The Gala


The Importance of Fashion in the 1920's

Actress Alice Joyce, 1926

The 1920s transformed the world of women’s fashion as well as American culture. This decade saw women win the right to vote, the Prohibition of alcohol, the renaissance of Harlem in NYC, and a burgeoning affluence of the American middle class. This decade saw swing dancing come onto the scene, in addition to the Flapper style. The Lindy Hop was introduced during this decade as well.

Prior to this decade, women seemed to strive to look older than they actually were. In the 1920s, however, the norm reversed and women began striving to maintain the look of youth. Older women copied the look of younger women and even young teens. This striving would affect women for decades to come, even influencing our current ideas on appearance.

The flapper style combined all of the defining trends of the era. Her short, bobbed hair style, coupled with a dress that came to the knees, and stockings rolled below powdered knees, were all indicators that fashion had been turned upside down. Interestingly, the showing of the legs and arms were more important to this fashion choice than the torso. The dress style was baggy, to hide the curves, but showed off both the arms and the legs. Flappers usually wore long strings of pearls or beads, which were frequently tied in a knot at the neck and tossed over her right shoulder. The upper arm sported many metal bracelets. And flappers not only wore makeup, but were often seen applying it in public. Think of the iconic Betty Boop powdering her nose – that was a typical scene being portrayed in cartoon style.


“1920s Women's Fashion.” 1920s Fashion for Women,

“Flapper.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Oct. 2017,