How did women dress in the 1920s?

Written by jeremy cato
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In the 1920s, the United States experienced a time of economic and cultural prosperity; so much so that the decades is now referred to as "The Roaring '20s." Women took part in these changing times by changing their habits, particularly in the area of clothing. Women's fashion during this decade was illustrative of the burgeoning national cry for gender equality and women's social liberation.

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No More Corsets

By the 1920s, several trends were emerging in women's fashion. One of the most prominent trends of that time was the general abandonment of the tight, constraining corset for more comfortable, less formal undergaments, such as camisoles and thin blouses. This trend signified that women were turning away from old social mores, such as the necessity for women to portray a certain standard body shape.

The Bob

The bob is probably the most popular, defining hairstyle of the 1920s. To create a bob, a woman simply cut her hair very short, often to a length right above the ears and curled or cropped on the ends with a part running down the middle of the head. This was the chosen hairstyle of the flapper, which was the common term for stylish, young women of the decade. The flapper would often wear a headband or cloche hat (a round, cloth hat with a short, floppy brim) for almost any occasion.


Women's eveningwear and party attire in the 1920s also reflected the emerging revolution in women's attitudes toward their bodies and revealing more of themselves. Dresses during this decade were shorter, sleeker and less ornate. Women did not use as much frills, fluff and fabric as during the Victorian era. Dresses also had lower waistlines and higher hemlines that allowed women to participate in the dances that were popular during the time.

Other Clothing Trends

The invention of rayon and zippers also had an effect on women's clothing during the 1920s. Women who could not afford real silk opted for the much more affordable rayon garments, and zippers allowed these and other types of clothing to be put on much quicker without dealing with buttons and buckles. Also, it was during this period that the trend of women wearing trousers was becoming more socially acceptable.

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