The “Roaring Twenties” were years of major change for both fashion and society. The year 1920 marked the beginning of Prohibition, as well as the end of the Suffrage Movement, with women gaining the right to vote. King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in 1922, further fueling the taste for the exotic, and creating an obsession with all things Egyptian. The Harlem Renaissance ushered in the Jazz Age; sleeveless dresses with shorter hemlines and sequin, bead, and fringe embellishment enhanced and enabled the fast-paced dance movements of the Charleston and Fox Trot. Fashion was also influenced by Art Deco, through the use of straight lines and geometric forms in both silhouette and decoration.
The twenties silhouette was straight and tubular, and dresses deemphasized female curves, breasts, and hips. Chemise dresses hung straight from the body and helped created this fashionable linear silhouette. The “flapper,” with her bobbed-hair and boyish silhouette, became the epitome of the fashionable look of the period. Hemlines rose, revealing more of the female leg for the first time in dress history, and shifting the focus to shoes for the first time.
During the period, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel popularized costume jewelry — as well as wool jersey suits. The cloche, a bell-shaped hat, was “the” hat to have. Small beaded purses and long beaded necklaces were popular accessories.