1920’s fashion has for nearly 80 years been defined by the “flapper”- short bobbed hair, fringed formless dresses, excessively long strands of beads, and a flask held in place against the thigh by a garter. Jazz music roared through the city streets and money flowed like wine, as the gorgeous girl danced the night away in pretty sparkles and pearls.
There was much more to this era than just the flapper and Al Capone. Throughout the years much of the history has been lost to the stereotype that we know today. The chinsy dresses we buy at the cheap costumes stores cannot begin to emulate the elegance and glory of the time. Designers such as Coco Chanel, Jean Patou, and Jeanne Lanvin redefined the sophistication of couture.
As women rose in the power spectrum, having won the right to vote in 1920 and entering the workforce in unspeakable numbers, fashion took on a more masculine look. The soft flowy lines of the previous decade had stretched to straight, dropped waist designs, with fabulous fur coats and cloche hats. The corset was gone. Skirts were getting shorter. And the hair…. the hair was a statement all on its own.
The “bob” look sparked the greatest hair controversy of the twentieth century. The hair was bluntly cut at the jaw line or ear line, and many times formed into finger waves or curls. With the flapper craze came silky straight bobs, with a shingled shape at the nape of the neck. Parents complained that they could not immediately tell if it was their son or daughter walking in front of them. Men divorced their wives because of their too manly of an appearance. Many employers even fired all their female employees who had bobbed locks.
Things began settling down by the end of the decade, however. The new trend sparked economic booms in the hairdressing industry, and opened up countless jobs for women across the nation. Designers were creating beautifully luxurious and chic ornaments to adorn the hair with, along with the lovely cloche hats on the market.