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Here's What The Ideal Beauty Standards For Men And Women In The 1920s Looked Like

Updated September 27, 2019 82.4k views15 items

American fashion in the 1920s helped set men and women free. After decades of conforming to Victorian-era styles, women moved towards a more modern look. While in decades past they squeezed themselves into form-fitting corsets and other undergarments, fads and trends from the 1920s went the opposite direction. Female shoppers no longer accentuated their curves – they hid them. The hourglass figure was out; boyish slimness was in. And 1920s hair and makeup changed dramatically, too; short bobs and bold cosmetics became the must-have look of this new era.

Men's fashion was less fluid, but they too embraced 1920s trends and fads. They wore long overcoats and fur (just like women), and relied on custom slim-fitted suits. As for personal flair, that came in the form of hats and accessories. The ideal male physique of the time was slender – all the better for showing up on camera.

The ideal beauty standards for men and women continued to evolve and change throughout the 20th century. Nevertheless, the Jazz Age provides a particularly fascinating glimpse into a distinctive moment in American style.

  • Women Adopted The Boyish "Garçonne " Look

    Photo: Henry Walker / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    During the ‘20s, some women adopted the “garçonne” look. They eschewed corsets and petticoats and opted for a more masculine appearance (or at least what was considered masculine during that era). Women wore brassieres to flatten their chests and straight dresses to minimize curves, and chopped off their hair to finish the androgynous look.

  • Men Accessorized With Pocket Watches, Canes, Bow Ties, And More

    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    While 1920s men mostly sported suits while out and about, they were able to personalize their looks in a variety of ways. They wore hats in various styles, and sometimes carried a cane to appear more sophisticated. They could choose to add a fitted vest, a bow tie, or a pocket watch to complete the look. Colorful gloves and pocket squares also set them apart from their pals.

  • Fashion Was Inspired By Art Deco Designs

    Photo: Paramount Pictures / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    What we term "Art Deco" came about in the early 20th century; this artistic and decorative style was characterized by sleek, streamlined shapes and tasteful simplicity. It was a direct reaction to the opulence of the Victorian age, and its influences could be seen everywhere from architecture to home decor to fine art.

    Fashion was inspired by the Art Deco movement as well. Clothing centered on simplicity and rich, colorfully dyed fabrics with geometric shapes. While dresses had simple and angular lines, bold colors and rich textiles made them pop. Even simple suits were custom-made to ensure a flawless fit.

  • Both Men And Women Sported Knickerbockers

    Knickerbockers, also known as jodhpur trousers, were first popularized by men in the '20s. But thanks to the popularity of androgynous looks, it didn't take long for women to adopt the style. When paired with a shirt and tie, they provided a relaxed, comfortable ensemble for casual occasions.