Whenever you see a 1920s social scene depicted in the movies, the fashions jump out as exciting, fun and quirky. The 1920s was a time when men and women dressed so totally unique that it is easy to set the time frame of any period movie based on the fashions being used in the costumes. You had to think that the actors, the extras and the wardrobe departments making those movies certainly had a lot of fun with those outfits. And the things that makes 1920s costumes are fun is the accessories.
Maybe the best example of how accessories made a 1920s outfit take off is the flapper dress. The concept of a “flapper” is distinctively 1920s. At the time, it was used to talk about girls who boldly flaunted the sexual and social conventions and expressed themselves in ways that were outrageous at the time.
So the flapper outfit was similarly outrageous. The skirts were shorter than had been seen before the 1920s. The flappers hair was short and bobbed so it fit in with the flapper’s active lifestyle. But what was even more outrageous is that a classic flapper smoked openly in public, drove rather than waited for a man to drive and regarded sex as recreation. So in many ways, the word “flapper” was not necessarily complimentary.
The flapper lifestyle was all about parties, dancing and having fun. So to recreate a flapper outfit, both the dress and the accessories must express that 1920s attitude of having fun and being outrageous for the very fun of it. To start with, it is easy to find examples of flapper dresses online.
If you did want to create a flapper costume, that dress style will send the message without question. Of course, to buy an original flapper dress from that time frame would be too expensive and you probably would not want to wear such an heirloom. So look for a recreation of make one yourself. Just researching what how to make a flapper dress could be as much fun as wearing one.
But don’t go to your 1920s costume party and live out your fantasy to be a flapper for a night with just the dress. To flaunt your fashion 1920s style, its all about the accessories. A feather boa is a perfect accessory because you can “play with it” all night long. Feather boas are not hard to find and you can use them for dancing or just creating the right attitude by flinging it around your neck for effect anytime you want to during the evening.
1920s hairstyles for women were quirky and unique to the period. Many of the hairstyles were so short that they resembled men’s haircuts. This was intentional because it added to that sense of rebellion and a surge of expression of the woman’s identity in that decade. But to dress up for a 1920s party, you don’t need to cut your hair off. A 1920s wig is just the thing. You can go blond and add a bit of ditzy party girl to your “character”. Or to really be totally 1920s, use a jet-black 1920s wig that is combed back around the head. Androgynous, sheik, sexy and very fashionable in that 1920s way.
If the long feather boa is a fun accessory for your 1920s fashion flapper outfit, a long string of pearls is even more fun. They are great to play with or twirl while doing the Charleston or one of the other great 1920s dances. Obviously, fake pearls are the way to go and it is easy and inexpensive to find costume jewelry stores that can accommodate the need for this great 1920s accessory.
Finally don’t forget a long cigarette holder that you hold between your fingers and use as a prop when speaking to people. You don’t actually have to smoke to enjoy using this accessory as part of your outfit. All of these little extras will make your 1920s flapper costume take off. They are lots of fun to use throughout your evening celebrating the excitement that living in the 1920s must have been. It isn’t quite a good as a time machine. But its close enough.