1920s Women’s Outfits

The jazz boom of the twenties was the golden age of fashion. After World War I, women generally yearned for a simple, comfortable lifestyle that reflected the new modern fashion style. The young women of the 1920s were free, and they created fashion by discarding their corsets and showing off their jazz dancing legs. For example, drop-waist dresses designed for women after 1922. In the 1920s, women for all ages and sizes adopted the clothes and looks of these young girls, allowing them to live care-free lives, pursuing new hobbies and opening new doors to women’s rights. 

The first years of the 1920s were the same as the late Edwardian’s trend: women’s clothing still followed a natural waistline, with full sleeves and ankle length dresses. These clothes were so beautiful and feminine that every woman could wear them. After 1922, women’s waistlines began to drop, and plump waists became thinner and thinner. Hemlines began to rise up to the mid-calf, women wanted shorter and shorter dresses, which gradually rose to just below the knee by 1925 and stayed there until the 1930s.

The top of 1920s dresses were still understated with wide open boat necks or V-necks. Sleeves were usually long, at least elbow length, and sleeveless party dresses could only be worn in the evenings. At home, women’s dresses were decorated with white frills, flounces and ruffles, and were made up in little cotton prints, gingham, plaid and vertical stripes. Oversized white round, shawl or pointed collars were the characteristics of house dresses. Large pockets were very convenient for women to do housework at home.  

When going out, women needed to change clothes into something more appropriate for their events. For running errands, working in an office or department store, or visiting friends in the afternoon, women should wear a solid color dress with a light-colored jacket or wool two-piece suit that matched with the color of the dress. In the church, women wore their best clothes, gloves, hats and bags of the same hue. If a woman were going to a restaurant or a garden party, she would have chosen a hat made of richer fabrics such as silk, satin, organdy or chiffon. White or floral dresses were very common for summer tea parties, plus with a short cap or sleeveless tops. By the late 1920s, women’s afternoon dresses included tired skirts with larger flower corsages decorated one shoulder.

After choosing the primary clothing, a woman would choose a hat or hair ornament to complete her outfit. This was not a time to accessorize, although a hat looked dressier when paired with a dress of one color or other accessories. The most popular hat of the 1920s was the cloche hat in the shape of a helmet. It fitted more tightly to the head and had a low brim, so that women needed to lift their chin up to see where they were walking. The Cloche hat was decorated with a simple ribbon shape, a flower on one side, or a beautiful brooch. There was another hat that was similar to today’s bucket hat but its brim was shorter than the bucket hat.

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