Not going to lie, there was a lot of sexism in the 20’s. Take this ad for example:
But women battled this sexism with some pretty outrageous fashion choices. They chopped off their curls, corsets, and as well as a few good inches off their hem lines. Thus the “modern woman” was born. Ready to move to the big city, marry for money, and drink as much alcohol as they had dirt back on their small farms (same time as around prohibition, I always found this interesting).
The twenties fashion was pretty bizarre, but that’s what it was intended to be. A wonderful Ms. Sutliff told me this piece of information when I asked what was up with my crazy skirt on my costume (it was a scarf-skirt that’s straight in the front and back and pleats on the side. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HEM THIS ON YOUR OWN). So here are some of the lesser-known backstories behind the top five 1920’s fashion choices.
1) The origin of the across-the-forehead headband: Often seen with several feathers, this trend is actually inspired by Native Americans. It’s no secret that Western films dominated the silver screen back in the day. This, paired up with the influence of movie stars, sparked this trend.
2) So. Much.. Jewelry.: If you would walk into a speakeasy in the 1920’s, you would see women wearing practically every piece of jewelry they owned, whether or not they went together. This was sparked by the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1923. All the women wanted to look like Egyptian royalty. This also influenced the over-abundance of sequins and sparkles on dresses as well.
3) Trousers *crash of thunder*: The Victorian era was drawing to a close, and World War I was beginning. Women decided to get rid of their corsets (or at least move them to their breasts, yes, chest flattening was a thing back then) and layers and layers of ankle length shirts and trade the in for trousers. Although the majority of “modern women” are seen wearing short dresses, trousers were actually quite popular as well.
4) Bobs: The symbol of the 1920’s. The slick, short bob, which few can actually pull off so kudos to you. Because of World War I, women were expected to come in from the sidelines and take over the men’s jobs (well, at least until they got back from war). To celebrate their new found freedom, women chopped off their hair (as well as their hemlines). Fun fact: This would have resulted in prison time just a decade earlier.
5) Cloche hats: Paired very nicely with a sheer bob, these hats were very popular among women in the 20’s. You don’t have to look too close to see the resemblance with the WWI helmet and this chic, accessory.