Vintage Fashion – High-lites of the 1920′s & 1930′s


The styles of the “Roaring 20’s” were easy to look at, fun to wear and had lots of sparkle. “Flapper was the word. If you close your eyes you can envision a woman wearing a loose dress with long beads hanging around her neck, some type of felt hat with a feather or a narrow brim, satin shoes and a beaded bag. For daytime wear, suits with matching jackets, and capes were in. Wide belts worn low on the hips were also in.

Waistlines were still low and draped the hip. Large bows or leather belts with large buckles accented the hips. Hemlines were inconsistent. Below the knee was very popular, but all lengths were acceptable including just above the knee.

A chemise dress was a basic style of the 20’s and was made both for day and evening wear. Many different types of materials were used by dress makers.

Mesh bags were very popular. Tiny links of metal woven or joined together to make the bags flexible. The mesh bags were popular in the early 1900’s. Small bags often made with sterling silver handles and or frames. Later in the 40’s the bags became larger and used plastic or bakelite for the handles or frames.

The coatdress came on the scene in the 20’s. Many were trimmed with beaver collars and cuffs.

Cloche hat were very popular in the 1920’s. The hat were made of felt, but other material was also used. The hat was deep crowned, narrow brimmed and worn down to the eyebrows. Costume jewelry was in. Brilliant, colorful rhinestones made up necklaces, broaches and bracelets. Refer to the section on costume jewelry.


Fashion designers used bold overall prints, small and large caplet sleeves, eye catching belts, scarves and bright accessories. A major designer of the 1930’s was Shiaparelli. She was a fun loving person and it showed in her designs. She loved color. Hot pink became the rage.

Vintage Fashion   High lites of the 1920s & 1930s

Washable and easy care fabrics were introduced.

Skirts and dress hemlines were changing. Hemlines were longer in back than the front of a dress or skirt. The fabric used by clothes makers was not changing too much, but the designers were cutting on the bias of the material; this created a flare to the garment. The way the garment accentuated a women’s figure and made her feel glamorous and beautiful.

The return of a women’s shape was evident in the 1930’s. Bust lines and waistlines were in. A noticeable distinction between day and evening wear was evident. Soft flowing gowns made with metallic lame, added beads and sequins would make any woman feel very elegant.

Vintage Fashion   High lites of the 1920s & 1930s

Fashion was again seeing a change. Traditional modesty was being challenged. Bare midriffs were introduced. Two piece bathing suits, very low back dresses, net trifles replaced hats for church. What was happening in the fashion world.

If the decision was mind to make, I would say the two most important fashion aspects of the 1930’s was the use of the zipper and nylon material. Just think of all the buttons that were replaced by the zipper. And nylon, what more can you say!