During what’s become known as the flapper era, or the roaring 20s, women started to wear slim dresses — often with low necklines, high slit skirts, and silky and shimmering fabrics that were all about flaunting her assets.
Here’s a look back at some of the greatest examples of fashionable gowns and flapper-style dresses that would be at home on the set of a Great Gatsby movie.
Olive Borden in a glittering fringed & beaded ’20s dress
Star Clara Bow in a shiny winged flapper-style dress
Vintage actress Greta Nissen in a low-cut flapper dress
Aileen Pringle in a gauzy white dress with matching headwear
Leatrice Joy in a lacy white gown from the twenties
Silent movie actress Jobyna Ralston with a flower-embellished dress
About the fashionable fringe on ’20s dresses (from 1926)
The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California) March 10, 1926
The fringe dress is the very latest at Palm Beach for afternoon wear — a little dinner gown as well. So we just had to make a set of directions for you and tell you all about it, so that every little lady could have one for her wardrobe.
This fringe dress is not for anyone whose hips measure more than 36 or 38 inches around. The little miss and the little lady are going to have the advantage over their larger sisters in this particular frock, for it is really so simple to make and yet so effective that everyone will just love a new fringed dress.
It has a plain bodice, sleeveless and “V” shaped neckline, and the skirt is made of long fringe from the hips to the hemline. It is oh so simple, and yet so effective because it carries out the newest ideas of the mode and gives so many possibilities of individuality to the clever little lady to express her originality.
The color scheme, for instance, offers great variety. For evening, it can be made into a white frock with white fringe. Or any of the pastel shades are lovely for summer wear.
Here is an opportunity for shading and color combinations. The dress part, including the slip, may be of any of the pastel shades, and the fringe can be shaded from light to dark of the same color, or it may be any other pastel shade that would effect a clever combination. Black and white would be stunning—a white dress and black fringe or a black dress and white fringe.
The fringe can be put on in a double row, one longer than the other, to great advantage; or it may be cut in a point at the hem to further carry out the slenderizing effect of the ‘“V” at the neck and the line about the hips. Again, you might round the fringe at the bottom or even scallop it. There are unlimited possibilities.
Vintage star Alice Joyce in a white ’20s gown
Dorothy Sebastian of Alabama in a shiny, gauzy, revealing gown
The legendary Greta Garbo wanted to be let alone!
Barbara LaMarr in a shiny, silvery dress
Actress Betty Bronson wearing a vintage dress with a big satin bow
Silent film actress Ann Pennington in a short fringed dress
Famous silent movie star Gloria Swanson in a shiny sequined dress
Claudette Colbert in a lacy, tiered vintage dress
Aileen Pringle in a satiny vintage flapper dress from the ’20s
Clara Bow reclines in a flowing white lace gown in the 1920s
Dorothy MacKaill gets comfortable in a loose vintage satin dress
Classic movie stars Dorothy Sebastian, Joan Crawford & Anita Page
Evelyn Brent in a dark lacy gown with a plunging neckline
Star Aileen Pringle in a fringed vintage dress from the roaring twenties
Style tips for dresses – and trimmings – for stylish women in 1922
From Vogue, via the New York Herald (New York) June 4, 1922
The garden blossoms under the slowing sun of June, until the flowers, like ¢hose in Renoir’s famous “beau jardin” seem a single bouquet of a thousand colors.
Within the garden, like a butterfly, ethereal and hardly pausing in its flight, woman flit here and there among the shrubbery, seeking a shady corner where, alone with the dancing insects and the sky oft the blue of Chinese silk, she may read, dream, or idle in silence.
Who among the women who make the fashions can live in the country without finding in it a new opportunity to express herself in her costume, without wishing to wear in this freer and less formal life more personal and individual attire, new and exotic frocks which owe something to the new art, and in which she seems one more flower in the immense bouquet which surrounds her house?
The woman who spends much of her day in the sheltered park of some country estate, far from the chance gaze of casual passers-by, thus combines in her costume such harmonies of color and such beauties of line as are the dreams of the artist decorator.
Among the thin, cool frocks which Paris offers for summer days and nights, one may find the means to he both charming and comfortable even in midsummer, but that. of course, is not the whole story of the summer wardrobe.
One must think also of more formal costumes, of the needs which: may be met, perhaps, by gowns of light silks, or at least of occasions which require a somewhat more formal toilette, a fete at the casino or at some neigh. boring chateau, for example.
Enigma of a gown
The more one sees of frocks at present, the more one wonders what the autumn mode will be, for the women of fashion refuse to give any definite preference to any type of frock, while in one of the Paris houses which is at present attracting numbers of smart women, they are showing only patterned or flowered stuffs made in a fashion so unexpected that one can not tell where a frock begins or where it ends.
It seems a mere veil thrown about the body, a veil in which one is wrapped and which trails wings from the arms, but which gives the beholder no impression that it is either an afternoon gown or an evening gown. It is cut low without being really low, and is a veritable enigma of a gown, over which every woman of taste seems to be going mad at the moment.
Without doubt, it is the perfect dream of a gown for summer days. Who would not look slim and elegant in this flowered crepe of every color, or merely black and white, which seems to have required no cut at all, yet which must certainly have had a most skillful one to gown we) beautifully those who wear it.
These flowered or large-patterned fabrics seems indeed the loveliest and most satisfactory stuffs for summer frocks, but they must have hats to accompany them, and there lies the difficulty; for as the frock is a work of art, so must the hat be also. Reboux, the house to which the Parisienne so often turns in matters of special difficulty, even when she is not regularly a client there, is showing hats both large and small, as unusual and as charming as the frocks.
In the first place, the colors of the straws at this house suggest flowers and sunshine and all that is luminous and gay. and then there are the trimmings, such novel and effective touches as a red velvet ribbon bordered on one side with black lace, and on the other with white lace.
On a very large shape of brown straw, a twist of velvet of four brilliant colors encircles the hat, running high on the crown. Then there are casquette shapes, with the brim very short in the back and decidedly wide in the front. but having a movement quite different from that seen in somewhat similar hats two years ago, and rising perceptibly instead of coming down over the eyes.
Pompons of plumes rise very high at a single point, or it may be that a single quill runs to extreme length just in the middle of a shape with a square crown and almost invisible brim.
Large hat of beehive shape
One of the great successes of the season is a large hat of silk pleated to a “beehive” shape, and trimmed only with ai ribbon of the same color knotted at the side.
The little hat of black or natural color suede, closely fitting the head, in much worn with the tailleur or in the afternoon with a wrap which hides the formal tea frock. Reboux also makes the conventional toque, but usually in Pekin de satin or faille: it suggests the coiffure of the “Malade Imaginaire,” and is one of the most satisfactory of hats for windy days.
Among the springtime hats which might accompany these flowery frocks in a certain type of felt hat which has had a notable success in recent months by virtue of its novel and effective trimming. This trimming consists of flowers of wool in many colors, tossed like a shower of gillyflowers or marguerites on a shape of felt — blond, green or any color which may harmonize with the frock.
Another idea which could be adapted in many pleasing ways appeared in a large hat of white crin. The crown was entirely untrimmed, and the brim, soft, slightly drooping and unstiffened, was embroidered with green leaves, as if to suggest that the wearer had gathered them on her walk and dropped them lightly around the crin brim.
Paris sanctions honey-colored Georgette crepe for this type of tea frock, which drapes Its bodice and skirt softly toward the girdie buckle at the left side front. Dyed lace in the same flattering shade trims the entire left shoulder of the blouse and bands the unusual oval slash of the sleeves. If preferred, the sleeves may be cut short. The points of the skirt drapery might be faced with tangerine satin crepe.
Inspired by a past regime is a thin bouffant frock of Chinese yellow shot taffeta, with its snug, modishy long bodice, wide, scalloped skirt and interesting neckline. The Eugenie collar forms the low, curved bodice panel which lends a quaint line.
A nosegay of small tissue buds in contrasting and harmonizing colors is placed low on the left side. Self-bias bindings or narrow silver galloons are simple and effective trimmings, much recommended by the mode.
White is one of the season’s most important colors. The rather shallow V decollete of this white crepe evening dress is a note much emphasized at the moment. Black marcasite and diamond embroidery make the decorative girdle which is caught at the left side by a large jetted rose.
The overpanel of the skirt, lined with black chiffon, drops on the left side, forming one long pointed train. In the evening, frocks with and without sleeves appear. but for more formal occasions, there is a decided leaning toward the sleeveless model.
White crepe de chine makes this sub-debutante afternoon frock shown in the middle sketch. The skirt is entirely pleated, and the wide collar is made of white organdie, doubled, untrimmed, and tied with a ribbon knotted with long streamers. The exaggeratedly wide collar hides the short crepe sleeves.
All tones of beige gain in popularity as the season advances. At the upper right, the afternoon frock its made of dull crepe de chine, cafe au lait in color. Its long sleeves are of matching chiffon, joined to the crepe of the bodice by a very dull gold embroidery.
The gold buckle, which catches the drapery at the left side of the skirt, tones in with this embroidery, and finishes; the girdle, which is of the crepe, tucked lengthwise.