Dressing Like It’s 1920

1920 cream silk blouseWhen dressing in vintage, one is apt to stand from the crowd. Granted, that is a point in going against the grain of modern fashion, but for those who admire the clothing on Downton Abbey, but aren’t too keen to look too different from folks walking about in 2011, I think the very early 20s are very adaptable, accessible, and classic.

The silhouette is a slim barrel. The waist is natural, but curves are not emphasized, and the look is very casual dressy. Look for slightly A-line or straight skirts that hit mid-calf or three to four inches above the ankle, and slips/petticoats of similar length to give the skirt some “body”. Blouses are neat and embroidered, with jewel or square necklines, or collared, in silk or other soft and elegant fabrics. This was the era of the sweater coat (or jumper in British terminology), and were made of thick, quality knit and came in a variety of colors. The bandeau brassiere made a breakthrough, though the camisole/chemise, drawers, and petticoat still held a firm grip on ladies’ undergarments, and women had yet to dispense with corsets (though these were more girdle-like). Hosiery were black and leather footwear with a louis heel or low heel remained popular. For men, fashions, of course, changed the least. However, the look was more relaxed, and sports clothes (sweaters/jumpers, trousers, rubber-soled shoes, etc) gradually crept into daywear. Hats were also more casual, with the flat cap usually consigned to country tweeds, and the homburg and the fedora, becoming the standard.

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About Evangeline Holland

Author of Edwardian/WWI historicals. Likes cooking, the smell and collecting of old books, various artsy hobbies, travel, classic cinema, period dramas, the fusty areas of history, and all things French (though is terrible with maintaining fluency in the language). Read more about her novels and non-fiction here

  • http://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com/ Hels

    I like that idea that sports clothes especially jumpers and trousers, came off the sports field and gradually crept into ordinary daywear. This made total sense in terms of developing a practical wardrobe, but I am also sure it made people look smart AND casual. At least for the young adults.

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