Although bodies may have seemed slimmer during the 1920s era, this was an illusion as most women dressed to flatten their bodies – the kind of underwear we wear today was unheard of in the twenties. The corselette offered a whole new way of shaping the body, and unlike the corsets that had gone before, in the Edwardian period, the corselette didn’t press the waist in or lift the bust, but flattened the chest and held in the hips.
Of course, the roaring twenties were the decade of the flapper girl, so restrictive corsets and a womanly shape were out. Which was great for the naturally flat chested – no underwear, hurrah! But if you happened to be endowed with any kind of bosom, in order to fit the sleek styles, you needed to go the other way and actually bind your chest into a flat silhouette.
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.
A businessman wore an appropriate 3 piece suit to the office on business calls and often to dinners and parties, too. He was not subject to the multiple changes of clothing as women were. The type of suit changed with his seniority at work and the season. Some men in upper-level positions still wore men’s formal morning suits with cutaway coats, striped pants, cravat, and vests to work.
December is silver linings month on Man Repeller and I take our themes very seriously so here you go. I hope we can be your human silver lining 4ever. That’s the first thing I have to say. No.2: I have always wanted to be able to travel with a bag that serves as my bag and my carrier of things at once. You know what I mean right? So that should I find myself in need of a black tie accoutrement, I could just dump the practical contents of my dopp kit out and go to the porty with my evening bag, so I’m glad the Carry Bradshaw is facilitating that. Our pop-up closes in 2 hours and what a weekend it’s been! Thanks for coming, hanging, introducing yourself to us and especially for entrusting in us your precious free time. I promise to always do the most to make it — serving you when you need a break or a hug or a laugh or an animal to hook into your ear — worth it. Love u, @leandramcohen