Casual dress in the 1920s

Written by stephanie mitchell
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Casual dress in the 1920s
Casual clothing reflected the same cultural trends as the flappers' eveningwear. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The 1920s were an era of new-found freedom, frivolity and exuberance as America emerged from the shadow of World War I. The fashions of the time reflected this cultural trend, and both men and women began dressing for comfort and flash instead of formality and modesty. The fashionable 1920s dresser coordinated his look from his shoes to his hat, displaying the slender silhouette and vibrant spirit that have become iconic of the time.

Women's Clothing

Women's casual clothing changed dramatically in the 1920s, from underwear to accessories. Corsets shrank and became less stiff until they were eventually replaced completely with bras and camisoles. Dresses were long-waisted and fell to the knee. Trendy women of the 1920s, called flappers, wore sleeveless dresses with straight, vertical silhouettes; women who were campaigning for equal rights began to wear trousers. The fabrics of the time were colourful and bright, echoing society's exuberance after the end of the war.

Casual dress in the 1920s
Hemlines rose and waists dropped in the 1920s. (Steve Finn/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Women's Accessories

The 1920s woman was keen on creating head-to-toe looks, even for casualwear, so she chose hats, handbags, jewellery, stockings and shoes to coordinate with the rest of her outfit. Even her make-up was vivid. Stockings were available in all colours to match any outfit, and shoes were usually Mary Janes with two-inch heels. Cloches were the most popular choice of hat because they displayed a woman's short hair, which was the height of fashion at the time.

Casual dress in the 1920s
Cloche hats were in vogue in the '20s. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Men's Clothing

Men continued to wear suits even casually, but as formality went out of style in the 1920s, they began to wear them without vests. The heroes of the time were athletes and aviators, and the fashionable look mirrored that youth and athleticism; coats were cut to imitate football jerseys and driving jackets. Suits, too, were tailored to make men look slim and vertical, rather than emphasising the more mature, broad-shouldered silhouette that had been popular in the previous era.

Men's Accessories

Men in the 1920s still commonly wore hats for both formal and casual occasions. The top hat, however, was seen as too formal and fell out of style. Men began to wear trilbies and fedoras instead. As jackets shortened, they also began to wear belts, which displayed their waists. While light tones were popular for men's clothing, their socks and sweaters were often more vibrantly colourful. Two-toned shoes were common casualwear, and ties, bow ties, gloves and handkerchiefs completed the look for fashionable men.

Casual dress in the 1920s
Triblies were all the rage for men in the Roaring '20s. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

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