Fashion in the 1920s was characterised by:


Women's Clothing

Chanel revolutionises women's fashion

  • Skirts swathed or tiered
  • Hats bags and belts often embroidered in metallic thread
  • Twin sets
  • Crocheted lace
  • Leather belts
  • Sailor pants
  • Short evening dresses
  • Relaxed coats with pockets
  • Tailored suits
  • Asexual smocks
  • Harem pantaloons
  • Filet crochet
  • Crocheted cloche hat from 1923
  • "Silhouette: Elongated, shapeless, lower waistline, shorter skirt.
  • Bodice: Unfitted tube to low waist, over unboned corset.
  • Neckline: Various V-shapes, boat-shaped, low round.
  • Sleeves: Kimono, raglan, dolman, long inset gathered into cuffs.
  • Skirt: Ankle, mid-calf and below knee length; straight, flared
  • Fabric: Silk and wool jersey, crepe-de-chine, silk georgette.
  • Trimmings: Fur, embroidered ribbon, beaded and sequinned embroidery.
  • Colour: Bright, emerald green, acid yellow, royal blue, purple or pale and natural.
  • Accessories: Large hats with drooping brims, brimless cloches, short gloves, small bags with chain handles, lightweight shoes."
  •                                               (Peacock)


"Silhoette: Long, shapeless, low waist, no bust, short skirt.
Bodice : Unfitted tube to hip level.
Neckline: V-shaped, low round, cowl.
Sleeves: Kimono, raglan, dolman, some sleeveless models.
Skirt: From 1925: just below the knee; from 1929: longer or uneven hems, handkerchief points.
Fabric: Silk and wool jersey, crepe-de-chine, silk georgette, satin.
Trimmings: Fur, monkey fur, large buttons, all-over sequin embroidery.
Colour: Bright pure, pale, subdued, dramatic combinations.
Accessories: Cloche hats, small bags, clutch bags, long glass bead necklaces and earrings, silk stockings, lightweight shoes."

  • Skirts the shortest of the decade - just below the knee
  • Very long necklaces
  • Evening dresses as short as day dresses, but silk, lame, fringed, intricate embroidery, beading, paillettes
  • Cocktail dresses born
  • Bright colours
  • By 1927, hemlines are starting to become longer again
  • Boyish, angular look going out of fashion
  • Return to softer, more feminine fashions spearheaded by Chanel
  • Lanvin - feminine embroidery
  • Vionnet - flowing dresses cut on the bias


  • Men's haircuts for women
  • Men's smoking jackets for women
  • Blazers worn with pleated skirts
  • Women's shirts worn with ties and cuff links


  • Wall Street crash - skirts are longer again

Underwear & Sleepwear

  • Linen and light wool replaced by crepe de chine
  • Brassiere is designed to flatten
  • Usually all in one.
  • Suspenders often attached to one piece underwear.
  • Bedjackets and dressing jackets.

Bathing Suits

  • Early 20s - Tunic top, with or without collar. Square or V-neckline, with bloomers.
  • Late 20s - Shorts to upper thigh - tank top


  • Wide brimmed hat in the early 20s and late 20s.
  • Cloche hats worn low to almost cover the eyes
  • Flesh coloured silk stockings
  • Berets
  • Lots of bangles
  • Very long necklaces
  • Costume jewellery
    Dressing Jacket - 1920s

Jewellery of bone, wood, shell & mock jade pre-dated Chanel's costume jewellery
  • Cigarette holders
  • Shoes with pointed toes.

  • Hair & Make-Up

    • Hair was cut short in a bob
    • By 1927, extremely short hair no longer in fashion
    • Women were starting to use make-up
    • Headbands
      Silk Bonnet - 1923
      Dutch boy hairdos
    • Face powder and cosmetics commercially available
    • Tanned skin




    Baby Clothes

    • Still clothed in traditional designs
      Filet Crochet Bib - 1927
    • Silk was commonly used

    • Special bibs were made in filet crochet


    • Unpadded shoulders
    • Narrower sleeves and trouser legs
    • Trouser legs cuffed and creased
    • Jackets shorter
    • Lapels longer
    • "military high waist"
    • belts and pleating disappeared
    • patch pockets replaced by slash pockets
    • Soft shirts
    • Sports jackets
    • Plus fours
    • White waistcoat worn with a tuxedo


    • Brown suede shoes
    • Red ties
    • Panama hat
    • Ties with a Windsor knot
    • Coloured pocket handkerchief
    • Butterfly bow tie
    • Long tie with sailor's knot
    • Oxfords replaced high-buttoning shoes
    • Wristwatch replaced the pocket watch

    Bathing Suits

    • Shorts to upper thigh - tank top
    1. Reference: "Fashion: The Mirror of History", by Michael and Ariane Batterberry, 1982, London, Columbus Books
    2. "20th Century Fashion: The Complete Sourcebook", by John Peacock; 1993; London; Thames and Hudson, p.227.
    3. Thank you to Patons for permission to use their images

    1 comment:

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.