Fashion in 1921

Fashion in 1921 DEFAULT

1921 Vintage 1920's Fashions including Frocks, Dresses, Capes, Blouses, and Skirts

  • Regatta Blouse 1921 Regatta Blouse
    Price: $2.29 - $2.48

    This popular co-ed middy is made of Lonsdale jean cloth. Collar and two-button non-rip placket cuffs trimmed with braid. This middy can be worn with middy band down. Choose from all white, white with blue collar and cuffs, or white with red collar and cuffs.

  • Silk Crepe Blouse 1921 Silk Crepe Blouse
    Price: $3.79

    An extremely stylish and dressy all silk Crepe de Chine slip-on over-blouse at a surprisingly low price. Front is handsomely embroidered with chenille in pleasing color combinations. Choose from navy blue, bisque tan, white, or flesh colors.

  • Silk Taffeta Dress 1921 Silk Taffeta Dress
    Price: $10.95

    A dressy little frock of good quality all silk taffeta, appropriate for most any function. The price asked is remarkably low for a garment of this quality. The striking feature of this dress is the beautiful embroidery in an exclusive Egyptian design, which is applied very artistically. Vestee of contrasting color silk crepe de chine extending just below the belt, gives the so much desired long waisted effect. Small metal buttons are used as a finishing touch. Invisible front closing.

  • Young Men's Suits 1921 Young Men's Suits
    Price: $19.95 - $22.45

    Dark gray or dark green mixture all wool cassimere in this style, a model that is always in good taste. Nothing fancy about it, but thoroughly up to date, sensible and dressy in every way. Medium weight. Semi-formfitting coat has shapely soft roll half peaked lapels and hook vent in back.

  • Sport and Work Suit 1921 Sport and Work Suit
    Price: $6.48 - $11.75

    Two-piece suit for hiking, riding, camping, motorcycling, and general outdoor wear. Coat is Norfolk style with all around belt and two patch pockets with flap which button. The breeches are reinforced at seat and inner side of legs. They lace at calves, as illustrated above. Usual pockets and belt loops. Well made and strongly sewed throughout.

  • Women's Blouse 1921 Women's Blouse
    Price: $2.48

    This dainty little waist is made of silk Georgette crepe and is very elaborately trimmed with embroidery in harmonizing colors. Choose from navy blue, white, flesh, or bisque tan.

  • Women's Skirt 1921 Women's Prunella Cloth Skirt
    Price: $4.39

    This particularly stunning skirt is fashioned in the popular part wool Prunella cloth, a firmly woven fabric, which is about fifty percent wool and the balance cotton. The pattern is new and beautiful, and a very pleasing effect is produced by the varied color stripes which show when the box plaits open. Belt has button trimming.

  • Sours:


    Much has been written about 1920s fashion, and for good reason. It is easily one of the most influential, creative and unique epochs in modern fashion history.

    After World War I, the fashion landscape shifted like tectonic plates. Once reserved for aristocrats and the affluent, high fashion had taken a noticeably more attainable turn, allowing middle class men and women in on the fun. Some luxurious textiles were finally affordable, making it possible for fashionable items to be created at home. In the 1920s it was still quite common for clothes to be handmade.

    Designers and homemakers alike were throwing caution to the wind, trying daring new styles just to see what they could get away with. In this instance, I’m speaking of young, stylish city women. Many women who lived in rural areas wore nearly the same as their mothers.

    There were very different types of people converging at once in the 1920s from many different walks of life. Some were desperate for change, others wanted nothing to do with it.

    The most stunning thing you will notice about 1920s fashion is the shape of the silhouette. It is strikingly straight and flat. While most fashions accentuate the figure in some way or another, it almost seemed like, at times, any shape other than straight was a big no-no. This straight shape is a very distinct element of 1920s style.

    Before we dive into all of the pictures we have below, what are some basic elements of the 1920s wardrobe?

    • Felt Hats & Bonnets
    • Fur Coats
    • Wool Sweaters
    • Silk Flat Crepe Dresses
    • Bow Pumps
    • Short Sport Jacquettes
    • Custom Tailored Suits
    • Fedora & “Newsboy” Hats

    1920s Hats & Headwear

    What type of hats did women wear in the 1920s?Headwear was a vital part of the fashionable woman’s outfit. There several styles seen, some styled almost like bonnets, while others were very close fitting, called Felt Helmets. Many hats were adorned with silk roses, ribbons, buckles, pins, feathers and more. Some had a ribbon loop on the side, others were velvet with gold lace trim. The style variations were endless.

    A very chic and youthful looking hat could be close-fitting with a fashionable pieced crown pulled softly to the back. The narrow off-the-face brim was finished with rows of stitching. The smart ostrich fancy on the side was of two shades and finished with grosgrain ribbon. Other styles might feature a high crown fashioned of velvet with an off-the-face flange that was outlined with dainty plush flowers. The band and flange facing was made of silk satin.

    Larger hats were better at making the wearer the center of attention. The crown was effectively trimmed with tubular stitching and the semi-poke brim faced with taffeta. It was a hat so spectacular it had to be seen to be truly appreciated. The designer had used the velvet flower and grosgrain ribbon as well as band and bow ends. Hats like these were featured quite prominently in exclusive New York fashion shops, costing twice as much as most other hats.

    While women’s hats varied greatly in style, men’s hats were the opposite. For the most part, men wore black, blue or some shade of brown. Their hats were typically made of felt and were the same collegiate style you see in every 1920s period movie you’ve ever seen. If it wasn’t a fedora-style hat, then it was a wool, snap-front newsboy hat. This lack of variety makes sense; it was not common for men at the time to be wildly flamboyant.

    Coats & Outerwear

    1920s FashionWhat type of coats did women wear in the 1920s? Coats were usually made of somewhat subdued colors, browns and dark blues, and were often covered with large buttons. Furs and fur trimming was wildly popular. Just about any animal imaginable was available to line the inside of a coat or to serve as a warm collar.

    In the early 1920s, bows weren’t necessary prominent features on women’s coats, but by the mid twenties, Paris had cabled the world to let them know: bows are in. Depending on the budget, a woman would generally choose between wool velour and fur. A particularly nice coat might be made of all-wool Venise Bolivia, with a Paris bow and buckle that fastened in front of the left hip.

    While many coats were long, stretching below the knee, a shorter coat was also in fashion. Short sport jacquettes were quite popular for their convenience and functionality. Coney fur in a natural tan shade, or dyed in silverine shade (silver/gray blended with dark markings) was a popular choice for this coat. Another popular shade was called Muskratine, which was dyed in a tan shade with brown markings to closely resemble the natural muskrat.

    One could write a book on all of the varieties of 1920s coats and surely more detail will arrive here eventually. The staggering myriad of styles, fabrics and prices gave women unprecedented options when it came to overcoats.

    Men wore fur coats for dress and for sport. In the mid-1920s, a man could do no better than to spend $42.75 on a warm, genuine black pony fur coat. It was tailored in the popular collegiate style, featuring durable yoke lining of high quality sateen and an all-wool plaid cheviot. It was double breasted and had snug wristlets to keep the wind out.

    Other men would be smart to wear a fur-lined Ulster made of Holmes St. George all-wool Black Kersey. The body lining was made of black Manchurian Wolf Dog. The sateen sleeve lining was quilted. These coats were extremely well made and were meant to last for several years.

    And while men may not have had as many options as women, men still had an amazing amount of fabrics and furs to choose from. Men also wore leather jackets called Horsehide Windbreakers. They were the precursor to WWII bomber jackets.


    What type of sweaters did women wear in the 1920s? Wool sweaters were very popular throughout the 1920s. They came in various colors, but maroon and navy were very popular choices. Some had buttons down the front, others had belts and wide collars.

    Best for year-round sports, the all-wool shaker knit-coat sweater had pockets knitted in. The less expensive versions had pockets that were sewn on. It buttoned up bust-high, with a double-knit shawl collar. The more expensive version had a fur collar sewn on.

    Cardigans were in high demand. They were typically all-wool, double knitted and came in a huge range of colors. They could have anywhere between 3-6 buttons, with or without pockets.

    Silk handkerchiefs, scarves and gloves were popular accessories. Make-up was very heavy on some women and not on others. Hair styles evolved drastically during this period. By about 1926, the style now known as “Flapper” began to take hold and many women were trimming their hair short and wearing it very close to their heads.


    What type of dresses did women wear in the 1920s? Dresses came in all kinds of colors and shapes, but a very common dress seen in the late 1920s was a thin, loose silk dress with a thin belt around the waist with similar colored, delicate embroidery on the chest. The hemline wandered up and down, some women loved showing leg, others didn’t. Fortunately in the 1920s, designers catered to all different tastes.

    The youthful looking frock of all silk flat crepe was made of contrasting color, hand embroidered Georgette crepe to match the narrow cuffs which are also trimmed. A square neckline was particularly chic with a jeweled pin and bow of self material. It also included a shirring across the front.

    Another modern style was the two-piece effect. These sport dresses could be worn as a suit when weather permitted. The attractive all-wool tweed model had a long vestee and collar of a harminizing shade of flannel. The skirt had pleats stitched partly down.

    In New York women wore rayon crepe frocks year round because it was rich looking, but more affordable than silk. These dresses were designed on the straight, simple, yet distinct, lines. For daytime frocks, nothing was more luxurious than the lustrous all-silk Charmeuse.


    What type of shoes did women wear in the 1920s? Women didn’t have nearly as many choices when it came to footwear. Shoes from the 1920s were often laced up past the ankle, with a relatively tall heel. Day-to-day shoes were more practical, with a smaller heel. Some shoes came in brightly colored patterns, but most women wore black or brown leather shoes.

    One popular style was the buckle pump. Made over a stylish medium round toe in black patent leather, the shoe had an antique silver finished buckle, which concealed an elastic gore, making adjustment easy. A dressier look would be the stunning loop strap, that was made from Autumn Brown mesh leather trimming on the vamp and quarter. The light-colored leather quarter was carefully made not to soil hosiery and they had a spike heel.

    Women also loved Parisian Step-In Bow Pumps, made of “lizard-effect” leather, smartly perforated for breathability, with a covered Cuban heel.

    Men’s 1920s Fashion

    What type of clothing did men wear in the 1920s? While women’s fashion was busy breaking new ground, men’s fashion stayed relatively unchanged. Men in the 1920s wore suits with hats into town and flannel at home. He liked boots and long overcoats. Dress shirts were often lightly colored or white, with or without collar.

    Sometimes a man would substitute the dress coat for a flannel lumberjack, while still wearing a shirt and tie underneath. This was for a more casual look.

    For the man who was looking to impress, a hat was a smart look, and even a cane could add a bit more sophistication. To go even further, he would have an $80 14k gold pocket watch, a bow tie, black shoes and a fitted vest. Custom tailoring was very important, suits needed to be sized perfectly.

    At home, the 1920s man would change into his lounge coat, or smoking jacket. It was a soft, long, loose fitting robe that came in all different patterns and fabrics. In the winter, 1920s men loved ribbed sweaters of the button down and v-neck variety.

    Want to learn more about 1920s fashion? Check out our huge collection of pictures below.

    In-Depth 1920s Fashion Profiles

    1920s Women Fashion

    1920s Fashion: Women & Girls »

    For nearly one hundred years, 1920s women's fashion has been known as one of the most glamorous and innovative periods in modern fashion history.

    1920s Men's Fashion

    1920s Fashion: Men & Boys »

    Fashion for men in the 1920s was not known for its individualism, but the lack of individuality certainly didn't equate to a lack of elegance and design.

    Women’s Fashion from 1920s Catalogs


    Men’s Fashion from 1920s Catalogs


    1. Water clone jutsu
    2. Amazon machine learning books
    3. Mcgregor vs holloway

    1920s in Western fashion

    Clothing in the 1920s

    Canadian Home Journal, 1920
    Brazilian women salute Belgian monarchs on their arrival in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. 2 October 1920
    A drawing picturing French women's fashion, c.1921
    Tennis player, Australia 1924

    Western fashion in the 1920s underwent a modernization. For women, fashion had continued to change away from the extravagant and restrictive styles of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, and towards looser clothing which revealed more of the arms and legs, that had begun at least a decade prior with the rising of hemlines to the ankle and the movement from the S-bend corset to the columnar silhouette of the 1910s. Men also began to wear less formal daily attire and athletic clothing or 'Sportswear' became a part of mainstream fashion for the first time. The 1920s are characterized by two distinct periods of fashion: in the early part of the decade, change was slower, and there was more reluctance to wear the new, revealing popular styles. From 1925, the public more passionately embraced the styles now typically associated with the Roaring Twenties. These styles continued to characterize fashion until the worldwide depression worsened in 1931.


    After World War I, the United States entered a prosperous era and, as a result of its role in the war, came out onto the world stage. Social customs and morals were relaxed in the optimism brought on by the end of the war and the booming of the stock market. Women were entering the workforce in record numbers. In the United States, there was the enactment of the 18th Amendment, or as many know it, Prohibition, in 1920. Prohibition stated that it would be illegal to sell and consume alcohol. This lasted until 1933, so it was a constant for the whole 1920s era. They instilled this "noble experiment" to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene. The nationwide prohibition on alcohol was ignored by many resulting in speakeasies. Another important amendment in the United States was the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. There was a revolution in almost every sphere of human activity. Fashion was no exception; women entered the workforce and earned the right to vote, and they felt liberated. Fashion trends became more accessible, masculine, and practical, creating the emergence of "The New Woman". Flappers was a popular name given to women of this time because of what they wore. The constrictive corset, an essential undergarment to make the waist thinner, became a thing of the past.[1]

    The development of new fabrics and new means of fastening clothing affected fashions of the 1920s. Natural fabrics such as cotton and wool were the abundant fabrics of the decade. Silk was highly desired for its luxurious qualities, but the limited supply made it expensive. In the late 19th century, "artificial silk" was first made in France, from a solution of cellulose. After being patented in the United States, the first American plant began production of this new fabric, in 1910. This fiber became known as rayon. Rayon stockings became popular in the decade as a substitute for silk stockings. Rayon was also used in some undergarments. Many garments before the 1920s were fastened with buttons and lacing. However, during this decade, the development of metal hooks and eyes meant that there were easier means of fastening clothing. Hooks and eyes, buttons, zippers, and snaps were all used to fasten clothing.

    Vastly improved production methods enabled manufacturers to easily produce clothing affordable by working families. The average person's fashion sense became more sophisticated. Meanwhile, working-class women looked for modern forms of dress as they transitioned from rural to urban careers. Taking their cue from wealthier women, working women began wearing less expensive variations on the day suit, adopting a more modern look that seemed to suit their new, technologically focused careers as typists and telephone operators.[2]

    Although simple lines and minimal adornment reigned on the runways, the 1920s were not free of luxury. Expensive fabrics, including silk, velvet, and satin were favored by high-end designers, while department stores carried less expensive variations on those designs made of newly available synthetic fabrics. The use of mannequins became widespread during the 1920s and served as a way to show shoppers how to combine and accessorize the new fashions. The modern fashion cycle, established in the 1920s, still dominates the industry today. Designers favored separates in new fabrics like jersey that could be mixed and matched for work and modern, informal, un-chaperoned social activities like attending films or the theater and car rides.[2]

    Women's wear[edit]

    Bellas Hess and Company advertise detail, 1920
    By early 1920s, most women not dared to bob their hair, so they pinned up to look shorter. Mlle Cayet, Queen of Parisian Carnival, 1922
    Between 1922 and 1923, the waistline dropped to the hips. The 1920s classic tubular fashion was born. Parisian fashion house Madeleine-et-Madeleine design, January, 1922.

    Paris set the fashion trends for Europe and North America.[3] The fashion for women was all about letting loose. Women wore dresses all day, everyday. Day dresses had a drop waist, which was a belt around the low waist or hip and a skirt that hung anywhere from the ankle on up to the knee, never above. Daywear had sleeves (long to mid-bicep) and a skirt that was straight, pleated, hank hem, or tiered. Hair was often bobbed, giving a boyish look.[4]

    Clothing fashions changed with women's changing roles in society, particularly with the idea of new fashion. Although society matrons of a certain age continued to wear conservative dresses, the sportswear worn by forward-looking and younger women became the greatest change in post-war fashion. The tubular dresses of the 'teens had evolved into a similar silhouette that now sported shorter skirts with pleats, gathers, or slits to allow motion. The most memorable fashion trend of the Roaring Twenties was undoubtedly "the flapper" look. The flapper dress was functional and flattened the bust line rather than accentuating it.[1]

    The straight-line chemise topped by the close-fitting cloche hat became the uniform of the day. Women "bobbed", or cut, their hair short to fit under the popular hats, a radical move in the beginning, but standard by the end of the decade. Low-waisted dresses with fullness at the hemline allowed women to literally kick up their heels in new dances like the Charleston. In 1925, "shift" type dresses with no waistline emerged. At the end of the decade, dresses were being worn with straight bodices and collars. Tucks at the bottom of the bodices were popular, as well as knife-pleated skirts with a hem approximately one inch below the knee.[5]

    In the world of art, fashion was being influenced heavily by art movements such as surrealism. After World War I, popular art saw a slow transition from the lush, rectilinear abstractions of art nouveau decoration to the more mechanized, smooth, and geometric forms of art deco. Elsa Schiaparelli is one key Italian designer of this decade who was heavily influenced by the "beyond the real" art and incorporated it into her designs.

    Proper attire for women was enforced for morning, afternoon, and evening activities. In the early part of the decade, wealthy women were still expected to change from a morning to an afternoon dress. These afternoon or "tea gowns" were less form-fitting than evening gowns, featured long, flowing sleeves, and were adorned with sashes, bows, or artificial flowers at the waist. For evening wear the term "cocktail dress" was invented in France for American clientele. With the "New Woman" also came the "Drinking Woman". The cocktail dress was styled with a matching hat, gloves, and shoes. What was so unique about the cocktail dress was that it could be worn not just at cocktail hours (6 and 8pm), but by manipulating and styling the accessories correctly could be worn appropriately for any event from 3 pm to the late evening. Evening gowns were typically slightly longer than tea gowns, in satin or velvet, and embellished with beads, rhinestones, or fringe.[2]


    One of the key accessories in the 20s was the Cloche hat. "In 1926 Vogue stated 'The Bob Rules', just 9 years after the influential dancer, Irene Castle, cut her hair. This trending topic inspired a 1920 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, called Bernice Bobs Her Hair, and many editorials in Vogue throughout the decade."[6] The bob hairstyle matched perfectly with the loose and straight silhouette of the times. During this era Vogue gave credit to this new cut for the immense success of the hat business. New haircuts meant new styled hats, therefore there was a new craze for hats. The cloche hat and the bob were basically made for each other.

    Jewelry was less conspicuous.[7] Jewelry was much less elaborate, and began using 'romantic', more natural shapes. The Art Nouveau movement of 1890-1910 inspired most of the natural forms and geometric shapes of the jewelry during the 1920s. "Aesthetic clean lines were inspired by designs found in industrial machines. A key influence of this modernism was the influential Bauhaus movement, with its philosophy of form following function. Contrasting textures and colour were also in fashion. Examples of changing tastes in design were the use of diamonds being set against onyx or trans lucid vitrines and amethysts juxtaposed against opaque coral and jade."[8] Even though geometric shapes and cleaner shaped jewelry were now a trend, one of the key pieces was the long rope pearl necklace. The long rope pearl necklace was a signature faux piece that was sold everywhere at the time. It was inexpensive and basic in a woman's wardrobe. "Although buffeted by cycles of boom, depression and war, jewelry design between the 1920s and 1950s continued to be both innovative and glamorous. Sharp, geometric patterns celebrated the machine age, while exotic creations inspired by the Near and Far East hinted that jewelry fashions were truly international."[9]

    Shoes were finally visible during the 1920s. Before, long garments covered up shoes, so they weren't an important part of women's fashion. Now, shoes were seen by everyone and played an important part during the 1920s. Women had all kinds of shoes for all kinds of events. Everything from house shoes, walking shoes, dancing shoes, sporting shoes, to swimming shoes. The shoe industry became an important industry that transformed the way we buy shoes today. Shoes were made in standard sizes perfect to order from fashion catalogs to the near boutique. In the beginning of the 1920s, Mary Janes were still popular from previous era, although they paved the way for the invention of many other shoes. The T-strap heel was a variation of the Mary Jane, having the same base with the addition of a strap going around the heel and down to the top of the shoe that looked like a T. Also, "The bar shoe which fastened with a strap and a single button became popular during the 1920s. It was worn with the new short skirts and was practical for their vigorous style of dancing."[10]

    The influence of jazz[edit]

    "The Jazz Age", a term coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was a phrase used to represent the mass popularity of jazz music during the 1920s.[11] Both jazz music and dance marked the transition from the archaic societal values of the Victorian era to the arrival of a new youthful modernistic society. Jazz gained much of its popularity due to its perceived exoticism, from its deep African roots to its melodic and soulful rhythm. The music itself had quite an alluring effect on the new youthful society and was considered to be the pulse of the 1920s due to its spontaneity. With new music emerged new dancing. Jazz dances, such as the Charleston, replaced the slow waltz. Paul Whitman popularized jazz dance. In fact, jazz music and dance are responsible for the origin of the iconic term "flapper", a group of new socially unconventional ladies. When dancers did the Charleston, the fast movement of the feet and swaying of the arms resembled the flapping movements of a bird.[11] Jazz music sparked the need to dance, and dance sparked the need for new clothing, especially for women to easily dance without being constricted.

    Dances such as the Charleston and the Black Bottom in particular created a need for a revival in women's evening wear due to the dynamic and lively manner of these jazz dances. Dress and skirt hems became shorter in order to allow the body to move more easily. In addition, decorative embellishments on dresses such as fringe threads swung and jingled in sync with the movement of the body. Lastly, the use of glossy and ornate textiles mirrored light to the tempo of jazz music and dance.[12] Jazz music and its perceived exotic nature had both a flamboyant influence on fashion while keeping both form and function in mind.

    Jazz and its influence on fashion reached even further, with both jazz and dance motifs making their way onto textiles. These new textile designs included uneven repetitions and linear geometric patterns. Many textile patterns produced in the United States also incorporated images of both jazz bands and people dancing to jazz.[13] The print Rhapsody shows a textile produced in 1925 representing a jazz band in a polka-dot like manner.[14] Not only did textiles take motifs of people dancing and playing jazz music, they included designs that were based on the overall rhythmic feel and sound of jazz music and dance.

    The boyish figure[edit]

    Undergarments began to transform after World War I to conform to the ideals of a flatter chest and more boyish figure. The female figure was liberated from the restrictive corset, and newly popular the boyish look was achieved through the use of bust bodices. Some of the new pieces included chemises, thin camisoles, and cami-knickers, later shortened to panties or knickers. These were primarily made from rayon and came in soft, light colors in order to be worn under semi-transparent fabrics.[15] Young flappers took to these styles of underwear due to the ability to move more freely and the increased comfort when dancing to the high tempo jazz music. During the mid-1920s, all-in-one lingerie became popular.

    For the first time in centuries, women's legs were seen with hemlines rising to the knee and dresses becoming more fitted. A more masculine look became popular, including flattened breasts and hips, short hairstyles such as the bob cut, Eton crop, and the Marcel wave. The fashion was seen as expressing a bohemian and progressive outlook.

    One of the first women to wear trousers, cut her hair short, and reject the corset was Coco Chanel. Probably the most influential woman in fashion of the 20th century, Chanel did much to further the emancipation and freedom of women's fashion.

    Jean Patou, a new designer on the French scene, began making two-piece sweater and skirt outfits in luxurious wool jersey and had an instant hit for his morning dresses and sports suits. American women embraced the clothes of the designer as perfect for their increasingly active lifestyles.

    By the end of the 1920s, Elsa Schiaparelli stepped onto the stage to represent a younger generation. She combined the idea of classic design from the Greeks and Romans with the modern imperative for freedom of movement. Schiaparelli wrote that the ancient Greeks "gave to their goddesses... the serenity of perfection and the fabulous appearance of freedom." Her own interpretation produced evening gowns of elegant simplicity. Departing from the chemise, her clothes returned to an awareness of the body beneath the evening gown.

    Style gallery 1920–25
    • Actress Elaine Hammerstein, 1921. The forehead was usually covered in the 1920s, here by a hat reaching to the eyebrows.

    • Robe de style, Lanvin, 1922.

    • Dress with a dropped waist and width at the hips, 1923.

    • Teenage girls in Minnesota wearing breeches and riding boots with men's neckties, 1924.

    • By 1925, skirts ended just below the knee. Tunic-tops and sweaters reaching to the hips were popular.

    Style gallery 1926–29
    • Actress Aileen Pringle wearing a cloche hat and boldly patterned coat, 1926.

    • Actress Alice Joyce in a straight dress with a sheer beaded overdress, 1926.

    • A painting showing the mid-decade silhouette at its simplest: languid pose, bobbed hair, knee-length dress with dropped waist, 1926.

    • Woman with Umbrella, Ipolit Strâmbu, 1927. Designers used multiple hemlines (here, tiers of ruffles) to accustom the eye to longer skirts. This dress foreshadows the higher waist and feminine look that spread to everyday fashion by the early 1930s.

    • Woman hiding a hip flask tucked in her garter belt during Prohibition, late 1920s.

    • May 1928, abdomen and curves. After many years of a "stovepipe" silhouette, "natural" curves were beginning to reappear.[16]

    • Knee-length, pleated skirts and dropped waists were still popular as everyday clothes in 1929, though Paris designers were already showing longer skirts and higher waistlines.

    • Bridesmaids gowns of 1929 have knee-length underskirts and longer, sheer over skirts, foreshadowing the trend toward longer skirts. Minnesota, 1929.


    In menswear, there were two distinct periods in the 1920s. Throughout the decade, men wore short suit jackets, the old long jackets being used merely for formal occasions. In the early 1920s, men's fashion was characterized by extremely high-waisted jackets, often worn with belts. Lapels on suit jackets were not very wide as they tended to be buttoned up high. This style of jacket seems to have been greatly influenced by the uniforms worn by the military during the First World War. Trousers were relatively narrow and straight and they were worn rather short so that a man's socks often showed. Trousers also began to be worn cuffed at the bottom at this time.

    By 1925, wider trousers commonly known as Oxford bags came into fashion, while suit jackets returned to a normal waist and lapels became wider and were often worn peaked. Loose-fitting sleeves without a taper also began to be worn during this period. During the late 1920s, double-breasted vests, often worn with a single-breasted jacket, also became quite fashionable. During the 1920s, men had a variety of sport clothes available to them, including sweaters and short trousers (commonly known in American English as knickers). For formal occasions in the daytime, a morning suit was usually worn. For evening wear men preferred the short tuxedo to the tail coat, which was now seen as rather old-fashioned and snobby.

    Men's fashion also became less regimented and formal. Men favored short jackets with two or three buttons rather than jackets with long tailcoats as well as pinstriped suits. Casual-wear for men often included knickers, short pants that came to the knee.[1] The most formal men's suit consisted of a black or midnight-blue worsted swallow-tailed coat trimmed with satin, and a pair of matching trousers, trimmed down the sides with wide braid or satin ribbon.[17] A white bow tie, black silk top hat, white gloves, patent leather Oxford shoes, a white silk handkerchief, and a white flower boutonnière completed the outfit. The tuxedo vest could be black or white, but, unlike the obligatory full-dress white tie, tuxedos ties were always black. Men usually completed their tuxedo outfit with all the same accessories as the full-dress suit, except that instead of top hats they would wear dark, dome-shaped hats called bowlers. Just like women, men had certain attire that was worn for certain events. Tuxedos were appropriate attire at the theater, small dinner parties, entertaining in the home, and dining in a restaurant. During the early 1920s, most men's dress shirts had, instead of a collar, a narrow neckband with a buttonhole in both the front and back. By the mid-1920s, however, many men preferred shirts with attached collars, which were softer and more comfortable than rigid, detachable collars.[17]

    Men's hats

    Men's hats were usually worn depending on their class, with upper class citizens usually wearing top hats or a homburg hat. Middle-class men wore either a fedora, bowler hat, or a trilby hat. During the summer months, a straw boater was popular for upper class and middle-class men. Working-class men wore a standard newsboy cap or a flat cap.

    Style gallery
    • Publisher Edward Beale McLean wearing a three-piece striped suit with a spread-collar shirt, 1924.

    • German aviators, one a prince, 1929.

    Fashion influences and trends[edit]

    During the 1920s, the notion of keeping up with fashion trends and expressing oneself through material goods seized middle-class Americans as never before. Purchasing new clothes, new appliances, new automobiles, new anything indicated one's level of prosperity. Being considered old-fashioned, out-of-date, or—worse yet—unable to afford stylish new products was a fate many Americans went to great lengths to avoid.[17]

    For women, face, figure, coiffure, posture, and grooming had become important fashion factors in addition to clothing. In particular, cosmetics became a major industry. Women did not feel ashamed for caring about their appearance and it was a declaration of self-worth and vanity, hence why they no longer wanted to achieve a natural look. For evenings and events, the popular look was a smoky eye with long lashes, rosy cheeks and a bold lip. To emphasize the eyes, Kohl eyeliner became popular, and was the first time they knew anything of eyeliner (information about Egyptian fashion was not discovered until later on in the 1920s). Women also started wearing foundation and using pressed powder. Also, with the invention of the swivel lipstick, lipstick was on the rise with bright colors and they applied their lipstick to achieve a cupid's bow and "bee stung" look.

    Glamour was now an important fashion trend due to the influence of the motion picture industry and the famous female movie stars. Style, at many social levels, was heavily influenced by the newly created, larger-than-life movie stars. For the first time in history, fashion influences and trends were coming from more than one source.[5] Not unlike today, women and men of the 1920s looked to movie stars as their fashion icons. Women and men wanted to emulate the styles of Hollywood stars such as Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino, and Clark Gable.[1]

    Work clothes[edit]

    For working class women in the 1920s, tailored suits with a straight, curve less cut were popular. Throughout the decade, the lengths of skirts were rise to the knee and then to the ankle various times affecting the skirt style of tailored suits.[18] Rayon, an artificial silk fabric, was most common for working-class women clothing.[19]

    For working-class men in the 1920s, suits were popular. Depending on the job title and season of the year, the suit would change.[20] These would have featured high lapels and were often made of thick wool material before the advent of central heating.[21]

    Children's fashion[edit]

    Fashion for children started to become more stylish and comfortable in the 1920s. Clothes were made out of cotton and wool rather than silk, lace, and velvet. Clothes were also made more sturdy in order to withstand play. During previous decades, many layers were worn; however, during the 1920s, minimal layers became the new standard.[22]

    For girls, clothing became looser and shorter. Dresses and skirts were now knee length and loose fitting. Shoes were also made out of canvas, making them lighter and easier to wear.[22]

    For boys, knee-length trousers were worn all year long and would be accompanied by ankle socks and canvas shoes. Pullovers and cardigans were also worn when the weather became cooler.[22]

    • Roller-skater, Mississippi, 1921.

    • Children's fashion, Germany, 1925.

    See also[edit]


    1. ^ abcdMarsha West. Fashion Trends of the Twenties. July 1, 2008.
    2. ^ abcFashion in the 1920s (Overview).Pop Culture Universe: Icons, Idols, Ideas. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
    3. ^Mary Louise Roberts, "Samson and Delilah revisited: the politics of women's fashion in 1920s France". American Historical Review 98.3 (1993): 657-684.
    4. ^Steven Zdatny, "The Boyish Look and the Liberated Woman: The Politics and Aesthetics of Women's Hairstyles." Fashion Theory 1.4 (1997): 367-397.
    5. ^ abCarol Nolan. "Ladies Fashions of the 1920s". Retrieved December 24, 2012.
    6. ^"Vogue by the Decade". Vogue.
    7. ^Simon Bliss, "'L’intelligence de la parure': Notes on Jewelry Wearing in the 1920s." Fashion Theory 20.1 (2016): 5-26.
    8. ^"1920s Jewellery Style and Inspiration". Winterson.
    9. ^"A history of jewellery". Victoria and Albert.
    10. ^Sancaktar, Asli. "An Analysis of Shoe Within the Context of Social History of Fashion"(PDF).
    11. ^ abLangley, Susan (2005-09-28). Roaring '20s Fashions: Jazz. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN .
    12. ^Hannel, Susan L. (2005). "4 The Influence of American Jazz on Fashion". Twentieth-Century American Fashion. Dress, Body, Culture. doi:10.2752/9781847882837/tcaf0008. ISBN .
    13. ^Hannel, Susan L. (2002). The Africana craze in the Jazz Age : a comparison of French and American fashion, 1920-1940 / (Thesis).[permanent dead link]
    14. ^"Textile, Americana Print: Rhapsody, 1925". Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
    15. ^Thornton, Zita (2011). Fashion for a Jazz Age. Chicago, IL: Lightner Publishing Corp. p. 39.
    16. ^"Back to Beauty".The Spirella Magazine. May 1928. p. 72.
    17. ^ abcBob Batchelor. "Fashion in the 1920s".American Pop: Popular Culture Decade by Decade, Volume 1: 1900–1929. Greenwood Press, 2009. pp. 292-302.
    18. ^Vermont, Jens Hilke, University of. "Women's Clothing - 1920s - Clothing - Dating - Landscape Change Program". Retrieved 2016-11-15.
    19. ^"History of Womens Fashion - 1920 to 1929 | Glamourdaze". Retrieved 2016-11-15.
    20. ^"What Did Women & Men Wear in the 1920s?". 2013-06-21. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
    21. ^"1920s Men's Fashion From Peaky Blinders To Gatsby". The Costume Rag. 2019-12-13. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
    22. ^ abc"1920 Children's Fashion Facts". LoveToKnow. Retrieved 2016-10-17.

    Further reading[edit]

    • Arnold, Janet: Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen's Dresses and Their Construction C.1860–1940, Wace 1966, Macmillan 1972. Revised metric edition, Drama Books 1977. ISBN 0-89676-027-8
    • Black, J. Anderson, and Madge Garland, A History of Fashion, New York, Morrow, 1975
    • Boucher, François: 20,000 Years of Fashion, Harry Abrams, 1966.
    • Laver, James: The Concise History of Costume and Fashion, Abrams, 1979.
    • Nunn, Joan: Fashion in Costume, 1200–2000, 2nd edition, A & C Black (Publishers) Ltd; Chicago: New Amsterdam Books, 2000. (Excerpts online at The Victorian Web)
    • Russell, Douglas A. " Costume History and Style" Stanford University, 1983.
    • Steele, Valerie: Paris Fashion: A Cultural History, Oxford University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-19-504465-7
    • Steele, Valerie: The Corset, Yale University Press, 2001
    • The Spirella Magazine; MAY 1928
    • Children's fashion of the 1920s

    External links[edit]


    1921 Fashion – 100 Years Ago from 2021

    A new year in the ’20s is cause for celebration.  Last year we looked back at fashion in the year 1920, and saw that is wasn’t quite what we think of as 1920s fashion. No flappers, no fringe, no gangsters… not yet. The early 1920s were still recovering from World War 1. Fashions of the day reflected the need for simple, comfortable, wearable fashions that didn’t need the help of a maid to put on. In 1921 the same clothing continued from the previous few years. It wouldn’t be ’till next year, 1922, that the roaring twenties became the Jazz Age.

    So what did fashion look like 100 years ago from 2021? Follow along as we re-visit 1921 fashions for women and men. And find out why many of these style are coming back in fashion today.

    1921 fashions 100 years ago 2021

    1921, visiting the Krazy Kat club in Washington D.C., wearing common daywear at that time

    Daywear- Dresses

    Dresses were the one item women wore all day from sun up to sundown.  Wealthier women had a dress for different times of the day and special activities while poor women had only one day dress and one nicer dress worn on Sundays only.

    Dresses hung to almost mid-calf, a hemline that revealed ankles and pretty shoes, after a century of being covered up by lace up granny boots.  Most were long sleeve or 3/4 sleeve, even in summer. Necklines were modest but again more revealing than the Edwardian era. Round boat necks, scoop necks, or smaller squared neckline were accented by oversized collars, thin bows, decorative embroidery, and other trim that called attention to the neck and face.

    Brunswick Records employees’ luncheon, New York, 1921

    Cotton house dresses were the simplest of all the dresses but also the most cheerful with small patterns- checks, polka dots, and plaid.  They had long shawl collars or round peterpan collars in white. Dresses had a wide matching sash band or narrow tie belt centered around the mid waist.

    Daytime dresses or outing dresses had similar shapes as house dresses but came in solid colors or larger patterns with more detailed embroidery and trim around collars, pockets, belts and hemlines.  Fabrics were richer silks, velvet, wool and sheer cottons in the summer. The dressiest of dresses were worn to church, garden parties, dinner and dancing occasions.

    The overalls looseness of 1921 dresses made them extremely comfortable to wear.  They could be made with only a few yards of fabric making them affordable to all classes to sew at home.  A store bought dress was a bit more expensive with prices from $4-10 US dollars or $58-148 in 2020 USA currency.

    The Netflix series Morocco: Love in Times of War (Spanish with subtitles or dubbing) is set in 1921. The costumes seem fairly well done and reflective of Spanish fashion in 1921. Ignore their hair and makeup which is never accurate in TV/Movies.  Here are more films set in 1921 to watch.

    Morocco: Love in Times of War set in 1921

    Morocco: Love in Times of War set in 1921

    Daywear – Separates

    The trend for skirt and blouse separates continued to grow in 1921. Skirts were simple  shapes of lightly gather or box pleated waistbands with a full hip and slight tapered to the shin. Oversized pockets created the doll-like appearance on women of all ages and sizes.

    Blouses, in my opinion, were the prettiest of all tops in new century. Sheer fabrics were delicately embroidered with designs inspired by porto rican folk art.  They had a peasant class look but with buttery soft luxury fabrics. The fit was loose enough to drape off the shoulders, tucked into the waist, and “bloused” out enough to obscure a defined waist.

    The first picture below went a little viral on Instagram when I asked “I could see these style being worn today. Do you?” The answer was an overwhelming yes. While these looks are not mainstream yet the desire is there and some pieces are trending already in the #cottagecore style. Will 1921 fashion be returning in 2021? I think so.

    Daywear – Outerwear

    Over blouses and dresses could come a warm knit sweater, long cardigan or large scarf. Knitwear had been making its way out of the realm of underwear only and into fashionable attire for a few years already.

    As the 20s pursued casualness more aggressively, knitted sweaters were being worn in place of jackets in everyday life.  Solid colors, longer hip lengths, and matching knit belts made cardigan sweaters almost identical to men’s versions. Pullover sweaters had a more girlish fit with a wide waistband, wide collars,  and pom poms dangling from the V necklines. I must have one!

    Winter overcoats really made women look like China dolls. Oversized collars, pockets, and buttons on plush velour or heavy wool coating diminished women’s size and shape back to that of little girl childness.  The twenties are marked as the era of La Garconne, the boy-ish shape, but it really began with mimicking little girls fashion.

    The only adult flare added to outerwear was the heavy use of real furs. Large fur trimmed collars kept necks warm and cuffs kept the wind out of sleeves. Whole head fox fur stoles draped over shoulders or circled into hand muffs.  Everyone women sought to look rich with whatever real or faux fur she could afford.

    Evening Gowns

    Specialty evening gowns were for the ultra rich, movie stars, and fashionable city-dwellers who had more places to wear such gowns. Regular folk would wear their best afternoon frock for evening events.

    The full skirt or pannier hip flounces remained popular in 1921. Lavin spearheaded the Robe de Style gowns which were copied by other designs. Lanvin continued the style, while other designers preferred the straightline, long, and shiny Grecian inspired dress.

    Lace shawls, ostrich feather handfans, velvet opera coats were essential accessories.

    Underwear and Sleepwear

    Lingerie supported outerwear while also being free from the 6 or more underlayers required just 10 years prior.  Most women wore a “combination” chemise + bloomers, topped with a corset, slip and a petticoat to add a bit of fulness in the skirt.  Corsets were not necessary for thin women or young women who found them hindering to their dance moves.  For these women, the bust flattening Brassiere was the latest and greatest lingerie piece.

    Stockings rolled up and clipped to garters were usually black for daywear and sometimes white for summer or evening attire.

    Women had to wear stockings with all types of dress. Stockings were thigh high, held up with garter clips attached to corsets or a rolled elastic band (ie garter band.) There were heavy winter weight knits in wool or lighter cotton knits for summer. Black or dark brown were best for everyday use while white and grey may have been used in summer with light colored dresses.

    Some women had fun with their fancy stockings, buying silk hose with “clocked” designs on the sides.  The fit of stockings wasn’t very good yet. Most bagged at the ankle requiring women to pull them up with each visit to the restroom.

    1921 clocked stockings womens 1920s stockings at VintageDancer

    1921 clocked stockings

    Nightclothes were predominantly long nightgowns with embroidery or bits of lace around the upper neckline, similar to blouses. Soft pink replaced the standard white nightgown.  The Billy Burke pajama set with ruffled ankle cuffs was worn by the bright young things of the decade. Have you seen them back in style today?

    1921 Nightgowns sleepwear bed cap 1920s
    1921 Nightgowns and pajama
    1921 pink nightgown with embroidery
    1921 pink nightgown with embroidery


    Women used their weekends to enjoy the outdoors, play sports and experiment with cross-dressing. Wearing breeches (knee length pants) for horse riding and hiking with tall socks and lace up boots was the only acceptable pant option for women in 1921.  Paired with a button down shirts, necktie, duster coat and pith-helmet shaped felt hat- women looked nearly identical to their male companions.

    Tennis was a more lady-like sport that had women wearing all white or ivory pleated skirts with blouses or white dresses with a cardigan sweater buttoned only around the low hipline. White stockings and white canvas tennis shoes (like Keds Champion shoes) created a distinct Tennis uniform.

    Swimming at the beach or local river became more risque with the use of form-fitting wool swimsuits. Bathingsuits were transitioning from loose cotton swim-dresses to knit tank-top shaped swimsuits with attached undershorts. Ordinances prohibited swimwear from rising above the knee but few young women obeyed the rules.

    They did, however continued to wear rolled black stockings to the knee and canvas beach shoes.  Bathing beauty contests were well attended by both local beauties and spectators enjoying the views.

    Special Events

    Weddings followed the lines of fancy daytime dresses and evening gowns. Draped skirts, wide sashes, delicate embroidery, and floor length veils attached with a crown of flowers.

    Ceremonies took place in churches on a Saturday morning while ceremonies may have been hosted at the bride’s family home.

    1921 wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses

    1921 wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses

    1921 Italian family wedding at home

    1921 Italian family wedding reception at home

    Masquerade parties and children’s dress up parties (and Halloween) were frequent events hosted by community centers, bars, schools, and dance halls. Homemade costumes were always frugal and creative. Popular themes for adults and children were taken from history: 18th century (court jesters, men and women courtesans’), clowns, Greek goddesses, Arabian dancers, gypsies, Chinese men,  Japanese Geishas, Dutch girls, and Uncle Sam. For Halloween, black cats, spiders, bats and birds decorated orange and black clothing or crepe paper outfits.

    Halloween costumes- gypsies, clowns/jester, Dutch girl, Greek goddess, colonial era, Japanese and Chinese traditional dress were popular masquerade costumes for adults too.

    Hats, Hairstyles

    Wide-brimmed picture hats with round crowns were the thing to wear outside in summer. They were significantly smaller then the Edwardian era picture hats although the decoration was similar but less of it.

    The brim was beginning to fold down on the sides framing the face like a Victorian poke bonnet (which would soon lead to the iconic cloche hat).  Some front brims were folded up completely revealing the full face, like a musketeer hat. The brim was heavily decorate with flowers and ribbon motifs.

    1921 white brimmed hat with flowers

    1921 white brimmed hat with flowers

    The round turban hat circle the head loosely in various folds and weaves or sewn into soft points. Accents of large beads or a dangling tassel nodded to their Eastern roots.

    The oversized beret hat was especially popular in winter among young women. Otherwise a knit cap with pom pom was a winter classic.  More about 1920s hats here. 

    Hairstyles in 1921 mimicked the bobbed short haircut, yet most women were not ready to chop off their hair. Instead long hair was gathered back into a flat chignon bun or braided arrangement at the neck. The sides were pulled out to create puffs of hair circling the ears. Wispy curly bangs were full and frizzy although the smooth look was starting to replace that style.

    Waves and crimping were still being used as a method to make straight hair curl. The waves were arranged close to the head and the most volume covered the ears.

    Black women used hot oil combing to straighten hair and then arranged it in the ear-muff shapes.

    Evening hairstyles were bigger and curlier than daytime looks, with adornments of strands of ribbon or pearls, tortoiseshell hair combs poking out from a bun, and headbands circling the head or across the forehead. The iconic flapper headband was beginning to trend in 1921.

    1920s long hair styles

    1921 Evening Curly Hairstyles for Long Hair

    Women’s Shoes

    Footwear for women had the short hemlines of dresses to thank for the trend of low heel shoes instead of tall lace-up boots. Boots were still worn by some mature women in black, brown or white canvas, but the slipper/pump/heeled shoe and lace up oxford were what most young women wore everyday.

    Shoes had short curvy heels called French heels. The straight Cuban heel was used on sport shoes and walking oxfords. Toes were very pointed on dressy and casual shoes. Dress heels could be slip on pumps with high vamps or 1 to 3 straps with side buttons. Laces and bows were made of silk ribbon on dress shoe.

    More about 1920s shoes and boots.

    More women’s 1920s fashion:  Makeup, handbags,jewelry, gloves and miscellaneous accessories

    Want to know more about women’s 1921 fashion ? Ask me!

    Men’s Fashion 1921

    Men’s fashion in 1921, like that of women’s wear, looked to the youth to find a new post-war  style.  A new line of young-men’s clothing with more color, a slim fit and relaxed tailoring was inspired by the thousands of young men who came home from the war and demanded new clothing that fit their lean shape. They turned up their nose at father’s stuffy old suits, finding new inspiration from Jazz music, dancing and fast cars. “A whole generation had been infected by the eat-drink-and-be-merry-for-tomorrow-we-die spirit.”- Only Yesterday.

    While menswear had long looked to London designers to set the style for the year, American designers made them more casual, sending them back to London for the next season’s inspiration. The Americans were quick to demand more casual clothes, adopting workwear into everyday styles.  In the trenches they wore flexible knitwear and soft collar shirts, two things which made their way in early 20s men’s fashion.

    Today you may notice several similarities between 1921 and 2021 fashion. Slim fit suits have been back in style for years while knitwear-sweaters and cardigans- seem to be making a comeback as well. The workwear look is also trending with the use of collarless shirts, denim chore jackets, suspenders, and golf caps. I expect to see much more of these looks entering the mainstream in 2021.

    1921 mens 2021 casual vintage fashion style outfit. Oscar at

    Inspired by 1921 fashion for a vintage casual 2021 style


    The over-padded and oversized men’s Edwardian era suit was replaced by the slim fitting “boyish” Jazz suit. Jackets and trousers were narrow up and down the figure. A pinched high waist counter balanced a soft shoulder, slim arm and short jacket that elongated legs, a must for the agility needed to dance the energetic Charleston dance moves with young girls.  The suit of 1921 is remarkably similar to today’s Skinny Suit which was copied from the mod 60s that copied the Jazz Suit. In each era, the focus on youth, was the style leader.

    1921 men in suits working at a drug store

    1921 men in suits working at a drug store

    Some difference between modern suits and jazz suits were three-quarter back belt jacket with a deep center-vent flared skirt, open vent sleeve cuffs,  a close set of button closures and a deep roll shawl collar. They could be either single or double breasted with a matching four pocket, five button vest with deep points. Trousers were very narrow, cuffed and breaking an inch or two above the ankle. Fabrics for young men’s suits had brighter colors (but overall very drab) and small but noticeable patterns of stripes, windowpane, and chevron.

    For the not-so-young conservative man there was another suit developed for his mature taste. It was like the sack suit of the previous decade with straight closed-back jacket, curved edges, natural shoulder, flap hip pockets, angled chest pocket, and wide notch lapels. The jacket had 3 buttons while the matching vest had 5-6 buttons without lapels. Trousers were a more reasonable classic width that breaked at the shoe uncuffed. They came with belts loops but could also be worn with suspenders.  Fabrics were dark blue, brown, grey solid or very subtle pattern wool suiting.

    Men of all ages wore suits daily. Working class men were lucky to own a 3 peice matching suit to wear on Sundays- most made do with a mismatced suit purchased second hand. Middle and upper class gentlemen owned several suits for each season.

    1921 men's summer casual suits

    1921 men’s summer casual suits and seperates

    The summer season was the time to discard vests and wear lightweight summer wool cloth suits in white, ivory or tan colors. Pairing a blue blazer with white pants was also a classic summer look, especially for yachting.  This was about as casual as most gentlemen dressed unless playing a sport.

    For a look at men’s formalwear, tuxedos and morning suits read this article. 

    Dress Shirts and Ties

    While suits were on the dull side, men’s dress shirts were a rainbow of color. Vertical thin striped shirts on a white ground came in a  mix of blues, greys, black, pinks and purples. They had white collars either pointed or more commonly the rounded edge club collar. By 1921 most American men had converted to soft un-starched collars over stiff collars. Some were colorful stripes instead of white and some came attached to the shirt although this meant frequent laundering and replacement due to soiled collars.

    Soft collars were prone to popping up and out of place. Collar bars, collar pins and collar stays were used to hold them down and ad some richness to the wearers accessories.

    Dress shirts came in two styles. One was the pull-over with long button plaquette that reach the top of the trousers. The other was the “coat style” that buttoned all the way down, like today’s shirts. Both styles has an optional single chest pockets. Fancy silk dress shirts with French cuffs were designed to be worn with monogramed cuff links.

    Neckties and bowties were the two choices men had to wear with suits. The four in hand necktie could be  a wide “cravat” tie or a skinny 2.5 inches width. It extended down the chest only about 3/4 of the way to the beltline. They were bold colors with all over prints of paisley florals, dots, and stripes.

    Bow ties were considered “old men” ties although some young men wore them with summer suits. The clip on tie was a newer invention. Polka dots were an epically popular bow tie pattern.

    1921 A short tie by today's standards man in tie 1920s with glasses

    1921- A short tie by today’s standards


    Outerwear was designed to fit over the new, slim Jazz suits as well as conservative suits. The shape was vertical tubes with broad shoulders and wide lapels. The hemline hovered around mid-shin to below the knee, making them much easier to walk in than previous decades.  In winter, all fur coats were desired by the wealthy college kids while fur or shearling lined coats with fur collars was a bit more affordable for the upper and middle class masses.

    The sport style trench coat continued to be the favorite with young men or for rainy weather use.  Even it had an overall heavy and oversized appearance with wipe lapels, large pockets, wide belt, inverted pleat back and turn back cuffs.  While the suits underneath were meager, the overcoats were excessive.

    Casual Separates / Workwear

    Not all men dressed in suits and fancy striped shirts. The majority of working class men wore what we would call casual clothes on a daily basis. Upper class men wore them too for playing sports or lounging at home on the weekends. Paired with a knit sweater they were very colorful outfits, comfortable and more affordable.

    Knitwear in the form of button down cardigans, pullover shawl collar sweaters, rollneck jersey sweaters, and sweater vests added not only comfort but bright colors to young men’s outfits. They were usually layered over a shirt and tie even in casual settings. Lower class working men may have worn a sweater instead of a jacket over a work shirt and no tie.

    1921 mens sweaters and cardigans
    1921 sweaters and cardigans
    1921 knit sweaters, vests and cardigans

    Men’s workwear and sport shirts were solid colors in wool, flannel, corduroy or a thick cotton. They had attached soft collars and one or two flap chest pockets. Like dress shirts that either came in the pullover or coat style.

    Men’s work pants never went to the narrow Jazz look. Wide legs, high waists in durable fabrics were essential to long life clothing. Wool, moleskin, corduroy, cotton twill and denim were the preferred work pant fabrics, usually in dark colors. There were also overalls and coveralls for heavy duty workwear in dark blue denim, striped denim or heavy cotton twill. Many came with a matching denim jacket.

    1921 men's flannel work or leisure shirts
    1921 men’s flannel work or leisure shirts
    1921 men’s work or casual pants

    For sports or certain managerial outdoor occupations, men wore breeches or jodphurs, pants that ballooned out around the hip and cuff just below the knee. They were worn with tall socks and lace up over-the-calf boots or puttees (gaiters.) They were frequently worn for hiking, hunting, riding, golf and even by movie directors.  They may look funny to use now but back then they were a prized outfit.

    1921 a group of hikers in Santa Cruz, CA wearing breeches, sport shirts and ties.

    1921 a group of hikers in Santa Cruz, CA wearing breeches, sport shirts and ties. (See the matching women above)

    Casual or workwear jackets in winter favored the plaid Mackinaw jacket with self fabric belt. The shearling lined heavy jacket was necessary to keep the winter cold out.

    1920-21 Mackinaw jackets
    1921 workwear denim overalls and jackets

    More about men’s working class clothing here

    Men’s pants were either dress trousers or work pants. There was not an in-between style.  For gentlemen who wanted to dress in separates but not look lower class there were extra trousers he could buy. These were frequently striped trousers with a center leg crease, high waist, belt loops and an optional cuff. They were made of midweight wool serge, cotton, or cashmere. In summer, white, tan or ivory could be worn in lighter weight wool or cotton blends.

    1921 casual separates for gentlemen
    1921 casual separates for gentlemen
    1921 men's summer casual suits
    1921 men’s summer casual suits and seperates


    Men’s Hats

    Men always wore hats. With a suit it was a felt hat in winter and a straw hat in summer. For the working classes the soft cap was the preferred and affordable hat.  From formal to informal the hat styles were:

    • Top Hat– For very formal evening attire, worn with white tie / tuxedo
    • Felt Homburg – The early 20s homburg was shorter than previous year, with a rounded center dent, dented sides and slightly rolled narrow brim.  Ideal for older business men. Dark colors: black, brown, grey, green.
    • Derby hat– the hard rounded derby/bowler hat in black, brown or gray remained the British business man’s hat. Americans were done with them by 1920.
    • Snap Brim fedora hat was for young men. A wide brim that could be snapped up or down in front, side or back. Front down and back up was the most common. They had a center dent top and indented sides with a very wide hat band. Mostly dark colors.
    • Straw boater or sailor– a flat oval crown and stiff round brim with wide striped hat band and flat bow in colors to reflect a collage or club. Soft straw panama hats were worn by the rich.
    • Golf caps-A soft fabric cap sewn with 8 triangles pieces flopped over the head and ears with a stiff brim in the front. Tweed, check, plaid and herringbone patterns in brown, green and blue or mixed colors.
    • Working classes also had cadet style caps, Carlsbad western hats, planter straw hats or last’s years nice felt hat, almost worn out.
    • Young college age men (with nicely groomed hair) and vacationing sunbathers were leading a gradual trend towards hatlessness.
    • More men’s hats history and etiquette
    1921 mens felt hats 1920s headwear
    1921 felt hats
    1921 men's straw hats
    1921 straw hats

    1921 golf caps mens hats caps headwear

    1921 golf caps

    Men’s Shoes

    There were only two primary styles of footwear for men in 1921. Lace up boots and oxford shoes. Both featured a narrow foot with a spade shaped sole with pointed toe, low heel, cap toe decoration or wingtips for the very fancy. Brown or black were year-round colors and white in summer worn with white suits or trousers.  More about men’s shoes. 

    Working classes wore boots with a wider fit and round toe. In winter rubber overshoes or felt+ rubber buckled boots kept rain and snow off socks.

    1921 men's lace up boots
    1921 lace up boots
    1921 men's oxfords, dress boots and work boots
    1921 men’s oxfords, dress boots and work boots

    Men’s Underwear and Pajamas

    Boxer shorts and undershirts were not invented yet. Instead men wore one piece wool or cotton knit unionsuits. Long or short arms and long legs for winter and short legs and sleeveless arms in summer. They buttoned up the front with a button up butt flap in the back. Under dress shirts they looked like a modern Henley shirt.

    1921 mens union suits underwear summer 500
    1921 mens union suits underwear summer
    1921 men's winter union suits underwear long johns
    1921 men’s winter union suits

    Men’s pajamas and nightshirts were designated sleepwear for men, although many men choose to sleep in only their underwear. Both nightshirts and pajama tops came in 3 designs:  V neck pullover,  button down, and Asian wrap over with frog clasps.  They could be solid white or blue cotton or the  increasingly popular striped patterns.

    1921 men's pajamas

    1921 men’s pajamas

    When a man got home for the night he took off his suit and put on his robe and a favorite pair of house slippers. His robe was an elaborate pattern blanket cloth fabric (or silk for the rich), large shawl collar, oversized pockets and a tassel tie belt. A shorter house  coat also called a smoking jacket could be worn over a suit or shirt and tie set to a casual dinner at home or lounging by the fire. It was made of suiting material with contrasting fabric for cuffs, collar and pockets.

    1921 men's wool underwear and robe ad
    1921 men’s wool underwear and robe
    1921 men's house robes
    1921 men’s house robes

    House slippers were leather or felt slip on loafers, opera loafers or elastic side Romeo boots. I am happy to see the classic loafer (called a smoking shoe) being sold again, although it is an everyday shoe, not exclusively a house slipper.

    1921 men's slippers

    1921 men’s slippers


    Men’s Hair

    Young men’s hairstyles favored the longer top, shorter sides, with a center or side part and a lot of hair oil.  Older men stuck to their shorter allover hairstyles and bushy mustaches, goatees or clean shaven looks.

    F Scott Fitzgerald. 1921 sported the center part hairstyles
    F Scott Fitzgerald. 1921 sported the center part hairstyles
    Dr. Emil Coué with mustache and goatee


    And that wraps up 2021. While not every aspect of fashion is covered this gives you an idea of how most people dressed in daily life. If you have more questions about the years, the decade or fashion trends inspired by the past, ask me anytime. 


    In 1921 fashion

    Interest and need for money took their toll. After taking a shower and changing her clothes, Midami left the house. She took the bus to the stop, of course, and there, a casual passer-by, suggested in which direction to move. The morning turned out to be.

    1920s Fashion Is Not What You Think It Is

    A large hall and a small ray of light emanating from a certain utility room. Eugene quietly and imperceptibly walked into the light. The light source was a cut in the doorway. Outside the door were female sobs and male moans.

    You will also like:

    " "Oh, okay!" - the brunette was not upset. "I am Anna. Very nice, Angela. " - A barely noticeable flirtatious smile slipped across Anna's face. "Well, why are we standing, let's go into the house!" John was not used to being in a suit, he felt somehow constrained.

    5074 5075 5076 5077 5078