A part of the Roaring Twenties, the “flapper” was how a young woman sought to define herself. A flapper enjoyed being seen in public, liked to be considered part of the “in” social setting, and openly embraced flouting the more traditional definitions of femininity. The attire of the flapper played a vital role in defining her – one seeking to capture the feeling of freedom. This favored attire consisted of a shapeless or dropwaist sheath dress with beading, fringe or soft draping on one side. The movement of some fringe or a few tiers of chiffon made dresses swish and jingle while dancing “the Charleston” thereby drawing the attention that a flapper desired.
The dress featured is a black custom-made frock that displays the soft side draping on a sleeveless sheath with a modest v-shaped neckline. It features a popular style of self-tie and is dripping in generous lampshade fringe. Pretty and tiny, the 1920’s beaded flapper bags were highly decorated to match the beautiful dresses. A thing of beauty, this hand-beaded purse was far from being practical. It was needed only to carry a few necessities – a makeup compact, a few dollars, and cigarettes (gasp!). A shawl, wrap, or large scarf was usually worn to provide the smallest amount of modesty. This black silk scarf features lace with long fringe that perfectly accentuates the fringe of the dress.
Women of the 1920’s were trendy young ladies who danced the night away in the most fashion forward clothing of the day. Evening dresses were designed to show as much skin as was morally acceptable. The evening attire featured showcases a pink silk underslip covered by a loose fitting gold sequined slipover. Typical of the Gatsby style, this exquisite handmade gown was definitely made to “stand out” in the crowd. Evening wear of the era was noted for elaborate beaded, fringed, hand-painted scarves and evening shawls inspired by the styles of the Orient. This luscious scarf made of gold silk features intricate embroidery and long strands of fringe. Scarves, shawls, and wraps were works of art—affordable only to the upper class.
The roaring twenties will forever be remembered as the decade of flappers. Free of the moral and physical constraints of the previous decades, the clothing was loose but glamorous. The transformative ladies took great care while preparing for their ‘Dash to the Bash”.
The Hartsville Museum was pleased to provide two dresses from our collection to be featured at the recent “Dancing with the Stars” fund-raiser. The event was held at the Center Theater on January 28, 2016.