SHANGHAI-LEKSIKON
Western women's fashion in the 1920s

The fashion ideal of the 1920s was most suited for young, very slender women. The kneelength dress was nearly tube shaped and mostly obscured waist and bust. The matching shoes were similarly light and simple, but the hat could be more daring, eg. with a large feather or shaped like some form of turban. The simple cloche was dominant for many years, however. A variant form of women's fashion was to dress in modified men's wear.

 

Two fashionable young women in London in the mid-20s.

 

For the lucky few could wear the narrow dresses, it was a fashion that afforded a greater range of movement than women's clothes had allowed for centuries.

Through the introduction of the gramophon, jazz and other dance music conquered the world in the 1920s and weekly magazines and (silent) movies taught people how to look and act. The magazines advertised new fashion and they printed dress patterns to let you sew something similar yourself if you couldn't afford the real thing or lived away from major urban centers.

The development in fashion was closely tied to the development in industrial society that had reached a stage where everybody was included in its organization of labor and where mass produced goods dominated consumption. As was the case for other consumer goods, industrial methods of production ensured a high degree of homogeneity in the development of fashion, not just in invidual countries, but across the western world. This triggered competition between creators and thus a battle for the favor of the consumers. Fashion became an important and very dynamic measure of competition, which took place despite shifting economic conditions.

Mass production also caused an increase in purchasing power, allowing more the surplus needed to be fashion conscious. The consumer society we know today was well under way.

 


  


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Four fashionable dresses
Stay current on fashion with Shanghai Modern.

Fig. 1:

Modern spring dress with Viennese lining and highlight of a different color.

The dress can be made with or withrough embroidery and vest.

 

Fig. 2:

Kashka dress in a fashionable color with crèpe de chine vest and decorative stickings.

Viennese lining exclusively on the front. The back is smooth.

 

Fig. 3:

Tasteful ladies' dress.

Can be made with or without embroidery. The skirt is pleated in bunches while the dress is unpleated.

 

Fig. 4:

Afternoon dress

The dress is made of quality woolen fabric or silk with edgings embroidered with rose patterns. The diagonal edgings continue to the back.