Flapper fashion symbolized rebellion against traditional gender roles and social norms of the time. The young women who embraced this style rejected their parents’ generation’s conservative and restrictive fashion and embraced a more liberated and carefree lifestyle.
Flapper fashion has been a timeless, iconic style for almost a century. It has been seen on the runway and on celebrities alike, making it one of history’s most popular fashion trends.
The flapper look started in the 1920s but has changed to include modern cuts and styling options. Whether you want to make a statement or keep up with current trends, flapper fashion is an excellent choice.
What is Flapper Fashion?
Flapper style fashion was a trend popularized in the 1920s and continues to influence fashion today. Characterized by its modern look and liberating attitude, flapper fashion is known for its glamorous, daring silhouette, including short skirts and low necklines.
The style embraced a liberated spirit of the time, with many women discarding traditional gender roles for more independent lifestyles.
Flappers also championed wearing clothing that reflected their sense of style and femininity. This included beaded dresses, feathered headpieces, low-heeled shoes, and long strings of pearls or beads.
In an era when most women were still expected to stay at home and do housework, flappers helped push for equal treatment of men and women by dressing in a free-spirited way.
The Meaning of Flapper Fashion
Flapper fashion’s meaning is rebellion, independence, and liberation. It represents the changing cultural attitudes of the 1920s and the desire of young women to break free from the constraints of traditional gender roles and societal expectations.
Flapper fashion emerged during the 1920s as a reflection of the time’s changing cultural and social norms. Women broke free from traditional gender roles and societal expectations, and flapper fashion represented their desire for independence and liberation.
The changing economy and technology of the time also influenced flapper fashion. Mass-produced clothing became more affordable, and advancements in sewing machines allowed for greater experimentation with fabrics and designs.
Types of Flapper Fashion
While flapper fashion had some common characteristics, there were variations in the style depending on the region, social status, and the wearer’s taste. Here are some variations of flapper fashion:
Hollywood glamour: In the 1920s, Hollywood movies began influencing fashion trends, and the flapper style was no exception. Film stars like Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford popularized a more glamorous version of flapper fashion, featuring luxurious fabrics, fur trimmings, and dramatic makeup.
Sporty flapper: Some women embraced a more athletic look, wearing sweater sets, tennis skirts, and golf caps. This style was influenced by the growing popularity of sports and leisure activities during the 1920s.
Bohemian flapper: Some flappers rejected the mainstream fashion trends and embraced a more bohemian, free-spirited look. They wore loose, flowing dresses, beaded necklaces, and headbands made of flowers or ribbons.
Art Deco flapper: The Art Deco movement influenced fashion and design during the 1920s, and some flappers embraced the bold, geometric shapes and bright colors associated with the style. They wore dresses and accessories with intricate patterns and bold lines.
Working-class flapper: While flapper fashion is often associated with wealthy, upper-class women, working-class women also adopted elements of the style. They wore more straightforward, practical dresses and accessories, often made from cheaper materials.
These variations in flapper fashion reflect the diversity of women’s experiences and interests during the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the influence of broader cultural and social trends on fashion.
What is the Origin of Flapper Fashion?
The Flapper fashion trend of the 1920s is a style that has been immortalized in popular culture. This iconic, gender-bending look symbolized women’s liberation and laid the groundwork for future generations of female fashion icons.
The term “flapper” first appeared in Great Britain during World War I when it was used to describe young women who rebelled against traditional gender roles.
Flappers first rose to prominence in the 1920s after World War I ended in the United States. During this time, women began to assert their independence by embracing more masculine-inspired styles such as bob haircuts, rolled stockings, and looser clothing silhouettes.
Flappers were often criticized at the time for their risqué behavior and scandalous clothing choices. Still, they paved the way for more progressive attitudes toward fashion across all genders and ages.
In 18th-century Europe, female fashion underwent a transformation from restrictive gowns to dresses with lower necklines and higher hemlines. By 1900, hobble skirts were out of style for most women in western countries as more sensible footwear allowed them to move around freely.
Women’s magazines began encouraging young women to express themselves through their clothing choices – a radical concept at that time – which made way for flappers to emerge in full swing during the 1920s.
The Sources of Inspiration
Flapper fashion was inspired by a combination of factors, including women’s changing societal roles, technological advances in textiles and clothing production, and the cultural influence of the Art Deco movement.
During the 1920s, women were breaking free from traditional gender roles and embracing a more independent and liberated lifestyle. They wanted comfortable and practical clothing that reflected their new sense of freedom.
This led to a shift in fashion, with shorter hemlines, looser silhouettes, and less restrictive undergarments becoming popular. In addition, advancements in textile manufacturing allowed the creation of new fabrics like rayon and silk, which were lightweight, durable, and perfect for the new flapper style.
The Art Deco movement also played a role, with its focus on geometric shapes, bold colors, and streamlined designs influencing the look of flapper fashion. The primary source of inspiration for flapper fashion was the desire for a new style that reflected the changing times and the newfound sense of freedom that women were experiencing.
Popular Flapper Fashion Designers
Some of the famous fashion designers of the flapper era include:
- Coco Chanel – Chanel was a French fashion designer who significantly shaped the flapper style. She was known for her innovative use of materials, such as jerseys and simple yet elegant designs.
- Jeanne Lanvin – Lanvin was a French fashion designer famous for her elaborate dresses, intricate embroidery, and beading. She also designed for children, a new concept at the time.
- Elsa Schiaparelli – Schiaparelli was an Italian fashion designer known for her bold and unconventional designs. She often incorporated surrealistic elements, such as lobster-shaped buttons and shoe-shaped hats, into her clothing.
- Madeleine Vionnet – Vionnet was a French fashion designer famous for her bias-cut dresses, which draped elegantly on the body. Her designs were known for their simplicity and understated elegance.
- Paul Poiret – Poiret was a French fashion designer known for innovative designs, bold colors, and patterns. He was also one of the first designers to create designs for the flapper lifestyle, such as the “harem” pants.
These designers and others helped shape the iconic flapper fashion of the 1920s, which is still celebrated and referenced in modern fashion today.
Why is Flapper Style Still Popular?
The flapper style is popular as it had a lasting impact on fashion and continues to inspire designers today. Many modern designers incorporate elements of flapper fashion into their collections, such as short hemlines, beading, and fringe. This influence is also evident in popular culture, with films, television shows, and fashion trends often referencing the flapper style.
The flapper style has become a famous icon and is recognized as a symbol of the 1920s, a decade that continues to hold a fascination for many people. The style’s enduring popularity is a testament to its impact and significance in fashion history.
The Evolution of Flapper Fashion
The flapper fashion of the 1920s underwent several changes and evolved. Here are some key developments in the evolution of flapper fashion:
The early flapper style (the 1910s): The early flapper style was a transitional period that saw the emergence of shorter hemlines, looser silhouettes, and less restrictive undergarments. Women began to wear their hair in shorter bobs and experimented with more masculine styles, such as trousers and suits.
The classic flapper style (the 1920s): The classic flapper style emerged in the 1920s and was characterized by short, straight dresses, dropped waistlines, and sleeveless designs. Flapper dresses were often decorated with beading, fringe, and other embellishments. The iconic bob haircut became popular, and women began to wear more makeup, including dark lipstick and smoky eye shadow.
The late flapper style (the late 1920s): The late flapper style shifted towards more glamorous, sophisticated clothing. Dresses became longer, with more fluid lines and draping. Evening wear was particularly ornate, with beading, sequins, and metallic fabrics.
The decline of the flapper style (the 1930s): The flapper style began to decline in popularity in the 1930s as the Great Depression took hold. Clothing became more practical and modest, and the feminine silhouette returned. Hemlines became more extended, and dresses were more fitted at the waist.
Despite its relatively short lifespan, the flapper style significantly impacted fashion and continues to inspire designers today. Its influence can be seen in modern clothing styles and remains an iconic symbol of the 1920s.
What are the Characteristics of Flapper Fashion?
The flapper fashion of the 1920s was characterized by several key features, including:
- Short hemlines: Flapper dresses were typically knee-length or shorter, which was a dramatic departure from the longer hemlines of previous decades.
- Loose silhouette: Flapper dresses were loose and unstructured, with dropped waistlines and simple lines. This allowed for greater freedom of movement and reflected women’s new, more relaxed lifestyle in the 1920s.
- Sleeveless designs: Flapper dresses often had sleeveless designs, another departure from the more modest clothing of the past.
- Beading and embellishments: Flapper dresses were often decorated with beading, sequins, fringe, and other embellishments. This added texture and movement to the straightforward, straight lines of the dress.
- Art Deco-inspired designs: The Art Deco movement significantly influenced flapper fashion, focusing on geometric shapes and bold colors. Flapper dresses often incorporated Art Deco-inspired designs and patterns.
- Bobbed hairstyles: The iconic bob haircut became popular in the 1920s, reflecting women’s more modern and liberated lifestyle.
- Accessories: Flapper fashion was often accessorized with long necklaces, feather boas, and cloche hats, which added to the overall look of the outfit.
Flapper fashion represented a significant departure from the more conservative clothing of previous decades and reflected the time’s changing social and cultural attitudes. The style was bold, carefree, and embodied the spirit of the Jazz Age.
The Colors of Flapper Fashion
The most common colors of flapper fashion in the 1920s were bold and vibrant hues such as black, gold, silver, red, and emerald green. These colors were often used in combination with intricate beading, fringe, and sequin embellishments to create the iconic flapper look.
Other popular colors included pastels like pink, lavender, and mint green, as well as metallic shades like bronze and copper. Flapper fashion was characterized by its daring and playful use of color and its focus on comfort, ease of movement, and individuality.
How to Dress Flapper Style?
If you want to add vintage glamour to your wardrobe, here’s how to dress flapper style!
Dresses: Choose a loose, flowing dress with a dropped waistline and hemline that hits above the knee. Look for dresses made of lightweight fabrics like silk or chiffon featuring beading, fringe, or sequin embellishments.
Accessories: Flapper fashion was all about accessorizing. Consider adding a beaded or feathered headband, long pearl necklaces, drop earrings, and a clutch or small purse to complete the look.
Shoes: Choose a pair of low-heeled or flat shoes that are comfortable and easy to dance in. T-strap or Mary Jane-style shoes were popular choices during the 1920s.
Hair: Flappers often wore their hair short and bobbed, but you can achieve a similar look with a faux bob or finger waves. Consider adding a sparkly hair accessory like a headband or hair clip to finish the look.
Makeup: Flapper makeup was bold and dramatic. Think dark, smoky eyes, bold brows, and dark lips. Consider using a dark eyeliner pencil to create a “smudged” look around the eyes.
The key to dressing in flapper style is embracing the era’s playful and daring spirit. Don’t be afraid to experiment with bold colors, patterns, and textures, and remember to have fun and dance the night away!
Flapper Fashion Outfits
The flapper fashion of the 1920s was characterized by a rebellious and unconventional style that reflected the changing attitudes of women during that era. Some of the most popular flapper fashion outfits included:
The Flapper Dress was a straight, knee-length dress with a dropped waistline and no sleeves. The dress was usually made from lightweight fabrics such as silk or chiffon and featured intricate beading or fringe details.
Cloche Hat was a bell-shaped hat that fits tightly over the head and had a brim that sloped downwards. The cloche hat was a popular accessory for flappers and completed their fashionable look.
T-Strap Shoes were a popular footwear choice for flappers. They featured a strap across the front of the foot and another around the ankle, with a low heel.
The bob haircut was a signature style of the flapper era. It was a short, straight haircut that was usually chin-length or shorter and often styled with finger waves or curls.
Feather Boa, these fluffy, colorful accessories added a touch of glamour and sophistication to their look.
Beaded headbands were another popular accessory for flappers. They were usually worn over the forehead and featured intricate beadwork or sequins.
Silk stockings were a luxury item that many flappers indulged in. They were often brightly colored or patterned and were a way for women to show off their legs, which was considered scandalous at the time.
Flapper fashion was all about pushing the boundaries and rejecting the traditional fashion of previous generations. These outfits were designed to be comfortable, practical, and stylish, reflecting women’s newfound freedom and independence in the 1920s.
Flapper Fashion Makeups
Flapper makeup played a significant role in the flapper look. It is characterized by bold colors and dramatic looks, perfect for creating an edgy look that stands out. The key to achieving a successful flapper fashion look is to use bright colors like reds, oranges, pinks, purples, and blues.
Eye shadows should be well blended, focusing on dark, smoky effects. Deep shades of rouge should be used to paint your lips, and you can use a lip liner to bring out the shape of your lips. The classic cat-eye eyeliner can also create a vintage-inspired look.
To recreate this vintage glamour, start with a light foundation or BB cream for an even complexion. You may try a brown or black eyeliner pencil to line your eyes before adding multiple layers of mascara for a dramatic effect. Then finish off the eye makeup by using brown shadow on your upper lids and blending it towards your brow bone.
To get the perfect flapper pout, choose a classic red lipstick color and fill in your lips, so they are fully covered all day.
Flapper Fashion Hairstyles
The flapper hairstyle is one of the most well-known looks from the 1920s. The flapper look often consisted of short, bobbed hair held in place with a headband or cloche hat. The style also included bangs, finger waves, and pompadours that were popular among young women in America.
This unique hairstyle played an essential role in defining female identity during this period. It was a departure from traditional Victorian ideas of what a woman should look like, giving women more freedom in how they dressed to express their individuality.
By trying this new, risky style, women ensured they could be seen in public places like dance halls and speakeasies, where they could enjoy all parts of life without being judged or shamed.
Flapper Fashion Accessories
Flapper fashion accessories were popular during the 1920s, particularly among young women who embraced the free-spirited and rebellious spirit of the time. Some of the most iconic accessories of the flapper era include:
Headbands: Flapper girls often wore headbands adorned with feathers, beads, or sequins.
Long pearl necklaces: Long strands of pearls were a popular accessory during the 1920s, often worn in multiple layers.
Cloche hats: These close-fitting hats were a staple of the flapper wardrobe, often made of felt and adorned with ribbons, feathers, or brooches.
T-strap shoes: T-strap shoes were popular in the 1920s, often with a low heel and adorned with intricate designs.
Art Deco jewelry: The Art Deco style was popular during the 1920s, and flapper girls often wore geometric-shaped jewelry with bold, bright colors.
Fringed dresses: Flapper dresses were often adorned with long strands of fringe, which swayed and moved as the wearer danced.
Feather boas; Flapper girls loved to add a touch of glamour to their outfits with feather boas, which were often brightly colored and trimmed with beads or sequins.
These accessories helped define the flapper style and remain iconic today.