Musicians and college kids often wore wide striped blazers over white pants as a summer outfit. This look was popularized by Barber Shop quartet singers, ragtime pianists, and traveling salesmen (aka The Music Man.) Some costumes skip the blazer and wear a striped vest, bow tie and armbands/sleeve garters instead. A straw boater hat completes the festive summer outfit.
Dressing in vintage style clothing for a themed event or personal fashion is our passion. We turned a hobby into this website to make it easy to find vintage inspired clothing for women and men online spanning 1900-1960s. Our fashion history blog helps you create the look from decades past using vintage, vintage inspired and thrifty clothing, Need help? Ask us anytime.
The second look was for more vigorous outdoor activities, such as hiking, riding, camping, and fishing. Instead of a skirt, women wore wool knickers also called plus fours, togs, breeks or jodphurs. They were wide and baggy around the hips with a button cuff below the knee. Women wore thick stockings or knee-high argyle socks with a pair of flat oxfords. A button down shirt with collar and a skinny black tie gave a nod to menswear. Knit vests, pullover sweaters, and long cardigans added warmth. Men did not appreciate this masculine look but young adventurous women loved it.
Everyone else wore the quality of suit they could afford. Usually, a man had 3 or 4 suits he would wear during the week, changing shirts daily. Business suits were purchased with an extra set of pants since they wore out quicker than suit coats and vests. Dress shirts were striped with white round or pointed collars that were detachable up until the late 1920s. Cufflinks were also necessary. Learn more about men’s shirts here. 

The Parisian fashion blogger and DIY queen Lisa Gachet started blogging a few years ago, and recently launched a brand that represents something she truly believes in – Do It Yourself Fashion. It’s a fascinating concept of making limited edition clothing that is a reflection of your personality, but affordable. Her brand is unique, and her feed is colorful. Follow her for all of it, and more.
The Western World was seized with Egyptomania when King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922. The Egyptian King appeared to be dressed in pure gold sequins and had nets of faience beads spread over him. Immediately sequins and beading became all the rage, as well as Ancient Egyptian style emblems and pictograms (which often didn’t make sense). Even 1920s fashion illustrations were influenced, with models appearing in profile drawn in a flat style with a distinct black outline.
In summer, an all wool suit was too hot. Instead, men turned to light flannel, striped seersucker or linen suits. There were a few years where pastel colors were popular such as the pink suit Gatsby wore otherwise white, ivory or beige were the best colors. Some men paired white pants with a double-breasted blue blazer for a yachting or nautical look.
Susie Lau's Style Bubble has been going for over a decade and includes intelligent articles on everything from underground global fashion talent to perfume. She also provides fascinating behind-the-scenes pieces on the real work it takes to create a beautiful Chanel garment. Then there's the tongue-in-cheek Man Repeller run by Leandra Medine and her team. Its smart, witty take on fashion is refreshing. And if over-the-top clothes aren't your thing, we've also found plenty of bloggers with more pared-back styles for the minimalists. 
Men wore hats out of the house just as the ladies did, although they were always taken off inside, which led to many men losing hats when placed on a community hat stand. Popular felt hats were the round bowler or derby hat, followed by the Homburg with a center crease in the crown. The felt fedora hat was a newer trend with a more casual appearance for the middle classes. Various other hat styles were shaped from felt or straw with rolled brims or tall crowns. A hat did not need to match a man’s suit but should not stand out either. Common colors were grey, black and brown wool felt.
Danielle Bernstein’s ‘We Wore What’ has an interesting approach that focuses on style, fashion, and just that. You’d realize that her posts are often full angle shots, with barely close angle pictures, because she is someone who believes that she loves fashion, so everything else can take a backseat. She wants her followers to focus on her outfits, and we think it brings an excellent perspective to the table. With over a million followers that get a dose of her everyday outfits, she is an unstoppable force.
Plain curl perms (often referred to as ‘spot perms’) focus on curling a specific section of hair. They’re used generally to help achieve a certain style, for example curling only the ends or midsection of your hair. With plain curl perms, you can choose to either have tight or loose curls. The result tends to be natural looking waves depending on where you choose to have permed.
Chanel was really in her element here, and this is when she invented the ‘Little Black Dress”. Another 20’s couturier of note is Madeline Vionnet, who designed clothes to accentuate and celebrate the natural line of a woman’s body. Her bias cut designs caused silk to fall in a new way, clinging and draping in all the right places. They were supremely elegant.
Women’s shoes became more delicate and pretty over the past decades simply because they were more visible with short dresses. For daytime use, the low hee lace-up oxford shoe in brown, white or black was worn everyday. For something a little nicer for going out or dressing up it was the classic mary jane heel with a single strap across the front. The T strap heel is the most famous evening shoe because it held onto the foot while dancing the Charleston. They often came in black and gold or silver hand painted designs to really stand out on the dance floor. There were slip on pumps inspired by colonial-era shoes and multip strap heels int he early 20s.

Utilitarian designs appeared in all the major fashion cities throughout this fashion month. Of course, one particular style stood out from the pack. Originally designed as a one-piece protective garment for manual labour, boiler suits are now as fashionable as they are functional. To rock the look for yourself, just pick the cut and colour that suits you best. These long-sleeved jumpsuits are available in a variety of fantastic styles. So, you won’t be short on choices.
(Above) Even working at a silk mill, young women took the time to stay on the fashion trend. Here a worker in 1924 has the latest bobbed haircut and what appears to be a canton silk (silk and cotton) blend dress with embroidered waistband. The working girl on the left is wearing a gingham print cotton house dress with white collar and black leather belt.
This past weekend was amazing! I went to the Jazz Age Sunday Social in Dallas with @wideawakevintage @rubyrouxbijou and also spent some time in Austin. This was the outfit I wore to the Sunday Social and it got me first prize in the best dressed contest! Thanks @guermantes.vintage for the amazing dress! Paired with 20's blue silk stockings, shoes from @vintagemartini and 20's hat and purse.
"Editorial jobs are the most exciting and challenging for me. The deadlines are very tight, and the subject matter tends to skew conceptual. Book jobs are rewarding but slow-burns. They require a lot of patience! Advertising campaigns are sometimes the most limiting because there can be a lot of red tape around a company's branding guidelines." — Bee Johnson, illustrator
(Above) Even working at a silk mill, young women took the time to stay on the fashion trend. Here a worker in 1924 has the latest bobbed haircut and what appears to be a canton silk (silk and cotton) blend dress with embroidered waistband. The working girl on the left is wearing a gingham print cotton house dress with white collar and black leather belt.
Another formal suit worn by business executives, politicians, and grooms was the morning suit. It consisted of grey and black striped pants, grey vest, black morning coat, wingtip shirt, tie, and top hat. It was a style that was fading quickly except on special occasions and with the upper classes. It has come back around again today in wedding attire for grooms.
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.
Life Drawing: While many fashion illustrators have highly stylized work, the basic foundations of drawing figures from life and anatomy are necessary in order to create figures in a variety of poses, with and without reference, for most any project. No one says you have to be a master at life drawing. Rather, an understanding of the human form allows an artist to distort it as they see fit to create interesting and stylized figures that can fit a variety of projects and the needs of clients.

(Above) Even working at a silk mill, young women took the time to stay on the fashion trend. Here a worker in 1924 has the latest bobbed haircut and what appears to be a canton silk (silk and cotton) blend dress with embroidered waistband. The working girl on the left is wearing a gingham print cotton house dress with white collar and black leather belt.


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.
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I adore 1920s styles. They’re not easy for everyone to wear, but I think there’s something really beautiful about how they capture the transition from an earlier mode of dress to what we would now consider modernity. The clothes also reflect the changing status of women in society. Gone were the restrictive corsets (I mean, I actually like wearing a corset, but it’s also such a relief to take if off at the end of the day. I can’t even imagine having to lace into one virtually EVERY DAY of my adult life), the long, full skirts, the heavy mounds of hair piled up to emphasize a slender neck. I really can’t imagine just how light and free women must have felt when the new fashions took hold. Literally. Shucking 10 lbs of underwear will do that for you.
Also – I’m getting the impression from surfing around that ladies (flappers) did not carry purses but only little make-up bags. i’ve been wondering whether this is just for evenings out (when their escort would be expected to have bulky things like cash ) and whether bigger handbags were used during the day. .[I pretty sure I’ve seen Margaret with a bag on Boardwalk Empire….]
"I get requests from potential clients via email asking if I'm available and explaining what they would need me to do. I then draft and send them an estimate for them to sign. I first do a rough sketch, take a picture of it to send to the client for validation. Once it's been okayed, I finish it in black and white and if needed, I add color later using pencils as well.
Some women did go without body shaping entirely, or might wear just a very loose silk “bra” (they were not called that at the time) or longer line vest with loose fitting French knickers which seem rather big to us but were extremely brief for the period. A combination teddy could also be worn. In winter, knitted wool jersey versions of these were much warmer. A slip or petticoat, and stockings in silk or rayon, with a garter if it wasn’t already attached to the other undergarments, completed the underwear.

Plain curl perms (often referred to as ‘spot perms’) focus on curling a specific section of hair. They’re used generally to help achieve a certain style, for example curling only the ends or midsection of your hair. With plain curl perms, you can choose to either have tight or loose curls. The result tends to be natural looking waves depending on where you choose to have permed.
Tom Ford, counted among the most famous designers today, whose portfolio includes serving as a creative director for both Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, wanted to be actor when he was growing up. He was born in Texas and even took training to be an actor. But fate had other “designs” for him. Tom ford popularity as a designer reached peaks when in the year 2000, he was declared the winner of the Best International Designer Award.
So embrace the the roaring Twenties and the liberation of movement that it brought – bring out your hats, your buckles and bows and rhinestones. The straight shift dress can still make such a dramatic statement. Either vintage or homemade, if it’s plain then depending on how good with a sewing machine you are, embellish with rhinestones and fringes.
Farmers, steel workers, miners and railroad men all had a distinctive uniform or dress code.  For a general manual labor position, sturdy denim and canvas overalls or coveralls with a plaid wool work shirt and tough leather boots was the standard dress. In cooler weather, a rain or oil slicker and fur-lined coat protected men from the elements. Manual labor was very hard. Progress was made for better labor conditions in the 1920s and more time off (yea weekends!), but the work itself was extremely difficult and not very lucrative. Work clothing took quite a beating and needed to be mended and replaced frequently.
“Fashion illustration can’t be retouched and there is certainly an appeal in that,” says Brett Croft, head of the Vogue House archive. “There is definitely a younger generation of illustrator coming through,” he adds. “It’s to do with Edward of course, but it’s also part of a movement towards more simple artforms which was very obvious at Frieze this year. Last year was all about video and this year there seemed to be a reaction away from that. I think there is an appeal in the fact it can’t be hyper real. It just is what it is - there’s a simplicity to it that is refreshing.”
As is common in these art career-focused articles, not all successful artists have a formal art education. Some of the artists I interviewed attended art schools, studying illustration or fine arts, or have taken art classes at some point. Others developed their skill set and work on their own or through years of working in various art and design related disciplines.

Certain occupations required men to wear formal clothing. Waiters, bartenders, butlers, hotel managers, and other service-oriented careers required men to dress in their finest formal attire. A lower class establishment, such as a neighborhood bar, would see staff dressed in a button-down shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbow or help down with sleeve garters. Bankers often wore sleeve garters, too.


Also – I’m getting the impression from surfing around that ladies (flappers) did not carry purses but only little make-up bags. i’ve been wondering whether this is just for evenings out (when their escort would be expected to have bulky things like cash ) and whether bigger handbags were used during the day. .[I pretty sure I’ve seen Margaret with a bag on Boardwalk Empire….]
Shoes and accessories were more dramatic, too. Shoes would be pumps or strap heels in a medium or high height. Stockings would be sheerer and in colors to match the dress. Gloves would also match or be white (and were taken off to eat).  A hat would be whatever is most becoming to the dress, such as a feather trim sun hat or decorative cloche. Learn more about dressing in afternoon party dresses. 
Farmers, steel workers, miners and railroad men all had a distinctive uniform or dress code.  For a general manual labor position, sturdy denim and canvas overalls or coveralls with a plaid wool work shirt and tough leather boots was the standard dress. In cooler weather, a rain or oil slicker and fur-lined coat protected men from the elements. Manual labor was very hard. Progress was made for better labor conditions in the 1920s and more time off (yea weekends!), but the work itself was extremely difficult and not very lucrative. Work clothing took quite a beating and needed to be mended and replaced frequently.
Queen of pearls Anita, pictured below right with actresses Joan Crawford and Dorothy Sebastian for the film Our Dancing Daughters, reportedly received 35,000 fan letters in a week during her heyday. Remember folks, these were the times when fan-girls didn’t have Twitter or emojis to express their love for a star, so these were physical, hand-written notes of adoration. Amazing, right?

So there you have it. Any other type of activity you might encounter was usually determined by the time of day and the indication of formality. So, next time you head to a daytime tea party you will know to wear an afternoon dress or, for men, a summer white suit. For Gatsby’s lavish affair bare your arms and party like it is the day before prohibition starts!
Jessica Wang is an Asian American blogger turned digital style expert from New York with a fan base of more than a million. Her design aesthetics are breathtaking, off-beat, and fulfilling, which is a terrific combination and precisely what fashion influencers need to be. From breaking stereotypes, challenging fashion trends, and merging high street fashion with luxury fashion, Jessica Wang is an influencer in the most real sense.
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