Decades.....Part I, 1920's-1940's
Everything has a genesis. For fashion, I believe that genesis was the 1920's. The 1920’s were when women started to get game. It was the time when women realized it was okay to bare your legs and go out dancing, and that’s just what they did. It was a perfect time to go out in a pretty dress and guzzle down champagne before hitting the dance floor. This era calls for a boyish figure, with small breasts, skinny arms, and slim hips. But don't despair, curvy wannabe flappers. These roaring wardrobe staples should flatter everyone.
#1 A knee-length or higher party dress.You can play with the waist, straps and neckline. In the 1920's, when dress makers realized that these types of dresses were becoming popular, they all hopped on the trend. I myself observe that flapper dresses are like snowflakes. No two are alike. You have v-neck, scoopneck, halters, square neck, spaghetti straps, thick strap, drop waist, empire waist. It's a whole realm of possibilities, which is good, because wannabe flappers come in all shapes and sizes.
There was a popular move in the 20's called the Charleston, a very strenuous dance move that required constant motion. Because they enjoyed the sound of the swishing and clacking of the beads, flappers would adorn themselves in long charm or bead necklaces. There was also the discovery of King Tut's tomb, which inspired the trend of Egyptian-style sandals, bracelets, and necklaces. You can make this stuff your own (it's the filling thing again) with different colors and textures.
Though this doesn't strictly apply to fashion, a flapper's constant accessory was a red lip and a smoky, kohl-rimmed eye.
Okay, so obviously you can't roll into work looking like an extra from a Rudolph Valentino film, so here's my crust for the 20's.
Go ahead, wear that party dress to work, just pair it with a blazer first. Add some flats, throw your hair into a bun, and you're good to go! Also, for makeup, choose one or the other. A smoky eye is safer, though.
If you're not working yet but want to show off your flapper-tude, don't despair, throw on some more casual touches, like a tee or a denim jacket or both. For an extra quirky touch, throw in some Converse!
Way #3-Casual Brunch/Dinner/Cocktails
I know how it goes. You want to be dressy, just not too much. When you get a call for something like that, weather depending, slip on a cardi and belt the look. If the weather is nicer just add a belt. Shoes are entirely up to you but at a restaurant/party, your best flats or a pair of heels may be best. Observe:
There you have it. Although there is on accessory you can't see that defined the 20's: Attitude. If you have the attitude to wear flapper gear to school no matter what the head cheerleader/workplace brownose/mother-in-law says, good for you.
The 1930's & 1940's
The Depression. WW II. And yet women still looked FABULOUS! It was time for those carefree flappers to roll up their sleeves, settle down and get a job, raise a family and what-have-you.
This was time that ladylike looks returned, minus corsets and stays. The flapper dresses that covered curves turned into flattering dresses that made room busts and hips. This good for all you curvy fashionistas out there.
A structured jacket, which were scooped up heavily after the appearance of Irene Dunn in Cimarron. These blazers can nip you in at precise points,to either slim or create point. Play with textures and colors.
A unique hat. The 1930's pretty much invented hats. Pick one with a veil, or flowers of some kind either kind will spice up your wardrobe.
Puffy sleeves. Even though women were entering the workforce, they still wanted to feel feminine. These cutesey-pootsy sleeves were born!
What I love about these two decades is the constant air of glamour. At school, work, or a casual brunch/dinner/cocktail party, these looks can get you through the day easily.
The hat, pearls, and the long dress are a bit matronly. For work, keep the pearls, but swap the dress for a tank and slacks or a pencil skirt.
In the hallway, styles that are too ladylike may make the guys (or girls, or whoever) think you're not interested. Show the skin and keep the vintage by shortening the dress, unbuttoning the blazer, and exchanging the heels for flats.
Way #3-Casual Brunch/Dinner/Cocktails
When you're trying to enjoy an appletini with the girls on Friday, a blazer may be too cumbersome. Instead go for something close in color to what you're wearing, but in a different texture, to avoid matchy-matchiness. Add a pretty, light scarf and some fun shoes and you're good to go!
Well, That was fun wasn't it. In the next few days, I'l be illustrating how you can dress as any decade, without looking like you're heading into a theme party.