The 1920s Flapper

This week is New York Fashion Week. It is the time to virtually celebrate designers who have become successful in the industry. Fashion is more than just clothing. It is about self-expression, art, creativity, and making a statement. Let’s see how 1920’s fashion made a statement in society.

In the 1920s, flappers were young women known to embrace the nightlife with their energy and independence. Although many of their actions were considered immoral and dangerous by older generations, they still relished their new found freedom.

You may find yourself asking how did women come to develop this independence? Many sources credit World War I for starting this movement. While men were away at war, women entered the workforce in large numbers, receiving higher pay than they would have during peacetime. Further steps took place with the passing of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. These factors, coupled with the Prohibition movement, gave rise to undercover speakeasies.

The following images provide a glimpse into the lives of these young women who are unafraid to break society’s norms.

Let’s start with an earlier image from April 4, 1919 Perth Amboy Evening News. The elegance of these gowns lies in their simplicity and individuality. Flappers embraced more modern styles that were considered immodest and rebellious at the time.

Image of Flapper Society Heads, President Margaret Purell and Secretary Treasurer, Yvonne Vigneault.

The image above, featured in April 27, 1922 Perth Amboy Evening News, shows the president of the Flapper Society, Margaret Pursell and secretary-treasurer, Yvonne Vigneault. The article provides information on the society including its principles, purpose, and future goals. The women believe that these principles should be protected: smoking in public, clothing with individual taste, snuggle parties if desired, liberalism combined with propriety, rolled socks, bobbed hair, no leaning vine tactics, independence, and no shiftier language. Margaret Pursell aims to promote national representation by calling on Mayor Thompson and writing letters to congressmen to prohibit “antagonistic flapper propaganda.” Instead it is important to embrace the new times and support women’s courage to express themselves.

Image of Flapper Bride in modern wear.

This image, featured in March 22, 1922 Perth Amboy Evening News, shows flapper brides embracing new and modern looks.

Image showing the evolution of the bob from left to right.

This image, featured in September 23, 1922 Perth Amboy Evening News, shows the evolution of the bobbed head, from left to right.

Sources:

History.com Editors. “Flappers.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 6 Mar. 2018, www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties/flappers.

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