It’s said that austere periods are followed by an era of prosperity and festivity. If that’s true then we’re due for one soon as the pandemic enters the so-called beginning of the end. Should we expect a reincarnation of the roaring 20s? When it comes to fashion, don’t discount the possibility.
Designer Naeem Khan, whose evening dresses have been worn by Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton, shared to Bloomberg that he believes the glitzy look of the 1920s will make a comeback; his clients are beginning to ask for “over-the-top glamour” after being “subdued for so long”.
Well, count us in on this re-emerging style! Here are some of the 1920s fashion trends we’d like to see on the streets again.
Drop waist dresses
There’s no 1920s trend that’s more iconic than the drop waist dress. Also known as the “flapper dress”, the piece is named after young women who embraced lifestyle choices — socialising freely, drinking alcohol in plain sight, cutting hair short — that were considered vulgar at the time. Its loose silhouette and shorter hem length was a far cry from the more conservative fashions of the previous decades which often consisted of multiple layers and included restrictive accessories like hoop skirts. The brand new silhouette then became attractive to the younger generation as it promised freedom of movement.
Why it will work in the 2020s: Loose silhouettes are already dominating recent fashion and lifestyle trends, as such, the drop waist dress will not look out of place. The transition from simple loungewear dresses to decorated drop waist dresses feels natural. Fashionistas can still enjoy the comfort of loungewear while indulging in a more glamorous, dressier piece. The androgynous feel of the drop waist is also in line with today’s emerging genderless fashion trend.
Robe de Style
The 1920s also had the Lanvin’s Robe de Style. It also has a looser fit and lowered waist but the key difference is that it’s not shapeless and has a sculptural-like silhouette that’s reminiscent of 18th-century court dresses, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Think of it as a more formal version of the 1920s drop waist dress.
Why it will work in the 2020s: While the “flapper dress” was undoubtedly popular, it wasn’t everyone’s choice. And those who loved the looser look but weren't a fan of the straight, “boy-ish” form opted for the Robe de Style. We imagine that a modern reincarnation of Lanvin’s iconic dress will serve the same purpose. The added volume at the hips which creates a subtle a-line will make for a more satisfactory fit for those who prefer to showcase some curves.
Believe it or not, beach pyjamas were definitely a thing. They’re one of those trendy vintage pieces that got overshadowed by more popular fads but at one point they were very much in vogue. The pieces are characterised as wide-legged and bear a similarity to palazzo pants. The distinction is in the design: beach pyjamas were colourful, with geometric patterns and often matched the backless swimwear top of the wearer. It might come as a surprise for us but beach pyjamas were once considered “gender-bending” clothing because a woman wearing pants was still a novelty and widely seen as a daring move back then.
Why it will work in the 2020s: Another 1920s trend that won’t feel anachronistic to the 2020s, matching beach pyjamas just looks like a levelled-up version of wide-legged sweatpants that are already a staple of the “pandemic fashion”. The backless top that comes with the look is also on-trend nowadays.
Between the discovery of Tutankhamun's Tomb and the burgeoning Art Deco style, geometric designs easily made their way to 1920s fashion popularity. Subtle touches of gold appliques and structured patterns like simple rectangles can be seen in fashion plates of the era. Because the linear form of the clothing in the 1920s is straightforward, maximalist designs didn't look comically over the top and the glitzy decorations gave the simple silhouette an interesting twist.
Why it will work in the 2020s: Geometric elements are already seen in the latest nostalgic home decor trends and it's just a matter of time before it becomes a fashion trend, too. After animal print’s big 2019 comeback, it’s not farfetched to expect that another maximalist pattern will take the spotlight.
Even though the cloche (the French word for bell) hat is iconic to the 1920s, it’s actually only at the tail end of the decade that the dome-shaped form became popular. Early iterations were still brimmed and resembled a bonnet. Although both are pretty, the cloche hat is admittedly more practical for the modern-day than a bonnet. It can be decorated with simple trimmings or adorned with jewels that dangle to the side.
Why it will work in the 2020s: It seems like hats have all but disappeared from our wardrobes. However, it doesn’t mean that fashionistas have completely banished them; from time to time we see trends like straw hats, bucket hats and fancy wedding headpieces emerge so a cute cloche hat making a comeback isn’t an impossibility. And with the added emphasis on sun protection nowadays, extra coverage won’t hurt.
Will you be wearing any of these trends today?
(Cover photo from: Marvin Meyer via Unsplash)