A decade of fashion known for being revolutionary for it's women. Heavily inspiring our current decade, stereotyped for it's modern political appeal. Short hair, the lack of corsets, dresses showing legs and eyebrows sharp enough to kill.

I am not a fashion historian, and that will show in the times I inevitably commit a mistake and by my lack of grieving for the real past. What is wrong is just as interesting to me as what was real..

After WWI, the fashion landscape shifted like tectonic plates. Once reserved for the elite, high fashion became more affordable and practical, allowing the middle class to explore the modern look. It expanded outside of Europe, with the economics of the global north becoming more and more troubling, it allowed higher class women from South America to taste the mainstream.

Designers were heavily inspired by change. As the world around them left the curve, it was easy to be daring and experimental, and young, stylish city women began questioning what it meant to be modern and test the limits of self expression in polite society.

It is important to always remember that no society is a monolith. While many were desperate to change and embraced the modernity and androgyny presented in the media, others either did not have such privilege and wore the same as their mothers, or simply wanted nothing to do with it. The classic 20s look is very characteristic, and not all people and designers followed it.

I will be discussing mainly the classic european flapper look and it’s sisters, while using it as a base to discuss modest alternatives, and the brazilian 20s looks.

The most striking change in fashion compared to it’s previous decades is definitely the woman’s silhouette. When compared to the Edwardian standards, the ideal body went from contrasting waists, big hips and busts, to a quite boxy one.

With the fallout of more structured bodices and corsets, the bust of skinny/medium sized women went mostly unsupported. Instead of propped up, they were flattened downwards with the use of fitted chemises and soft bras. Meanwhile, fatter women or those with bigger busts would choose more structure, wearing corselettes with rubber inserts to flatten the chest and shape the stomach.

The decade starts with dresses gathered slightly below the waist, almost hitting the hips on the second half; it only starts being accentuated again at the very end of the decade in the transition to the 30s.

Dresses start out loose and long, almost reaching women’s ankles as it was usual, with time, it becomes more fitted and they get shorter and shorter, and for the first time in decades, women were showing their legs. It is still important to notice, that unlike modern media presents it, no dress would be going over the lower edge of the kneecap, specially in day wear. Even in evening wear, the dresses would not go over the knees, the exception being performers. Another exception, of course, were young girls and teenagers, that could wear skirts above the knees, following Victorian tradition.

Another really big difference was the hair, a really characteristic trait of the twenty’s fashion. Due to WWI, many women left house duties and began working at factories and fields; and they could not afford to spend much effort in their hair. That’s when the bob came in; Hollywood stars and regular women alike cut their hair short, in a manner it was practical to care and style, discarting the Victorian belief that hair was a girl’s crowning glory.

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