Flappers refer to a new style of fashion of Western woman which was invented to describe a new breed people in the society. However, the initiation in the 1920s, describes flappers as women who are flamboyantly flouted with their contempt because what was back was seen to deem the societal behavior which was conventional. These women in the flappers were explicitly characterized by their mild choice of drinking, short skirts, bobbed hair, as well as their enjoyment of jazz music. They flapper women were branded as immoderate makeup, brash for their extensive enjoyment of casual sex, smoking and driving cars. The flappers were ideologically originated from liberalism.
Similarly, flappers were believed to be the icons of the social, roaring twenties, an increased transatlantic cultural transition and political turbulence which came to existence after the end of World War I and the American jazz culture export to Europe. Generally, Flappers of the 1920s were a group of young women who known for their energetic freedom which embraces an immoral, outrageous or downright dangerous lifestyle as viewed by many people at that time. The focus of the paper is to discuss the meaning of flappers as a roaring twenties fashion that was invented to describe new style of dressing. It also explains how the flappers dressed, acted as well as their way of life.
General Life of Flappers, Their Dress Code and Nature of Action
The image of Flappers image consisted of shocking and drastic changes in women's hair and clothing. They exhibited a flamboyant dressing code that was unique to the 1920s generation. Almost of clothing articles were lightened and trimmed downwards in order to create easy movement. The trimming allows free movement of legs. Similarly, it was believed that most girls prefer parking their corsets during dancing concerts due to free movements that were associated with the energetic Jazz age dances.
Corsets and pantaloons were replaced by step-ins which were merely free underwear. The flappers also had an extremely identifiable outer clothing called garcon or sometimes referred as little boy. The cloth was to associate women to look like boys and was associated with tight windings in the chest to make it flat.
The waists of most flapper clothes had their hipline dropped to allow easy wearing by the stockings. Similarly, they were all made of artificial silk called rayon as early as 1923 when the flappers became rolled over in the garter belt. The flapper skirts also had a hem that makes them unique from the rest of other dress codes since 1920s (Stepenoff 198). At first, the hem rose few inches above the knee but by 1927 it was lowered below the knees to make movement easier.
According to Cox, the skirt also came just few inches below their knees with faint fraction of overlapping which had twisted and rolled stockings (Cox 143). The idea was to make walking in the breeze a bit simpler exposing the knee to the cool air around.
Flapper Hair and Make-Up
Apart from the dress code, flapper also came up with beautiful lush air style called bob which took less days then was replaced by the another shorter style called shingle. The shingle or Eton cut was generally slicked downwards with curls cover women's ears on either sides of their face. Flappers summarize the ensembles with a bell-shaped hat known as the cloche.
Late 1920s, flappers started wearing make-ups although it was associated with loose women in early 1920s. Eye-line, powder, lipstick and rouge became extremely popular causing a sneered shock to the Bliven, overall, fashion was associated with beauty in 1925 and women heavily and frankly, heavily swore to imitate nature but never to adopt the artificial effect such as poisonous scarlet lips, pallor mortis and richly ringed eyes which became debauched as a diabetic infection cause.
General Life-Style of Flappers and Nature of Action
The flapper attitude and lifestyle was characterized by fast living, sexual behavior and stark truthfulness. They seemed to cling to their youth too much as if it was going to leave them soon. They took several risks and were more reckless with life. They wanted to be much different from the Gibson Girl's morals during announcement (Stepenoff 198). So they resorted to smoking as a sign of trademark. This was something that only men had done in the previous years. This shocked their parents who reacted aggressively to this new lifestyle.
Smoking wasn't the only outrageous lifestyle and rebellious actions that the flappers were associated with. They also drank alcohol which started at early ages. Most of them prefer carrying the illicit brew in flasks to make accessibility easier (Caslin 24). However, most adults had weird attitudes towards the tipsy young women because of the scandalous image which they usually portray amidst people.
The 1920s was also the Jazz Age. This made flappers to enjoy their leisure and pass time with their fellows through jazz dancing. Dances such as the Black Bottom, Charleston and Shimmy were the most common during older generation.
The Roaring Twenties
The 1920s was called roaring in the United States because of the freewheeling and exuberant cultures that surrounds the decade. It was the time when most people defied several lifestyle prohibitions and indulges into new styles of dressing and dancing while rejecting the traditional moral standard which hinders free lifestyle (Danesi 234). Similarly, in the roaring twenties was a mass consumerism era which was created to surge economy while the Harlem Renaissance tries to redefine arts and culture. Additionally, it was an era of Jazz-Age when the flappers were flouting prohibition of law to suit their new lifestyle and dress code.
Moreover, the most familiar symbol which was common during the Roaring Twenties was the flapper. Flapper was a young woman with short skirts and bobbed hair who smoked, drank and said all nasty things which were not common among ladies. These young women portray free sexual addiction and practice as opposed to the previous generations. Generally, most young ladies of the 1920s were associated with these things although it helped other women to gain unprecedented freedom for their future endeavors.
The Post War Life in the 1920's
The 1920s was known as a decade of change. After the war remarkable changes were seen in the United State. For example, many Americans owned radios, telephones and cars for the first time. The introduction of cars brought a dire need for good roads. Similarly, radios brought the world closer to people whereas the telephone made connections with families and friends easier and faster. Exuberant prosperity was evident towns and cities and towns while social change shaping the air. According to Karl, there was a substantial growth of factories in North Carolina due to availability of textile, tobacco and furniture (Karl 14). Most farmers received go pay from the industries upon delivery of the started products.
Additionally, there was rise of unions to fight for the rights of farmer and local industries. Most women bobbed or shortened their hair while flappers wore short fancy dresses and danced responsibility as opposed to their previous lifestyle. Men became more decent by shaving off their beards and wearing recent suits. Overall, the 1920 artists captured significant images of American skyscrapers and factories a process known as Precisions. Precisionism was associated with hard-edge shapes, impersonal paintings and geometric structures which were simplified as characterized purity, logic and precision. The art after the war embodied people's relationships as felt within industries, science, machine and religion. Sculptors and black painters strove to bring a unique identity to the African American society.
In conclusion, the rise of flappers led to a unique culture which most societies failed to recognize especially from young women. The women exhibited unpleasant dancing style to the jazz music, they wore awkward make-ups, spoke their own language which is against the norms of the society as well as smoked cigarettes. Their lifestyle was followed by the fashion which later became part of their lifestyle. However, after the war many young men failed to return home leaving an entire cohort of young women without enough men to marry them. The war horror also impressed young men with explicit knowledge about the nature short which could end at any time.
Caslin, Samantha. "Flappers, amateurs and professionals: the spectrum of promiscuity in 1920s Britain." New Sociologies of Sex Work. Routledge, 2016. 23-34.
Cox, Carrie. "Appropriateness and Parental Approval of 1920s Fashion for Small Town Women:" We pretty much all looked alike!"." (2016).
Danesi, Marcel. From Flappers to Rappers: The Origins, Evolution, and Demise of Youth Culture. Canadian Scholars, 2018.
Karl, Barry D. "The American bureaucrat: A history of a sheep in wolves' clothing." Democracy, Bureaucracy, And The Study Of Administration. Routledge, 2018. 14-31.
Stepenoff, Bonnie. "Silk Stockings and Socialism: Philadelphia's Radical Hosiery Workers from the Jazz Age to the New Deal." (2018): 194-195.
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