With the post-war booming twenties, came the age of the flapper. Hemlines rose to a scandalous four to five inches above the ankle and waistlines dropped to the hip. The twenties has become a popular decade for vintage inspiration once again, with Sky Atlantic’s Boardwalk Empire. The American drama follows Atlantic City in New Jersey during the age of prohibition, where illegal alcohol smuggling and organised crime was rife.
The flapper look is seen frequently during the show in the women’s costumes. This look that we associate with the 1920s, was about achieving a boyish shape. Women taped down their breasts to get rid of unwanted curves and the desired silhouette was straight up and down. For the first time, women dieted to fit fashion.
In Vintage Fashion: collecting and wearing designer classics, Emma Baxter-Wright says “The short shift dress, which fell straight down from the shoulders and stopped above the knees, dominated the mid-to late 1920s. Ornamented with geometric and abstract designers, the chemise was often beaded with bands of glittering sequins.”
Flapper dresses were straight, loose and sleeveless, with bare arms, legs and backs. This new daring style, created an illusion of nudity and represented the reckless nature of the flappers. With flappers came swing dancing, specifically the Charleston, that took social dances by storm and has enjoyed a boom of recent popularity. At home, the flappers would wear trousers in the early evening or at the beach. They were loosely cut with drawstring or elasticated waists.
The new androgynous look became the height of style, and women cut their hair short and embraced the waif look. Glamour played a key part women’s lives, but this was set to explode as movie stars captured the imagination of the 30s woman…
Suits: Tall boyish figures, slim hips,
Good for: Embellishment, shawls, shift dresses, headwear.
Invest in: An embellished flapper dress.
Who wears it well: Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift