1920s Fashion – dresses, hats and hair

My new novel The Dragon Sleeps is set in Victoria, Australia in the 1920s. I had such fun in so many ways,  writing in this era. One of these ways was the fashion. I take a look here at ladies fashion.

1927-1928
These dresses were the rage in 1927 and 1928.

Hemlines were shortened, while waistline were lowered.

finger-waves

The 1920’s were a turning point for women. The Great War (WWI) had ended and women had become more independent. During the war, they had gone out to work for the first time.

With their new found independence, women wanted to cut ties with the old feminine images of the past.

Hair was cut short into ‘Bobs’ or styled into ‘finger waves’, so-called because the hair was dampened and fingers and comb were used to create this look.

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The cloche hat, in all its variations, was the hat of the 1920s. It clung to the head and was pulled down on to the forehead. Sometimes the cloche hat featured a brim, with flowers or feathers decorating the sides. Add pearls, beads or feathers, and the cloche could even be worn in the evening.

The woman with the golden curls and green hat – Copyright 2012 Tracy J Butler

hat-pins
Stylish Art Deco hats pins  were used to keep hats in place.  The pins were surprisingly strong and sharp.                                  Alexandra and Edith, in my story, wear hat pins like these.

1920s-evening-dress
This is a fabulous example of 1920s evening wear, complete with finger waves.

tabard-evening-dressblack-tabard-dress

These are Tabard-style evening dresses. They are typically a sheer beaded overlay, with a silk chiffon shift of the same colour or contrasting colour beneath. Tabards frequently featured low backs and thin straps.

Alexandra wears a tabard dress in The Dragon Sleeps.

The bias cut was popularized, which allowed the fabric to hang and drape in sinuous folds and stretch over the contours of a woman’s figure. The beauty of the bias cut was that the dress could be pulled on and off with ease.

It heralded the free-form look of many gowns in the 1920s.

significant-flapper-evening-dresses-of-the-1920s

Chanel’s black evening dresses with huge transparent draperies.

Molyneux’s transparent printed dresses with full scalloped skirts and arm draperies.

Paquin’s acid green moire dresses with a V-neck and bulk at the hip.

source –Vintage Fashion Sourcebook – Carlton Books

The modern ‘myth’ of the ‘flapper’ party dress is more a relic of the 1960’s revival. In fact, generally the hemline was below the knee. Women enjoyed the swishing of the softer more feminine fabrics against their legs. Silk, velvet and taffeta were the favoured fabrics.

Many gowns were designed with the new dances in mind. Freedom of movement was important.

ladies-home-journal-1927
A page from the Ladies Home Journal, May 1927