Flappers first appeared in Europe after the conclusion of World War I. The name flapper comes from the unbuckled galoshes young women began wearing that flapped when they walked. The flapper style and attitude was a direct result of both young men and women breaking out of the usual societal roles during the war. Men adopted an attitude of living life to the fullest because of the stress and casualty from the war. Women went to work in factories and adopted patriotic attitudes while the men were overseas.
The flapper drastically changed women's fashion by rejecting most common elements of women's fashion such as the corset. Hair was shortened to a bob, shingle, or Eton and clothes were made lighter as a rejection to the previous fashion which was difficult to move around in. Women wanted to participate in the jazz dances that were become popular.
Coco Chanel entered the fashion scene making women's clothes look more like men's clothes. Women would tightly bind their chests with strips of cloth in order to have a flatter appearance. The flapper look is clearly identifiable. Women would wear dresses that had a waistline at the hips, again to minimize and curvature of the body. They wore nylon stockings folded over garter belts.
It is the flapper that brought hem lines up. By the later 20s, hem lines had risen to just below the knee. With the lightness of dress at the time, this meant that quite often, a knee would show. Whether on purpose or by accident, it was considered to be quite revealing to see a woman's knee in public. To complete the outfit, flappers often worse a cloche, a felt, bell shaped hat, with curls on either side of her face sticking out from under the hat. She also wore make-up such a rouge, scarlet red lipstick, and dark circles around her eyes. The intention was not natural beauty but a heavily made up artificial effect.
Flappers were young, risky, and brazen. They were reckless and sexually promiscuous. They were know for their almost tactless truthfulness. Women began to smoke cigarettes, even in public, and drink alcohol. The past time of choice was dancing. Flappers brought about the Charleston, Shimmy, and Black Bottom, all dances which were considered to be shocking and inappropriate by the older generations. Cars were becoming popular and feed the fast-paced lifestyle the flappers desired. Cars also gave flappers a new location to flaunt their sexuality.
Flappers are credited with the development of the modern woman.
The flapper dress routinely pops up on runways and in magazines. Why has this staple of the Roaring Twenties continue to stay in style?
If you covet the look of 1920's makeup, learn how to recreate the faces of Roaring Twenties women.