The 1920’s was most certainly a ‘decade of decadence’, with WWI over, everyone was celebrating. Everything was about the American Dream, and living life to its full potential.
Some of the biggest events of the 1920’s were the invention of the radio and cinema, The Jazz Age was another name for the roaring 20s, which included Black movement with the dance, fashion and music trends influenced by other races. Prohibition of alcohol set up years of bootlegging and organised crime. Also, the 1929 stock market crash that led to the Great Depression.
The 20’s had a colossal difference to the previous decade, especially in fashion. The Jazz and Blues music brought on the creation of a new dance – The Charleston. In the 20’s women had the right to vote, due to their help during the war, and years of protesting and outrageous behaviour. The 20s was famous for it’s decked out parties. With and abundance of money, why not throw a party all weekend, every weekend?! I mean … a little party never killed nobody…
After the first world war, everything boomed. There was more money available to spend. The roaring 20’s was more about fun than anything else. The picture above is a quote from The Great Gatsby and it tells us that everything moved faster and everyone was free from the confinement of the pre-war mannerisms.
During the 20s it was illegal to manufacture, sell or transport alcohol, but not to drink it! Who made that law?! Speakeasies were illicit clubs where liquor was available. Police officers, governors and people who were meant to support prohibition often went to these speakeasies to drink. They were similar to modern day clubs, except you can now legally buy liquor providing you are over 18. Prohibition was seen as the solution to America’s crime, violence, abuse towards women and children and other problems but it was quite the opposite. Al Capone – a famous bootlegger – is estimated to have made $60 million in alcohol sales every year! That would be worth billions of dollars today! The punishments for anyone caught drinking were very harsh.
Stock market crash of Tuesday October 24th 1929. People stopped buying shares in companies. Shares are where you buy or invest in part of a company so that you own a bit. So people and companies stopped earning money which meant people couldn’t pay their workers, then people lost their jobs and then couldn’t feed their families. Most of the world went into extreme poverty.
Women’s fashion was seriously revolutionised. Shorter dresses, makeup was socially acceptable, masculine figures, backless dresses, knee length skirts and dresses and bobs were all new fashions of the time. For men polo shirts, vest and jumpers were adopted from Oxford scholars, with wide legged pants, more casual clothing and slicked back hair.
(Photo credit: Unknown)
Prior to the 20s, men’s fashion was black and white. The pants were tight fitting, they collars were stiff and sat just under the chin. After the war, rations and restrictions, more colourful clothing was adopted. Bow ties were brought into fashion, vests and jumpers were more common, and men wore wider legged pants. White was very fashionable. Men’s swimwear had barely any difference.
(Photo credit: Unknown)
1910s corsets formed a tiny waist by squeezing in a girl’s organs. Girls and women often fainted as it squeezed their ribs and vital organs. It was designed to accentuate women’s shape. The 20s bandeau was designed to compress and contain. It allowed much more free movement like dancing. Edwardian women were not allowed to show any skin during their day, only their faces. In the evenings they might’ve worn more exposing dresses. During the 20s women could wear shorter skirts and sleeves and necklines. Edwardian women were practically fully clothed. In the 20s women wore a one piece body suit – similar to racing suits today.
In the 1920’s, discrimination was a lot more common as people felt less confined in their ability to have more freedom of speech and actions.
“It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these … other races will have control of things.” – is a quote from The Great Gatsby stating that white people have to be in charge, and it hints at the fact that the other race won’t be capable of handling that power.
People would tease the gays during the depression to make themselves feel better, especially as the war left many men with issues such as PTSD, as well as being discriminated themselves because they survived and thousands of others didn’t. The first gay rights organisation was founded in 1924. The word ‘fag’ was officially used as a derogatory term for gays in the 1920’s.
What is your favourite thing about the 1920s?