May 17, 2011
It's been a while since I've written about Twenties style. Quite frankly, I'm worried about it. I have always maintained that once a style has been relegated to Halloween costume status, it's gravely endangered.
Sadly, we've come to remember Twenties fashion as a fringed sheath, long beads, and a headband. Stir briskly.
Part of the problem, I think, is that the original source material is too distant -- not in time as much as in popular memory. We remember Thirties fashion primarily through old movies, so many of which are still beloved. Most Twenties films, however, were silent, and are forgotten. Many are lost entirely.
How many people remember Colleen Moore, or have ever seen a Clara Bow film?
More recently (though not much) Twenties style was filtered through the Fifties and early Sixties, when there was renewed interest in the period. They usually got the beads right, but the silhouette wrong. It would have looked too dated.
The Twenties' female ideal was the boyish figure and the Fifties and early Sixties' ideal was curvy.
Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis looked more authentically Twenties in Some Like it Hot than Marilyn; androgynous looks were in.
Pattern companies' attempts to revive the Twenties were often unfortunate.
I own some original Twenties patterns myself and I've made one for Cathy. They can be hard to find and expensive when you do.
The Twenties chemise and dropped waistline is revived on the runways from time to time, true, but why isn't Twenties style more popular? Is it simply too costume-y for today's tastes?
I recently picked up a fabulous book on Twenties fashion (both male and female), Fashions of the Roaring Twenties, by Ellie Laubner (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 1996).
It is full of gorgeous photographs of the wide variety of Twenties fashion, and does a great job establishing the historic context too. It was a period of tremendous social change for American men and women, and for the latter especially, this was reflected in how they dressed.
More pics of Fashions of the Roaring Twenties and Twenties style here.
Friends, do you consider Twenties style too remote or do you incorporate it in your own style? (If so, how?)
Is the Twenties just a boop boop de doop on your fashion radar? Do tell!
PS - A wonderful article on Twenties fashion with some great videos over at Glamour Daze here.