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1920s Dresses for the Modern Woman

Every season, we try to bring out new and interesting designs - something that bit different... Like most vintage fashion lovers, I sway between the decades every day. I find 40s fashion very wearable in the colder months, I like to wear 1930s style dresses out and don 1950s when i go for a dance at the weekend.

Recently Ive been very drawn to 1920s/early 30s styles again - I love art deco furniture and art anyway so it is a natural direction from a design point of view. (plus i was raised watching The House of Elliot)

However, i think that I can see another 1920s revival on the way - possibly spurred on by the film 'Fantastic Beasts & Where to find them' set in 1926. I just absolutely adore Queenie's navy blue outfit which I've added a pic of below. There is so much work in it! I am determined to come up with something to echo that look!

I think many ladies steer clear of 1920s due to a sense that it is unflattering and that the styles have become over-represented in Fancy dress shops. However, I think the 1920s has a lot to give and is one of the styles that many can rock without having a classic hourglass figure. I love the jewellery and accessories of this era

Last year - we launched a fledgling 1920s collection. Due to the 1920s styles not being as popular as 40s and 50s, we couldn't put too many resources into it - so we are having to trickle in the styles over time. From a designers point of view, the initial 1920s shape is fairly simple with much less complex pattern work than other decades. However, there was so much imagination through the fabrics used (rich velvets & chiffons), the prints and wonderful embellishments and decoration such as beading, jewellery and headwear. All to create one of the most chic and elegant eras in fashion - in my opinion.

Although the main shape is very simple, the 20s look was so much more than just a drop waist flapper dress. Its amazing how much variety was created through draping, godet insertions, neckline styles, gathers and frills. As the decade progresses, you see how the styles evolve in complexity resulting in the fabulous cuts of the 1930s.

I have 2 original 1920s dresses, one of which is shown in the pic above - i purchased this at Twinwood Festival in 2015... it is a really wearable dress in rayon jersey. I also have a fabulous velvet opera coat in an ochre colour - its very warm and I regularly wear it out together with my cloche hat from vintage milliner Lily Lewis (

Partywear 2016

Prohibition, Gatsby & Speakeasy style parties seem to be cropping up everywhere this year and we have had many customers asking for more 1920s styles but nervous of how to wear them.  Hence this season - we developed 2 new 1920s dresses through our original starting shape. The Clara and the Garbo.

The Clara is a scoop neckline with a drop waist and bow to one side. This gives it a the typical asymmetric shape. The most 'clingy' area of the design is on the hip and the skirt swirls below the band as it is cut on a circle.  We've made this dress in our signature art deco floral print fabric and made the sash in ivory. The dress really works in this print because the simple style lines work really well with a busy print.

Our new 1920s Styles

The Garbo is similar in length and neckline but is in silk velvet and is styled with the use of shirring and gathering in the shoulder and on the drop waist. The silk velvet really makes this  20s dress so special and you can see why it is this season's key fabric.

The trick is to resist the temptation to overdo the 1920s by adding too many extras - leaving the wearer the task of accessorising to their tastes. To be honest, you don't need much more than a pair of Mary jane shoes to work this look - the style is so flattering - it does everything for you!

1920s Style Guide coming soon!!

Do you have to be skinny?

I don't think so - our model is a size 10/12 with normal curves. What i would say is that at a Downton Abbey themed party I went to last year, a couple of ladies who were size 16 and 20 were really surprised by how fabulous they felt in their 20s outfits because it didn't emphasise their waistlines and tummy - areas they both felt conscious of. Indeed, one who was more of apple shape has been seeking this style ever since.

Further Reading:-

blogger who loves 1920s:

Everyday Fashions of the Twenties - Sears

Ard Deco Fashion - Suzanne Lussier

Fashion Sourcebook - Charlotte Fiell & Emmanuelle Dirix

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