Were the 1920s as great as depicted in The Great Gatsby?
The simple answer to that question is: yes! The 1920s were indeed a great decade that paved the way for many of the things we take for granted in our everyday lives today, especially if you're a woman. During the 1920s women were given their right to vote, and many started going out to work and becoming much more financially independent.
Post-war society was undergoing vast social, political and economical changes. Technology was continuing to advance, and mass production and manufacturing techniques were being employed in industry. The motorcar was becoming much more mainstream, and that, along with advancements in aviation, gave people much more freedom to travel.
For the first time in history people experienced water and electricity supplies in their homes. The 1920s also saw great advancements in radio technology which meant that people could listen to music in their own homes too. The popularity of jazz music grew and grew, so too did the popularity of dancing! A new breed of young, independent women emerged, shaking off the constraints of old.
These women were known as flapper dancers; they smoked, drank, danced at parties, wore excessive makeup, and generally broke the mould. Inspired by icons like Clara Bow, Josephine Baker, Zelda Fitzgerald and Marlene Dietrich, women were changing their style and shedding the stuffiness of the Victorian era of corsets and petticoats.
1920s fashion was helped along a great deal by Coco Chanel and her line of relaxed casual wear. The look of the era was a much more androgynous one than the world had seen before. Straight dresses skimmed the hips and gave a much more boyish silhouette, and the focus was more on them dcolletage and a flat chest than on a large cleavage.
Of course we haven't forgotten the jewellery of the 1920s! The stylistic movement that characterises the era was Art Deco. Simplistic lines, geometric shapes and new materials like plastic and aluminium were used in a lot of costume jewellery at the time. Pearls and diamonds also played a big part too. No flapper was complete without her long string of pearls or chunky diamond (or diamante) necklace draped around her neck!
The risqu fashions seen in the 1920s such as short hemlines and excessive makeup paved the way for fashion as we know it today. If it wasn't for the social and political changes that took place in post-war Britain in the 1920s then, who knows, maybe we'd still be donning corsets and petticoats today?!