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The 1920s were a period of lavish parties and bold fashion to match. This time in fashion history began exactly 100 years ago. But why does fashion from a century ago impact our wardrobe today? 

Well, the 1920’s created some of the most iconic looks of all time. Integrating elements from this period into your modern hairstyle, makeup, and accessories is still a showstopping way to make a statement.

Put away those 70s shades and dump those 90s blue jeans. Add complexity to your style with these unique roaring twenties fashion hacks!

The History of Roaring Twenties Fashion

In the 20th century, women’s fashion exploded with new ideas, fresh looks, and bold confidence for women as fashion icons. With the art deco movement and the distribution of fashion magazines, new ideas sprung up in hubs like Paris and New York. Art deco made its way to coastal cities like Miami, and even small towns and suburban homes globally.

Top designers like Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel popularized art deco cigarette cases and compacts. Every fashion-forward woman wanted their look to match that of the women in the 1920s fashion magazines. That meant an overall mindset change across the globe toward high-end art deco fashion that hadn’t been seen before.

Some of the most popular ideas included zigzag patterns characteristic of art deco, makeup inspired by all the most popular silent movie stars, and cheaper fabrics. Even those living on less could get the most elegant looks.

The Roaring Twenties Hairstyles

As women styled their hair during this period with cloche hats, headbands, and even feathers, shorter hair became more popular. The bob experienced widespread popularity as a modern, fashionable hairstyle for women. If your hair wasn’t chopped off, it’d be twisted and pinned into an up-do to show off more 20s glitz and accessories.

A 20s hairstyle might not look too different from what you’d see today; the only real difference is the added accessories. Whereas today you might pin your hair up with a bobby pin, in the 20s, you’d add an eccentric feathered headband or a diamond-encrusted tiara.

The Roaring Twenties Makeup Look

A huge element of 1920s fashion and makeup was the popularity of the silent film. With the rise of movie stars came the desire of everyday people to look like the actors they saw on screen. 

A characteristic of 1920s makeup is contrast. Bold red lipstick was a must, and a stylish art deco compact for on-the-go would need to match the art deco cigarette case every lady carried with her.

It was not only stylish to wear the makeup but also the right decorative packaging to carry with you. Applying makeup in public wasn’t an indicator that you had run out of time to get ready. It was the style of the times for young women to apply cosmetics while out and about.

A great way to incorporate the roaring twenties' makeup into your everyday look is with red lipstick. This simple start helps you stand out, and with a few staple art deco accessories and clothing items immediately invokes the iconic 1920s flapper look.

The Roaring Twenties Accessories

While your modern-day accessories may include a small bag or purse, a baseball cap, and subtle jewelry for a more elegant look, 1920s fashion was big on lavish accessories. For starters, most dresses were tied with a belt or sash around the waist. This is because otherwise, 1920s dresses were generally shapeless or tubed.

When going for an evening on the town, a woman in 1920s fashion may wear seamed stockings, long gloves, a shawl, or one of the famous long pearl necklaces popular during this time. Feathers, sequins, and sparkles were big, which is why many women wore tiaras and carried feather fans.

Another major trend in fashion was the cloche hat. This style of hat can be seen throughout the mid and late 1920s fashion, and almost every young woman had one. The cloche hat is the counterpart to the popular male fedora fashion of this period. Women wore this accessory with a bow or other embellishment.

The trick to embracing these 1920s accessories yourself is to go big. The women of the 20s were emulating elegant film stars and Hollywood divas. To get the look yourself, you have to go big.

The Roaring Twenties Dresses

In 1920s fashion for women, dresses were everything. Women primarily wore dresses, with the occasional substitution of a skirt and blouse. All dresses would need to be at least below knee length but could go down to the ankles. 

For an average daytime outfit, dress sleeves would be long or mid-length and may be paired with a cardigan for a more casual look. Fancy dresses, on the other hand, were a little bit different.

When a 1920s woman wanted to get dressed up for a party or event, she’d trade her daytime dress in for a sequined, spectacular going-out dress. These tended to be sleeveless and looked more like the iconic flapper dress that you may recognize from famous 20s films and fashion photos. 

Today, a great way to get this look is to choose an evening dress that is decorated with beading, fringe, sequins, or even feathers. These types of over-the-top accents give a regular dress that classic 1920s art deco fashion appeal. The more fringe on a 1920s dress, the better!


The roaring twenties may have been 100 years ago, but the art deco fashion of the period continues to inform our style to this day. 

If you truly want to achieve the roaring twenties look, then turn to thrift stores or even sew your flapper dress from a pattern. Dresses of the time tended to be more shapeless than dresses today, which means even beginner seamstresses can accomplish some of the easier patterns. 

Embrace your inner roar with these roaring twenties fashion hacks!

August 10, 2020 by Cynthia L



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