Fashion of Roaring Twenties and the Sixties

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Fashion of the Roaring Twenties and The Sixties

Fashion is the style prevalent at a given time. It usually refers to costume or clothing style. Everybody has to wear clothes, making fashion a part of everyday life. The way someone dresses says a lot about his or her personality, age, culture and experience. At times of economic or social change, fashion often changed. The 1920s and the 1960s are big eras were economic and social change were happening. They are both largely known for their fashion.

The 1920s was also known as the Roaring Twenties due to the period’s social, artistic, and cultural energy. The twenties were right after the end of World War One and right before the Great Depression. The era was notable for inventions and discoveries, industrial growth, increased consumer demand and significant changes in lifestyle (“roaring twenties”). During the twenties, the economy of the United States evolved from a wartime economy to a peacetime economy. The Eighteenth Amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, import and export of alcohol in attempt to help the social problems. Passing the nineteenth amendment gave women the political equality they had been fighting for. The twenties were also known as the Jazz Age because jazz music grew in popularity. “During the 1920s jazz music flourished, the flapper redefined modern womanhood, Art Deco peaked, and the Wall Street Crash of 1929 ended the era, as the Great Depression set in” (“roaring twenties”). The Roaring Twenties were trying to break from traditions of the Victorian way of life. Since the 1920s was a time of celebration, there were many fads.

Young women’s fashion of the 1920s was both a trend and a social statement. They were labeled ‘flappers’ by the older generations. “Flapper” was a popular slang for a very young prostitute or a lively mid-teenage girl. “The image of flappers were young women who went to jazz clubs at night where they danced provocatively, smoked cigarettes through long holders, and dated freely, perhaps indiscriminately. They rode bicycles, drove cars, and openly drank alcohol, a defiant act in the American period of Prohibition” (“flapper”). They were seen as rude and self-assertive for their behavior. “The ‘new’ woman was less invested in social service than the Progressive generations, and in tune with the capitalistic spirit of the era, she was eager to compete and to find personal fulfillment” (“roaring twenties”). Flappers as a social group were separate from other 1920s groups; their behavior was bizarre at the time. They challenged women’s traditional public roles, supporting voting and women’s rights. Some flappers weren’t into the politics. “Older suffragettes, who fought for the right for women to vote, viewed flappers as vapid and in some ways unworthy of the enfranchisement they had worked so hard to win” (“flapper”).

In addition to their strange behavior, they were known for their style. Flapper style made girls look young and boyish. They had a chin-length bob hairstyle and wore straight waist dresses with a hemline above the knee. The risen hemline allowed flashing of the legs when a girl danced. They also removed the corset from female fashion. Until the 1920s, cosmetics were not accepted in American society because of its association with prostitution but flappers made cosmetics popular. High heels also came into style, 2-3 inches high. Writers and illustrators in the United States popularized the flapper look through their works, making flappers appealing and independent. Even though the flapper look and lifestyle were popular at the time, it could not last through the Wall Street Crash or the Great Depression.

Another popular era for fashion was the 1960s, more commonly called The Sixties. The sixties was a movement escaping from the conservative ways of the fifties and eventually resulted in revolutionary ways of thinking and real changes in the culture of American life (Goodwin). The...
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