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1920s VINTAGE DRESSES The three

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					1920s VINTAGE DRESSES
The three outfits at the top left are modern-day “flapper” costumes, which is how we now tend to think of women dressing in the
1920s. The overall fringe style is derived from French beaded and silk fringe dresses, as with those seen on the upper right.
These French dresses were quite expensive and also not the most popular evening dress that most women wore at the time. The
more popular type of beaded dress were those with beaded patterns sewn right onto the dress, which was typically tubular in
shape and with more coverage on the shoulders than the spagetti strap dresses above. There are some examples on the following
pages. And even more common than that were dresses made from taffeta, satin, chiffon, brocade, velvet, etc., many with fabric
flower corsages, sashes around the waist, lightly beaded patterns, a touch of fringe or maribou, etc.

If you would like to buy or wear a fringed costume dress (which are obviously fun to dance in), here are some tips: the knee
length versions are more like the original; the mini-skirt versions are more like Twenties Revival dresses from the 1960s. Also,
the long-length pearls tended to be worn in the earlier 1920s with long hemlines that ended at mid calf to the ankle. Shorter
necklaces were more often worn with the knee-length dresses of 1925 onward (as in the photo above of actress Thelma Todd).
Likewise, feathered headbands, though still occasionally worn in the latter 1920s, were really an older style from the 1910s that
women continued to wear in the early 1920s with the longer dresses. If you want to wear an evening headband, it was more
common in the ‘20s to wear them back farther on the head (like a Grecian headband) rather than hippy style. See the section on
headwear for photos. Gloves were worn to really formal affairs (the opera, presentations at royal courts), but not by flappers and
other women to go to dances and speakeasies.
Examples of vintage day dresses (for regular wear, garden parties, etc) dating from the early 1920s through the latter 1920s:
Formal and party
dresses from the
early to mid 1920s.
The three dresses on
the top right are
robes des style. The
dress of white voile
was likely a
wedding dress and
would have been
worn with a slip
underneath. The
dress at lower left
has a lace overlay
and could have been
worn for a daytime
party.
These evening dresses date from
the early to mid 1920s. They are
pull-over style, and hang straight to
the hips. Some on the top row
from c. 1922-24 have straight
panels going down the front and
back over an under layer. The
three dresses at lower left are
constructed from two flat pieces of
fabric (sewn up the sides like a T-
shirt), so that the top of the fabric
makes cap sleeves. The black one
is heavily beaded and is a very
common mid 1920s style. The
pastel one has a lace overlay. The
dress at the lower right is beaded
all over with red silk fringe at the
bottom of the pattern.
Here are examples of
mid to late 1920s
evening dresses. Some
hang straight and
others have fitted
bodices. Top row are
beaded, The blue one
is French has beads of
different shades of
blue applied directly to
the chiffon fabric (not
beaded fringe).
Bottom row has two
embroidered dresses
and two with
metallic gold and
silver lace.
Party & evening dresses
dating from the mid to late
1920s. Top row dresses are
chiffon. The peach and
yellow ones in the middle
have delicate beading.
Chiffon dresses were always
worn with a slip underdress.
The dress at bottom left is
beaded in rows, three are silk
satin, and one is floral velvet.
FINAL NOTE: Waistlines of
straight-cut dresses c. 1922-
1926 were very low – almost
at the derriere. 1927-29 the
waistlines of straight bodices
were a bit higher, at mid to
upper hip, as in the beaded
dress on the bottom left.

				
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