How to make a 1920s costume

Written by julia story
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How to make a 1920s costume
Flapper dresses hung just above the knee, the highest hem line of women's dresses until the 1920s.. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The 1920s, known as the Roarin' '20s, saw new clothing, make-up and hair styles to match the changing times. In the 1920s, women stopped wearing items such as corsets that showed off their bust lines; instead, women wore straight dresses and let their chests appear flat. Hair styles were shortened along with hem lines. Women showed off their arms and wore sheer stockings to give the illusion of nudity. Costumes based on the fashion of the 1920s represent the culture of that time period.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Research the fashion of the 1920s and decide what kind of look you would prefer. A flapper look is an easily recognisable 1920s outfit, but all women's clothing followed similar rules about straight lines and masculine profiles.

  2. 2

    Shop at vintage clothing stores and thrift stores to find a simple dress with straight seams, no sleeves and a hem line that ends around the knee. If you cannot find a dress that fits these requirements exactly, cut the sleeves off or shorten the hemline to create this look.

  3. 3

    Wear beige or skin-tone nylons with your dress; in the 1920s, black tights were replaced with these.

  4. 4

    Cut your hair short or wear a short wig in a 1920s style. Women wore their short hair in bobs, off their necks, or in curls such as finger waves.

  5. 5

    Apply dark mascara, emphasising the length of your eyelashes. Red lipstick should be worn, along with blush on your cheeks.

  6. 6

    Wear elbow-length silk gloves to match your dress if you want to have an evening look. Add a string of pearls and bangle bracelets for jewellery at any time of the day.

  7. 7

    Wear pumps or flat shoes with your dress rather than high heels; this was more appropriate in this time period.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear a sports' bra or no bra at all to create a flat-chested look.

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