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“Socio economic changes that occurred during the First World War 1914-18 and became accepted, changed the role of women in a way that no amount of campaigning by a few liberated ladies could have achieved.” (Thomas)  “In the 1920s, a new woman was born.  She smoked, drank, danced, and voted.  She cut her hair, wore make-up, and went to petting parties.  She was giddy and took risks.  She was a flapper” (Rosenberg)

“The Flappers’ image consisted of drastic-to some, shocking-changes in women’s clothing and hair.  Nearly every article of clothing was trimmed down and lightened in order to make movement easier.” (Rosenberg)  “A fashionable flapper had short sleek hair, a shorter than average shapeless shift dress, a chest as flat as a board, wore make up and applied it in public, smoked with a long cigarette holder, exposed her limbs and epitomized the spirit of a reckless rebel who danced the nights way in the Jazz Age.” (Thomas)  The French called the flapper fashion style the “garconne’. (Thomas)

“High fashion until the twenties had been for the richer women of society.  But because construction of the flapper’s dress was less complicated than earlier fashions, women were much more successful at home dressmaking a flapper dress which was a straight shift.  It was easier to produce up the date plain flapper fashions quickly using flapper fashion Butterick dress patterns.

“The hem of the skirts also started to rise in the 1920s.  At first the hem only rose a few inches, but from 1925 to 1927 a flappers skirt fell just below the knee” (Rosenberg)  “The Gibson Girl, who prided herself on her long, beautiful, lush hair, was shocked when the flapper cut hers off.  The short hair was called the “bob” which was later replaced by an even shorter haircut, the “shingle” or “Eton” cut.  The shingle cut was slicked down and had a curl on each side of the face that covered the woman’s ears.” (Rosenberg)  “The Eton crop was considered daring and shocked some older citizens, since hair had always been thought a woman’s crowning glory.  Flappers often finished the ensemble with a felt, bell-shaped hat called a cloche.” (Rosenberg)

Flapper Attitude

 “The flapper attitude was characterized by stark truthfulness, fast living, and sexual behavior.  Flappers seemed to cling to youth as if it were to leave them at any moment.  They took risks and were reckless.  They wanted to be different, to announce their departure from the Gibson Girl’s morals.  So they smoked.  Something only men had done previously.  Their parents were shocked.” (Rosenberg)

“Smoking wasn’t the most outrageous of the flapper’s rebellious actions.  Flappers drank alcohol.  At a time when the United States had outlawed alcohol (Prohibition), young women were starting the habit early.  Some even carried hip-flasks full so as to have in on hand.  More than a few adults didn’t like to see tipsy young women.”(Rosenberg)

The 1920’s was the Jazz Age and one of the most popular past-times for flappers was dancing.  Dances such as the Charleston, Black Bottom and the Shimmy were considered “wild” by older generations.  For the Younger Generation, the dances fit their fast-paced life-style.” (Rosenberg)

“A new form of transportation was becoming popular.  Henry Ford’s innovations were making the automobile an accessible commodity to the people.  Cars were fast and risky-perfect for the flapper attitude.  Flappers not only insisted on riding in them; they drove them. “ (Rosenberg)

“Unfortunately for their parents, flappers didn’t just use cars to ride in.  The back seat became a popular location for the new popular sexual activity petting.  Others hosted petting parties.  Though their attire was modeled after little boys’ outfits, flappers flaunted their sexuality.  It was a radical change from their parents’ and grandparents’ generation. (Rosenberg)


Rosenberg, J. (n.d.). Flappers in the Roaring Twenties. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from About.com: http://history1900s.about.com/od/1920s/a/flappers.htm

Thomas, P. W. (n.d.). Flapper Fashion 1920s C20th Fashion History. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from Fashion-Era.com: http://www.fashion-era.com/flapper_fashion_1920s.htm


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