The 1920’s period is mostly recalled as the time of the “Flappers” of the new movie era. But behind that façade was a definitive fashion style unique to that time. The overall concept was that the girl of the early 1920’s was trying to portray the chaste, virginal almost boyish look in order to attract soldiers recently returned from The Great War.
A number of ‘tricks’ were used to create this impression. Firstly sweaters were designed to hang loosely from the shoulders to minimise the bosom and hips. Colour was important and pastels or white were used to emphasise the chaste look. The sweater was basically knit in one long shapeless tube with a crochet edging around the hem and neckline breaking up the minimalist look somewhat. By the end of the decade the shapeless sweater design was relaxed a little allowing for fitting around the hips. Sleeves were long with fitted cuffs and the neckline V shaped to mimic a boy’s school jumper. A tubular knitted skirt completed the ensemble continuing the unfitted line of the sweater. Flesh coloured stockings completed the look.
The cloche hat covered her close cut hair and was pulled down over the forehead level with the eyes. Again the objective was to reduce the effect of free flowing hair to a more masculine look.
Under garments were minimal. Often a camibocker was worn which was a type of bodice and pants combination. However, the objective of the camibocker was the opposite of the Edwardian corset. The Edwardians accentuated the female shape by pushing the breasts up and pulling the waist in to make the hips look fuller. The 1920’s style was completely the opposite and the camibocker was tight and restrictive over the breasts whilst the pants were loose fitting aiding the straight up and down look of the outer garments.
The fashion also reflected the new found freedom of women of the day and the sweater skirt combination worked well whether on the dance floor, the tennis court or driving her sports car.
By the end of the decade the straight unflattering look was waning and lines were firstly added to the cuffs and hem followed by diagonal lines on body. The need to return to prettiness was growing as the ’20’s turned in to the ’30’s.