15 Iconic Looks To Dress Exactly Like in the 1920s Fashion

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The 1920s fashion decade, known as the ‘Roaring Twenties,’ was one of the most extravagant stylistic moments ever.

Inspired by the Edwardian period, fashion designers granted the 1920s fashion looks for special occasions rather than everyday wear.

With opulent evening dresses, button-down shirts with detachable collars, and shorter skirts in collegiate style, the Roaring 20s has a special place in the books of fashion history.

Whether attending a 1920s-themed party or wanting to achieve the iconic ‘Great Gatsby’ glamourous look, these are the 15 most representative looks of the 1920s fashion decade.




1. ‘La Garçonne’ Style Flapper Dress

1920s Fashion Flapper Dresses
Flapper Dresses

Named after flapper girls – the jazz-loving, unapologetic young Western women – the 1920s fashion flapper dress is one of the most recognizable silhouettes of that era.

Also known as garçonne (“boy” in French), the flapper dress features a straight and loose pattern, a dropped waist that ends right below the knee, and creeping hemlines.

A super popular look for women in the 1920s fashion catalogs, this evening staple was crafted from chiffon, velvet, and taffeta adorned with rhinestones, fringes, and intricate embroideries.

1920s Fashion Flapper Dresses
Flapper Dresses




Through collections centered around mixing feminine and masculine elements, prominent fashion designers like Coco Chanel and Paul Poiret gave the flapper dress a new level of style and acceptance.

The ideal 1920 women’s look included chic rouge and dark mascara makeup and many accessories like bangles, bracelets, drop earrings, and necklaces in rows of pearls.

Flappers wore crystal beaded headbands, relevant to the iconic Great Gatsby 1920s fashion looks.

2. Robe de Style

1920s Fashion The Robe de Style Dresses
The Robe de Style Dresses

While the 1920s flapper dress is synonymous with the twenties fashion decade, Jeanne Lanvin’s introduction of ‘robe de style’ dresses took the decade by storm.

The dress had a drop waist and a slim and close-fitting top, representative of the silhouettes women used to covet so much in the twenties.

It also featured a full, ankle-grazing skirt supported with petticoats, panniers, or hoops.

Inspired by eighteenth-century elegance, this feminine and romantic look was a great alternative to the straight-cut chemise dress.

1920s Fashion: The Robe de Style Dresses
The Robe de Style Dresses




The luxury and richness of the embellished fabrics, styled with silver hairpins and Cloche hats with eye-shading brims, were a match made in heaven.

Like many other women’s looks in those times, the dress was made from silk taffeta, velvet, satin, and sheer, lightweight fabric.

Overall, ruffles and pleats were added to the hips to create the illusion of a fuller silhouette.

3. Brimless Cloche Hat

1920s Fashion Brimless Cloche Hats
Brimless Cloche Hats

Designed in 1908 by milliner Caroline Reboux, the Brimless Choche hat style became a big part of the decade’s flapper ensemble.

Combined with a boyish hairstyle, the cloche hat in a tight-fitting bell-shaped chapeau was the ideal accessory to enhance and complete one’s looks.

1920s Fashion Brimless Cloche Hats
Brimless Cloche Hats




Most 1920s Cloche hats were crafted from felt, but straw variations that ended right above the eyes were also trendy.

An essential women’s fashion accessory, the Cloche hat was all about glamour, especially when sparkly brooches were added to augment the charm.

4. Knee-length Tennis Dress With Bandeau

1920s Fashion Knee-length Tennis Dress With Bandeau
Knee-length Tennis Dress With Bandeau

With tennis being the most popular sport of the 1920s, knee-length tennis dresses in traditional Preppy style were the primary choice as daywear apparel for high society women.

White sleeveless vests and knee-grazing pleated skirts in geometric patterns were at the top of the women’s trends.

1920s Fashion Knee-length Tennis Dress With Bandeau
1920s Knee-length Tennis Dress With Bandeau




Famous 1920s athletes like Suzanne Lenglen – the first fashion designer to create a tennis skirt – were wearing Jean Patou’s creations in bolder colors, off and on the court.

The popular ensemble included a white slip-over dress styled with cardigan sweaters, canvas shoes, and stockings.

The look became popular with American women thanks to Lenglen’s approach of wearing scarves tied bandeau-style during tennis matches.

5. Bob Cut Hairstyle

The 1920s Bob Cut Hairstyle
The 1920s Bob Cut Hairstyle

In the twenties, the hairstyle of most women was the “Shingles,” a v-shaped bob haircut covering the ears and ending at the nape of the neck.

The look became popular when ballroom dancer Irene Castle cut her hair in that style for convenience.

Shortly after, the bob cut became the decade’s symbol of independence for free-spirited women.

Many examples of 1920s Western fashion showcase women wearing cocktail dresses and flaunting finger waves with pride.

Bobby pins were also used to keep the chin-length bob in place, while some women would pin their long hair up to mimic a bob-cut style.

4. Silk Chemise Undergarments

1920s Fashion Silk Chemise Undergarment
Silk Chemise Undergarment of the 1920s

Inspired by the loose silhouettes worn by wealthy women of those times, fashion designers created comfortable day dresses previously classed as casual alternative undergarments.

1920s Fashion Silk Chemise Undergarment
1920s Silk Chemise Undergarment




In the 20s, silk chemise undergarments in popular colors featuring laces, floral embroidery, tulle, and ribbons replaced Preppy pleated skirts, corsets, and petticoats.

Also called “teddy,” the silk chemise lingerie featured a drawstring at the top and delicate crotch lace-edged hems that added to the chic vibe.

7. Wool Cardigan and Sweaters

1920s Fashion Wool Cardigan & Sweaters
Wool Cardigan & Sweaters; 1920s

Thanks to Coco Chanel’s unique styling ideas, wool cardigans and sweaters became, in the 20s, part of women’s daywear fashion.

Inspired by the knitted waistcoat of the Preppy subculture, the designer introduced relaxed-vibe knitwear named after James Thomas.

On the other hand, men’s looks included sporty tennis sweaters, colorful fair isle sweaters, and stiff and sturdy cardigans.

1920s Fashion Wool Cardigan & Sweaters
Wool Cardigan and Sweaters from the 1920s




Featuring a double-knit shawl collar and buttoned-up bust-high, wool sweaters were essential garments women loved to wear.

Cardigans and sweaters came in a vast range of colors, and by the second half of the decade, the V-neck style gained popularity.

For most high-society women, pleated skirts, sweaters, and cardigans with intricate embroidery were the outfit of choice.

8. Long Pearl Necklaces

1920s Long Pearl Necklace Jewelry
Coco Chanel wearing long pearl necklace jewelry in the 1920s

It is hard to imagine a Great Gatsby look without multiple pearl necklaces in many lengths, from 60 inches up.

In the 20s, rare and precious pearl necklaces were expensive and only available to the rich.

As an alternative, the fashion designers of those days began creating artificial pearls to satisfy consumers on a budget.

On several occasions, Coco Chanel was spotted wearing artificial pearl necklaces (made of glass).

For example, aristocrats and royals wore pearls to signify high class and nobility, and every woman started wearing them.

From High society to flapper girls, everybody adored and paired necklaces with pearl bracelets and drop earrings for their formal looks.

9. Wrap Fur Coats

1920s Fashion Wrap Fur Coat
Wrap Fur Coat in the 1920s fashion

Wrap fur coats in tan, brown, blue, black, and hue variations dominated the women’s looks during that decade.

Powerful symbols of class and luxury, fur coats were long and abundant, reaching well below the knee.

Shorter versions were available but in the same cocoon-like, cozy, and embracing long hair.

1920s Fashion Long Fur Coat
Long Wrap Fur Coats in the 1920s Fashion




Some fur coats had large and broad shoulders, while others had no shape or defined silhouette.

The most popular fur coats – also the most expensive – were crafted from sable, mink, caracal, beaver, and seal.

In comparison, the middle class had to stick with weasel, squirrel, skunk, and chinchilla fur.

10. Oxford Shoes and Newsboy Hats

1920s Fashion Oxford Shoes & Newsboy Hat
1920s Fashion Oxford Shoes and Newsboy Hat

A characteristic aspect of men’s fashion during those times was the sturdy but comfortable Oxford shoes.

The most popular footwear was the classic Oxfords and Wingtip Oxfords, sported as smart casual attire at collegiate Ivy League-style occasions.

The ‘newsboy cap’ was another staple in men’s fashion but for the working class.

1920s Fashion Oxford Shoes & Newsboy Hat
Oxford Shoes & Newsboy Hat in the 1920s Fashion




Men’s most common daywear look comprised trousers, a blazer layered under a waistcoat, a classic black tie, and a matching newsboy cap.

The gangster fashion style, popularized by Al Capone – a famous American mafioso – was another popular look for men.

The look was characterized by matching suits with Oxford shoes in different colors and caps in various patterns and fabrics.

11. Mary Jane Pumps

1920s Mary Jane Pump Shoes
Mary Jane Pump Shoes in the 1920s

While the closed-toe leather shoe was initially designed for kids, it became an iconic piece for women.

The classic kid’s version got a revamp with a higher heel and a few more straps required for dancing.

Mary Jane Pump Shoes in the 1920s Fashion
Mary Jane Pump Shoes in the 1920s




Popular evening shoes for women featured rhinestone buckles in statement silver.

On the other hand, Mary Jane’s pumps were made from black patent leather, ideal for dancing and city strolls – characteristic of the flapper girls.

12. Oxford Bag Pants

1920s Fashion Oxford Bags Pants
1920s Fashion Oxford Bags Pants

Made from flannel or similar lightweight fabrics, Oxford bag pants took over the men’s fashion sphere in the 1920s.

The style became popular when Oxford University undergraduates wore 22-inch wide-leg trousers pleated at the waist for functional reasons, as in Ivy League schools, knickers were banned in the classrooms.

As such, students constantly looked for comfortable garments and new ways of dressing in line with academic rigor.

1920s fashion 1920s Fashion Oxford Bags Pants
1920s Fashion Oxford Bags Pants




Paired with turtlenecks, cardigans, and sweaters, the wide-cut trousers became a staple amongst English aristocrats and Preppy fashionistas.

In time, different color variations (and plaid patterns) started to appear, such as pale pink, light blue, gray, and black.

13. Felt Hats and Bonnets

1920s 1920s Felt Hats & Bonnets
The 1920s Felt Hats & Bonnets

Along with the brimless cloche hats, felt hats and bonnets were essential women’s accessories.

In the 20s, wide-brimmed hats had round crowns and drooped downsides decorated with ribbons.

Broad straw hats trimmed with a sash of silk were the accessory of choice for yard work and casual strolls in the city on sunny days.

The hat was secured around the head, featuring a brim extending over the face.

14. Plus-fours Pants With High Socks

1920s Fashion Plus-fours Pants With High Socks
1920s Fashion Plus-fours Pants With High Socks

Plus-fours pants with high socks that extend 10cm (4 inches) below the knee were a considerable part of men’s country club attire.

The relaxed, baggy look caught the attention of the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII, who brought the trend to the US during his travels.

1920s Fashion Plus-fours Pants With High Socks
1920s Fashion Plus-fours Pants With High Socks




Loved by golfers and sportsmen, the trousers allowed for more freedom of movement than the traditional knee pants called knickers.

Plus-fours with pullover sweaters and high-knee argyle socks inspired by the aesthetic of the country club attire became part of the 20s golfer look.

15. Ostentatious Jewelry

1920s Jewelry
1920s bold Jewelry

The 1920s remains synonymous with flashy jewelry of faux pearls and long beaded necklaces.

Art Deco-style geometric jewelry was the new craze, with Jacques Cartier and Alfred Van Cleef leading the sartorial movement.

The flapper girls of the 20s and high-society women loved wearing gold and platinum settings adorned with diamonds and precious stones.

Every Great Gatsby outfit had ornate gem brooches, filigree rings, and earrings with long sparkling drops.

Equally, flapper dancers showcase exotic fashion tastes by wearing motifs of Egyptian jewelry like ringed bib necklaces featuring bells and snake bracelets.

Headbands and hair clips with rhinestones enhanced the bob cuts, giving women a fashionable, trendy vibe.




FAQs

The 1920s fashion flapper girl style with low-waisted dresses that ended right below the knee was the most significant trend of the era.

Bob cuts styled with brimless choche hats, multiple rows of pearls, and Art Deco jewelry were dominating women’s fashion.

Mary Jane shoes were the footwear of choice for Great Gatsby ensembles.

What do I Wear to a 1920s Party?

Tap into the Great Gatsby trend with a flapper dress with embellishments or fringes, or opt for long pearl necklaces, heels, and an extravagant headpiece to finish the look.

Try incorporating all the main elements of women’s fashion, like fringe, beading, gemstones, and feathers.

What did Women Wear in the 1920s?

20s fashion revolved around drop-waist dresses with a loose fit that ended below the knee, embellished eveningwear, Mary Jane heels, fur coats, and cloche hats.

High-society women loved preppy-style sporty tennis sweaters and cardigans.

How was Fashion Different in the 1920s?

1920s fashion was all about functionality and freedom of movement.

The over-the-top looks of the Edwardian era were replaced with comfortable dresses and loose-fitted lingerie.

Corsets were a thing of the past, and women adopted a free-spirited, fun-loving “anything goes” attitude with the rise of fashion flappers.




Key Takeaways

In the 20s, women’s fashion was about freedom of expression, glamour, and confidence.

After years of restrictive dressing, lower necklines, higher skirts, flapper dresses, bobbed hairstyles, pearls, and Art Deco jewelry were some of the most popular looks of those times.

Men’s looks were built around three-piece suits with wide lapels, Oxford shoes, Oxford bag pants or plus-four pants, and Newsboy hats for a gangster look.

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Professional Styling Advice

Are you looking to improve your fashion style and unsure where to start? Are you more into relaxed-casual, E-girlY2K, or VSCO looks, but fashion styles of the 20s resonate with you, and you wonder why?

Contact The VOU’s Style Experts to receive your free and personalized styling advice based on your current way of dressing, preferred outfits, colors, aesthetics, age, gender, body shape, location, and event you seek to attend.

Your dedicated stylist will meticulously select essential garments, footwear, and accessories to craft a wardrobe that complements and enhances your style.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to experience a transformative fashion adventure, all at no cost to you.

Konstantina Antoniadou is a seasoned writer focused on "green" innovation and sustainable technologies in the fashion industry. With almost ten years of expertise in media and publishing, Konstantina's articles have been published by leading digital fashion magazines in various languages, such as The VOU, Estro, Rewind Vintage Affairs, IndieGetUp, SustainablyKindLiving, and more.

Caroline Evans is a professor emeritus of fashion history and theory at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London, and a visiting professor at the Centre for Fashion Studies, Stockholm University. Caroline specializes in the history of 20th-century fashion and has written about the rise of streetwear in the 1980s and the trend's influence on contemporary fashion.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I love 1920-1940s movies, and it is a shame we don’t have much color from those times to admire their fashion taste and style. Great article, looking for more styles, please

  2. Brilliant article!! I really fancied all the ideas and love the 1920s look! I have a bob that I finger wave at times for fun when I dress in 1920s clothing that I collect.

    Cheers!

  3. I love the 1920-1930s movies or tv shows! The fashion is to die for, and the powerful music of sexy, lazy, and powerful jazz. Also great article, it was very informative.

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