphorically.

So that’s the summary of the fashion history: 1940 – 1950. Next week there’ll be the ideals of the 1950s housewives, the youth culture revolting against parents and Hollywood stars going influential!

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20th Century Fashion History: 1930 – 1940

I often praise the fashion of the 20th Century for being distinct and constantly changing (society too for that matter). Well so is not completely the case of the 1930s or the 1940s. The two decades are quite similar in their style, being tied together by economic crises as well as WWII. So the start of the 1930s sparks of 20 (almost) years of fashion that is more or less a direct reflection of the societal conditions. Here’s the 20th Century Fashion History: 1930 – 1940:

The Society during 1930 – 1940

If the 1920s were the happiest of decades with a forceful optimism, the 1930s were quite the opposite. The economic depression and anxious times partly lead up to WWII. Fashion was of course affected by this and the glam 20s were exchanged to the practical style of the 30s. Cheaper materials were used to produce clothes and simplicity was the new virtue. Simply put: It was tacky to look rich, but crucial to look respectable.

Peculiarly enough, it was during the 1930s that Hollywood got glamorized and movie stars the definite celebrities and fashion icons. The gap between the everyday life of an ordinary citizen and the life of the fortunate increased. People needed something to dream and be amazed about, and luxurious fashion and impeccable movie stars would be that escape. Activities and sports also grew immensly in popularity and followed the fashion of functionalism.

Style of the 1930 – 1940

If there’s one decade in specific where sophisticated elegance originates from, it’s the 1930s. With body defined dresses, a marked waist, and calf-length dresses the 1930s focused on the female body. The economic situation didn’t allow for use of extravagant details, but women had to turn to what already existed. And showing off the female body became a fierce statement with a forceful effect. Instead of getting attention through sequins, the attention was achieved by defined dresses or a low back for eveningwear.

Even though it was tasteless to look rich, no one said that fashion couldn’t be fun! Fun in this case meant fun prints and details that elevated the fashion level. Everything from floral patterns to cars, navy and animals. The patterned dresses were accompanied with fun collars, cute belts and details such as bows and lace. Often kept in small doses though and always in balance with the rest of the look. The economical restriction paved way for creativity, innovation and making the most of what you had.

During the 1930s, two things in specific would mark the decade; wearing pants as a daily clothing piece and elegant evening dresses. Even though the female body was back at being in focus, pants became more of more of an item to count on. Though it was still mainly in sports events, Hollywood stars such as Joan Bennett, Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman wore the pants as a fashion item. As for evening dresses, they kept the glam life alive by embodying simplified luxury, but more on that below.

The clothes between 1930 – 1940

Dresses were still the all time wardrobe staple during the decade. They were designed in a way that highlighted the natural curves of the female body, with the waist being defined by a simple belt. There was a slight emphasis on an inverted triangle shape, with short puffed sleeves. The silhouette was further underlined by curly hair and a hat – all which centered the focus to the upper body. Except hats, gloves were an important accessory as well as matching shoes.

The dresses hit right below the knees and was rather feminine with prints of flowers and dots, and shades of dove blue, red, pink and pea green. The collars in combination with the prints made a rather rich detail impression, although the overall look was quite simple and: sophisticated elegance. Buttons, bows, cuts and belts also helped to keep the looks fashionable without the expensive cost. Draped skirts and ruffles were also common features.

Except the dresses, a skirt and amatching blouse was also a common combination. Often with the blouse overthe skirt and of course with a belt that marked the waist. As for the pants, the were high waisted and came with wide legs. Jumpsuits also figured as seen to left.

The evening dresses were the ultimate glam reflection of the daywear. They were true to the female body, but the dresses were floor-length which highlighted women’s bodies even further. The fabrics were shiny, silky, and gave a balmy impression. The backs of the dresses were open and the dresses were often sleeveless (or short sleeved), so women showed quite a lot of skin (at least compared to fashion history)! The cut and drapings of the dresses were in focus, as they emphasized on the curves of a woman. Often with a favorable cut neckline as well as fall of the fabric. Details were barely used, more than ruffles sometimes functioning as the neckline or hemline.

Beauty between 1930 – 1940

The dramatic face expression of the 1920s continued into the 30s, with thin eyebrows, defined eyes and lips. Makeup became more acceptable and used in the daily life. The eyes should look heavy with eyeshadow or eyeliner completing the look. The lashes could be a bit clumpy as it added to the look, and eyeliner looking smudgy worked perfectly for the Hollywood stars. The cheeks were rosy and the lips as well. From a contemporary perspective though, it doesn’t really matter what I say, as the thin and heavily defined eyebrows had a life on their own! And we do know what we all think about them, even though they pulled it off quite fiercely in the 30s compared to 10 years ago.

As for the hair, it was still kept rather short. Instead of looking fully styled as in the 20s, the hair should be curly and look natural. This look worked with hats and gave a simple but elegant look.

Spotlight of 1930 – 1940

One of the main figures within the clash of fashion and art is Elsa Schiaparelli. She was leading in the work of making fashion more artsy, or making art more fashionable. Schiaparelli brought the fun patterns, cuts and details to fashion. She loved surrealism and added fun motives to her evening dresses. She valued a toned down maximalism which made her stand in contrast to her rival, Coco Chanel. Chanel believed in minimalism, classic shades of black and white and functionalism – everything that Schiapparelli thought was boring. If there’s only one creation you should now from this lady, it’s the lobster dress (source: Philadelphia MoA) she made in 1937. A collaboration with Spanish artist Salvador Dalí. It’s quite legendary!

Transition to the 1940s

As stated before the 1930s and 1940s are almost twins in the decades of the 20th century, as the situation of the war/economic crisis kept them together. This meant that the functional fashion of the 30s continued into the 40s with the female body being in focus, lots of dresses and the sophisticated elegance going more sharp. The 1930s remains the decade of contrasts with the simplified daywear and the glamorous eveningwear. Where dreams of a better world took its expression through the playful prints of clothes as well as the glorified status of Hollywood actresses.

This was the 1930s  post in the series of 20th Century Fashion History: 1900 – 2017! Next week it’ll be WWII, ransons, a backlash for feministic fashion and certain Dior that changed the fashion game!

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20th Century Fashion History: 1920 – 1930

As we humans move along in the concept of time, eras and lives – we tend to romanticize past decades by literature, movies and modern interpretations of  past clothes and trends. The period between 1920-1930 is perfect example of this. We view it as a period of glam, parties, sequins and champagne. This was, of course, only a fragment of people’s life – but nevertheless a picture we like to talk about. Here’s the fashionable life of the 1920s:

The Society during  1920 – 1930

Following the ending of WWI in 1918, the world tried to recover as smoothly as possible. This also meant the somewhat closing of the 19th century and the old hierarchical society. People no longer relied on the life before the war but began new ways of life with education, the middle class and entertainment for all social classes. Enjoying life through parties, music, dance and eventually movies would grow to become a more democratic matter. There was a new optimism in life and belief in the future. Therefore the nickname The Happy 20s/The Roaring  20s.

Society grew immensely with automobiles, sound movies, telephones, Hollywood, literature, aviation, music and dance. For instance, it was in the 1920s Jazz emerged as well as the Charleston dance. Hollywood began to expand with new technologies and movie stars such as Clara Bow. As a contrast to the prior society, where Art Nouveau was leading (a style close to the nature with the shape and ideals), Art Déco and the geometric styles took place. Gone was the nature (kind of) and here was the future of edge. The optimism of life would end in 1929 with the crash of Wall Street and years of “societal depression” would follow.

Style of the 1920 – 1930

Even though fashion progressed from corsets to liberation of them, the first 20 years, the 1920s would consolidate the new fashion with full force. Gone was the deforming of women’s bodies and here was a new ideal of a loose silhouette. The loose silhouette was accompanied with skirts hitting knee-length (had never been shorter in history), and simple blouses and cardigans. The new style went in line with the new activities where on needed more functional clothes for sports, driving cars and work. It was a slight difference between daywear and evening with the former being more simplistic and the latter going full decoration with sequins and feathers. The day was functional and the night was entertainment.

Especially the style of the evening is something we adore the 1920s for. The evening dresses were delicate, romantic and detailed with embellishment, sequins, patterns, fringe and feathers. The neckline was rather low, the silhouette was straight and the loose skirts made room for dancing. These traits were joint for women in general but flappers in specific. The latter group, the flappers, took it to the “extreme” with even shorter lengths, more fringe, sequins and all things that added to the glam. Flapper girls were considered outrageous and had, according to society,  loose morals for being out dancing, entertaining themselves and not being too specific about the etiquette of norms and sexuality. 

The clothes between  1920 – 1930

The clothes between 1920-1930 mainly consisted of skirts, dresses, coats and blouses. As with previous decades, the change here was in the details. For instance, the length of the clothes hit right below the knees, and the hips were often marked with a simple belt. The clothes often included details of Art Déco with stripes, triangles and lines creating geometrical patterns. V-shaped necklines were still popular, being in line with the defined lines of Art Deco. The daywear was rather functional and often in dove colors such as brown, grey, blush or dove blue. The clothes were styled with petite hats, gloves and matching coats. Pants for women became more common, even though it didn’t reach daywear quite yet.

For the evenings the dresses were still the main attraction. Often being a bit longer than daywear and more sophisticated in terms of transparent fabrics, ruffles and decorative details. The dresses were styled with a longer necklace that emphasized on the long and rectangular silhouette. A headband with embellishment and matching gloves to the dress – were both common accessories for the evening. Fur was also trendy and often served as a detail on coats and accessories.

Beauty between  1920 – 1930

The beauty of the decade was revolutionary in many ways. For first time in centuries, women began wearing visible and dramatic makeup. This was still centered to a small group, mainly Hollywood, performers and it-girls. To be underlines though is that the makeup look still underlined the liberation of the years. A dark smokey eye, thin eyebrows and dark lips were 20th century fashion history 1920 - 1930 |  The Fashion Folksideal. A pointy mouth was also trendy, with defined lines. For ultimate chicness the makeup look should be accompanied with the new haircut the Bob.

The Bob ended just below the ears and was often cut edgy and sharp (matched Art Déco here too). It framed women’s faces in a bold and defining way. Most of all though, the bob went against the norm of women having long hair or wigs in previous centuries. The new hairdo was sharp, fierce and statement of women’s independence. It was controversial as few, but women loved it. Read more here.  

For the daily life the makeup was rather anonymous with perfect skin, blushy cheeks and some enhancement of the lashes. It looked pretty natural and was kept quite true to women’s natural features. Read more here. Same goes for the more conservative women that didn’t get their haircut, instead they styled the hair to look like a short haircut in the front, but the rest of the hair was tied up in a bun.


Spotlight of  1920 – 1930

If Poiret was the king of fashion in the previous decade it was about time the fashion world got a queen. That queen was no one else than Mademoiselle Chanel herself. She redefined fashion in her own way by the launch of the LBD in 1926, pants for women, 20th century fashion history 1920 - 1930 4 | The Fashion Folksperfume (Chanel No 5!) and a practical fashion for the everyday life. Her fashion was simple, black and white, inspired by menswear and a welcoming feature to the new life. Her solo fashion career actually began in the 1910s but her ideas and design got their lasting breakthrough in the 20s. It might have been a man that liberated women from their boxed-in fashion, but it was surely a woman that would keep the train going.

Other defining designers of the decade are Madeleine Vionnet and Jean Patou that both contributed to the era. More about Vionnet here.

Transition to 1930s

The 20s hit the start button of the new way of life, a life that would continue into the 1930s. The fashion would become even more practical with the depression and financial crash in 1929. Even though the 1920s can appear more liberal, in a fashion context, its main effect for the later decades was that it pushed the boundaries of design and style. So the experimenting with fashion and de-dramatizing of new looks- will forever be one of the greatest accomplishments of the decade. So hands down and hat off to the cultural revolution of the 1920s! 

Next week it’s time for the 1930s and a decade that often seems forgotten in fashion history. But how about Hollywood glam, elegant evening gowns Elsa Schiaparelli? Yup, I’m here for it!

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