Monday, July 25

Vintage Fashion Tutorial - The 1920s

This tutorial is taken from an article I've recently had published in 'Antiques and Art' magazine. To view the full article click here. This is one of the 'secret projects' I mentioned here, now that the magazine has been published I can finally share it with you!

In terms of both culture and fashion, the 1920s was one of the most exciting and influential decades of the twentieth century. This was the era of the flapper, Art Deco, Egyptian revival, makeup, and parties, parties, parties.
Life was precious, the future was uncertain, and people sought to make the most of every available moment. change was in the air; a new spirit was born.

Edwardian corsets, heavy boning, intricate fastenings and multiple petticoats made way for a new, simpler style of dressing where class differences were lessened and sartorially less obvious.

So what was this new, simpler style of dressing, and what does it look like?

This stunning silk velvet dress is in stock now

In a word, significantly more 'boyish' than ever before. Hair was cut to bob length, so it was easy to style and manage at home. Breasts were often strapped down, a reaction to the emphasis Edwardians placed on the female body silhouette. Hemlines were shortened, the waistline was virtually abolished and sleeveless garments appeared for the first time.

These changes were almost universal, and quite revolutionary. Never mind that they weren't always flattering; women loved the freedom of movement that the new styles allowed, and embraced them with unreserved enthusiasm.

Fabrics included the ever-popular silk velvet, cottons, silks and wools. Evening dresses were luxurious, often heavily beaded and sequinned lined silks with a silk velvet coat that had a matching beaded applique.

Hand embroidered and silk devore shawls were eye-catching icons of the era. Influenced by the fashion for exotic cultures, these luxury garments featured intricate embroidery, long fringing and vibrant colours.

Hats, too, altered dramatically during the '20s. Fancy Victorian headdresses with ornamental birds and large veils disappeared, replaced by the hugely popular cloche style. The cloche was almost helmet-like; it had a shallow crown and a tiny or no brim, minimal ornamentation, and was worn so far down on the head as to impede the wearers' vision.

While other styles of hat were certainly worn during this era (most notably the floppy-brimmed hat in either straw or chiffon), it is the cloche which symbolised fashion changes during the 20s, and remains a strong identifier of the era.

Much of the jewellery of the 1920s echoed the shape and form of the Art Deco design movement. This is true of both costume and fine jewellery- in fact, many costume pieces are just as valuable and collectable as those made from gold and sterling silver.

Trends included marcasite, celluloid, paste rhinestones, chrome settings, and of course, bakelite. the advent of coloured bakelite around 1927 was a boon for makers of costume jewellery. For the first time, almost all women had access to up-to-the-minute, fun, colourful and affordable jewellery.

I just wish there was more of it still around!


polkadotpeticoat said...

What an amazing are just a fountain of did a great job!

Lyndel said...

oh wow Kitty, thanks for sharing ... those illustrations are just lovely♥

1950's_atomic_ranch_house said...

Oh how I adored the 20's! There was something magical about that time for women... The dresses, the hair, the hats, the new "freedom", parties and it seemed like so much fun.

Interior design was to die for. Streamline, machine age, eqyptian...

So fun to imagine living during that time.

Vix said...

It was such a brilliant time to be a woman, dressmaking became mainstream and even the poorest of girls could afford to run up a frock making fashion accesible to all. x

Elegancemaison said...

I utterly love this post. Your enthusiasm as well as your knowledge just shines through. I particularly liked how you interspersed the text with photographs of gorgeous dresses, contemporary adverts and even a real example from your own shop. Brilliant.

Vintage Coconut said...

Wow Kitty what an amazing article.
A very nice and informative read to wake up too!

La Dama said...

Kitty, great article,your the genius of the past amor.
ay I am dreaming of those precious hats.

Nelly said...

Well done Kitty you secretive woman you! You have done a brilliant job I hope to presume you will be doing more articles soon? xx
PS Id love some 20s in my wardrobe,

delia hornbook said...

Congratulations what a beautiful well written informative must have been so excited ;-)) Women of the 20's just dressed with such sytle and class. dee x

Fabrizia said...

Hi! I like this post so much, really great and so intresting!
If you want come and visit my blog, and if you like, follow me!I'll be waiting for you!

annimal said...

Great post! I love the 20s backlash against restrictive clothing and hairstyles! They had better things like partying and dancing to do! Style revolution that took off like wildfire! That velvet dress is amazing too!

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Well done on your amazing piece. It's fascinating. I love this period and didn't they make some beautiful, quality stuff? I adore the fringed shawl. I don't suppose that's in your shop is it? xx

gillyflower said...

Hi Kitty, just found your blog via Heidi at Polkadot petticoat.
What a great post - its a fascinating era, so decadent, but as you say life was full of change and uncertainty after the war, and that was reflected in the fashion of the day.
Just love the cloche hats, they look so elegant with the long lines of the dresses of the day.
thanks for sharing all this - wonderful!