Learn about Life in the 1920s

Follow the changes throught the decade as reported in these articles published in the fashion section of popular women's magazines.

Changing Fashion Styles Throughout the 1920s Decade

Ladies Home Journal, April 1923

Our Paris Office Cables: Many lines straight and skirts 12 inches to 14 inches from ground for young girls. Printed silk crepes lead; much georgette and some satin; tiny box plaits for skirts.

For an afternoon at the country club or a porch party the checked voile at the left of the group above is very smart. This is one of the fine French voiles in black and white, and its sole adornment is the almond green ribbon which forms its distinctive collar. A long loop, with end falling to the waistline, is fastened with a nacre buckle—mother-of-pearl is very popular in Paris this year. A small hat of Mussolini transparent straw has more loops of the almond ribbon, and another bit of nacre.


The pastel shades, which have long been accepted by the jeune fille for evening wear, are meeting with opposition this year. There is a noticeable increase in evening gowns of vivid coloring, and there seems to be a special penchant for metallic colors. The dinner dress above is of copper crepe de chine, with side pieces under the sleeveless bodice of gold metallic cloth. There are two other features to make this model a favorite, and they are the tiny bows and the two half flounces which are only in the front. These flounces are shirred to a band, placed one above the other like little aprons, and attached to the sides.

The straight frock of the center model hints of Lanvin and is a popular choice for an afternoon at the club or an informal dinner. It is of white silk jersey, the skirt depending for its fullness on set-in panels gathered at the sides. There is a cape swinging from the shoulders in back, on the bottom of which are bands of the heavy silk embroidery in blue and Tyrian rose. White moire ribbon forms the collar, with long ends hanging from a knot. The cubist handle of the parasol which protects the Suzanne Talbot hat of blue Italian timbo straw, with flowers and lining of blue taffeta, is so fascinating that it is apt to distract attention from the lovely sunshade. This is of blue taffeta with a band of hand-painted flowers on a beige-colored background.

Premet lends a slight variation to the plaited dress in the white crepe model at the right. For here, instead of the regular flat plaits, we find tiny ones pinched in, which give a distinctive air to this dinner or informal dance frock. The waist has slashed openings, and these are held in place at the neckline with tiny buttons of a brilliant blue. At the right of dress, in front, two flowers in their sharp silhouette and exquisite embroidery remind us of the descriptions of court robes seen in China at the recent wedding of the young emperor. On this frock one flower is embroidered in bright blue and the other in orange, and there is the inevitable bow of ribbon at the left side. This time the ribbon is of velvet, and matches the flowers. The tiny hat, designed by Suzy to be worn with this costume, is of blue picot straw, faced with blue taffeta, the sharp turn at the right held in by loops of blue and orange ribbon.

And so the jeune fille acquires the air of a cosmopolite in wearing these frocks of varied history.


Ladies Home Journal, September 1925

From Paris we hear that the flare is supreme. Its newest position, many experts say, is at the back of the skirt; others regard the back treatment as being on trial, with the decided advantage given to front and side flares. Certainly skirts are fuller. Gathers and godets, plaits and released tucks all help in giving us this nice freedom. Even the coats are apt to have a deftly maneuvered flounce, which increases the hem line without seriously interfering with the slim appearance. Varied indeed are the belted effects at the hips, as witness these pages. We observe, too, that the vestee offers a wide selection of contrast both in material and color, and so popular is this feature that it appears even in V-necked dinner gowns. In hats there is a tendency toward slightly higher crowns, many of them rounded. Small brims that roll at the sides, in the back or at the front are all much liked, and Paris designers continue to stress the tiny close-fitting hat, cut close in the back. Velours are seen everywhere, plain or combined with grosgrain or velvet, and felts, too, have much to say for themselves.

THREE things they have in Common—these smart French clothes: sleeves that are long and close-fitting, skirts that carry the burden of interest and of trimming, and a collar treatment that is either high or cut close to the base of the throat. Remember this triad, and your fall costume will be a success.

And when you begin looking for that costume, note that never have cloth dresses been more popular; tweeds and homespuns and mixed jerseys for sports wear, and for general wear the smooth twills, reps and lusterless broadcloths.

In this group is Lelong's coat at upper left—a fine, black, duvetyn-like material, seal trimmed, with a quilted lining of fuchsia satin. The points continue around the entire coat and are about hip-depth.

In approved bolero manner is Martial and Armand's black satin frock next to it. The printed silk, set in back, is red and gold, and this also edges the white satin collar.

Yvonne Davidson adorns a henna jersey frock—third from left on page 58—with brass buttons and a brass buckle. The circular godets are held in at the side panels. Particularly noteworthy is the position of the inverted plait on the Premet frock—page 58—of rosy beige kasha, with tiers on skirt overlapping at front, and the same effect repeated in the surplice closing of bodice. A vestee of tucked white muslin ends in a standing collar.

Ladies Home Journal, February 1927


Our Paris Office Cables:

—that the general silhouette for spring remains straight and simple, with more tiers, boleros and plaited effects than ever.

—that the sports mode still rules the world of daytime clothes and the smartest of the general wear coats are sports type.

—that skirts are as short as ever; waist-lines at top of hips; sleeves long, except in tennis frocks; necks V, square or bateau.

—that the close-fitting belt around top of hips is almost universal for both day and evening, whether bodice blouses or not.

—that wool or silk-and-wool makes some of the newest daytime frocks, with the kasha, crepe and reps family prominent. Georgette and chiffon, often in small, old-fashioned calico prints, checks, plaids or flowers, are new for evening.

——that the compose idea is prominent, in both frocks and suits, and the cardigan jacket, in cloth, jersey or velveteen, is very smart for sports.

—that Shetland, Angora or wool jersey frequently makes the blouse, and crepella, crepe de chine or heavy wool cloth the skirt, of a chic jumper dress.

—that blue leads the spring color range—light blue for the young girl and all shades—especially the ocean blues with a greenish cast—for the grown-up.

On this page, the simple harmonious lines of the dresses are echoed in correct coiffures. At extreme left, the hair fallows the lines of the head, with only the flattest of knots at neck. On the next two figures, simple, unadorned bobs add a charming air of youth; while the third carries out the lines of the frocks.

Ladies Home Journal, September 1929


1196—"Bristol," by Jenny, a town frock in soft blue wool or crepe marocain, the blouse cut in a bolero effect, with an inset vest of white georgette matching the cuff bands of the flaring sleeve. The skirt has a circular cut with two inset box pleats in the front, and buttons at either side of the yoke. Designed for ages 14 to 20, and for sizes 32 to 40. 1218—" Parisienne," by Jenny, trims navy-blue crepe marocain with varicolored bands which may be of bias crepe de chine, grosgrain ribbon or braid. The color appears at the neck line, above the inset circular sleeve sections and as a heading for the inset circular section of the skirt. Designed for ages 14 to 20, and for sizes 32 to 38. 1198—" Fraicheur," by Worth, was created in his smart gray crepe with apricot collar. The waist is high, with fitted hip line composed of many hands. The diagonal yoke and pointed cuffs are extremely new. Designed for ages 14 to 20, and for sizes 32 to 38.

THE dresses and costumes contributed by Jenny, Worth, Lanvin and Jane Regny to the wardrobe of the smart American woman for this fall reemphasize various points made in the fashion editorial on Page 37.

For instance, the return to prominence of the three-piece suit—the blouse tucked inside the skirt—and in particular of the double-breasted jacket with notched collar and revers. Reps and blue serges, which are increasingly mentioned in Paris, as well as very heavy flannel, for more informal wear, are particularly good for the suits. The light navy blue so much mentioned for this fall is also featured in these suits. The smartest blouses for wear with them are of very mannish type in colors, especially in combination with navy, pink—in cottons for early fall wear, in silks for later days. With such suits, our Paris office cables, the smart French woman wears a silver fox, such as is shown on page 50, slung across the shoulder.

It is amusing to notice that Jenny's 1196, at the upper left, also reflects the importance of the tuck-in blouse, while still remaining a dress. Worth's 1198 emphasizes the high waistline and fitted hip band, and Jenny's 1197 was designed in blond crepe marocain, fitting it particularly for wear with the new light fur coats later on in the winter.

Ladies Home Journal, April 1931


Schiaparelli—No. 1646. An excellent model for spectator sports and wear about town is this printed shantung suit sketched at the left above. The frock has a fascinating yoke which forms a softly crushed girdle, tying in the back. The scarf collar, which is so typical of Schiaparelli's smartest sports clothes, is used to good effect in this ensemble. The coat has slashes in front through which the scarf of the dress is drawn and tied, holding the coat together at the neckline. Designed for ages 14 to 20, sizes 32 to 40.

Schiaparelli—No. 1647. This three-piece sports suit is one of the cleverest models we have seen this season. It was originally made of pink jersey with a blouse of fine blue-dotted linen which does tricky things. The scarf may be tied close at the throat, or allowed to pass through the slits in the skirt; and the blouse may be opened in the back to permit sun bathing. We think this suit would be tremendously smart in black and white as well as pastel shades. Designed for ages 14 to 20, sizes 32 to 42.



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