Fashion of the 1920s and Early 1930s
Few periods demonstrate the way fashions reflect their own time as does the 1920s. The fashion of the 1920s was focused on social realignments and youth; it involved feminine liberation. Wars and technological developments produced rapid changes that led to a quest for the excitement, to restlessness and even to violence and destruction. The war years had brought on harsh realities and evoked a desire to do one's bit that touched all levels of society. People found their prior sedentary life boring and had little desire to return to it. To fit into the pattern of this new version of the good life, fashions became more informal and less complicated. Feminine liberation found freedom in discarding the corset. For the first time in centuries the women's legs were exposed and freed for mobility and action. To gain equality with men and to resemble them, women flattened their breasts and hips and cut their hair. The 1920s bob and boyish deal were the period's own version of unisex. In the 1920s motion pictures exerted an ever-increasing impact on the American scene. Movie stars brought viewers adventure, a shimmering aura of wealth, beauty and romance. Films gave a semblance of reality to fantasies and aroused the public to new hopes, tastes, and appetites. Catalogs, such as Sears, Roebuck and Co. began to include fashion worn by movie stars such as Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, and Joan Crawford. In the year of 1920, skirts became a little shorter, figures somewhat slimmer, bosoms smaller and waistline being naturally placed. In 1921, dresses were designed to fall in an unbroken line from shoulder to hem. Worn loose, slightly belted at the normal waist, this was to be the silhouette of most of the decade. Coats had become shorter, and some hair was obviously cut but was kept soft-looking with side curls. There was an increasing interest in oxfords and pumps. 1923's fashions harked back not so much to those of 1913, but...
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