Happy Halloween week! Ok so Halloween is really only one day, not a whole week, but this flapper look still seems like a good way to kick off the upcoming festivities. It's been awhile since I tried to do a 1920s look, but when Unique Vintage asked if I'd like to style one of their gorgeously detailed flapper dresses I leapt at the chance. From the second you pull it out of the box you know this is not your average flapper costume; my dress is so beautifully beaded giving the dress a real weight and it feels incredibly glamorous on. I can not sing the praise of this dress too much--and it survived all of my getting ready and dancing around for these pictures without losing a single bead! Since the dress is so gorgeous I knew I had to step-up the look's execution; my usual makeup and hair would not do. So I styled my hair in a faux bob (tutorial coming soon), went heavy on the eyeshadow, and even did a bit of "the Charleston" for the pictures. While I love the 1920s, I don't usually dress in this era's style, but after channeling it for this shoot I sort of feel inspired to play with a 1920s inspired look more often.
I thought I'd share some pictures from the 1920s and information as a reference for a historically accurate 1920s look (mine isn't perfect--wrong stockings). My favorite 1920s actress is Clara Bow; the original "It Girl" (seriously the term came into being after she starred in a film called "It"). When you see Clara Bow on screen she's all hyper activity and wild flashing eyes; to me that is so quintessentially 1920s. If you look at film stars from the 1930s they tend to be so slinky in their scenes; all curves and slow movements. Flappers are high energy and less polished--moviegoers liked to see the everyday girl rather than a glamazon, someone with rolled stockings fighting her way up. Beauty notes: lots of emphasis on the eyes, but a rounded shape (no winged eyeliner), dark doll-like lips known as a "cupid's bow" best achieved by filling in the outer edges of your lips with foundation, long thin (but not too thin) eyebrows, and round blush on the cheeks. For accessories: small hats (cloches) that suit shorter hairstyles more epitomize this era, ornate headpieces also work, gloves with daytime looks but not with evening dresses, shoes with straps and low heels that imitate dancing shoes (t-straps, brogues, etc), and sheer or patterned or colorful stockings but not with back seams or dark opaque tights (back seams came into popularity in the 1930s). Long necklaces were also popular and a lot of pieces had Art Deco inspired details (the dress I'm wearing in this post is very Art Deco in design). Dresses: drop waist and chemise or shift styles and hemlines should hit just below the knee. As with every era there's a little overlap with looks from the era before as not everyone adapts to the new style instantaneously, but that's where looking at pictures and films from the time is important rather than modern movies trying to re-create period costumes and imitate past stars. When you see a film interpreting the past it's usually a caricature of the loudest elements, when you look at vintage photographs you get a feel for how things really were. Films from the 1920s to watch for inspiration: Pandora's Box, Speedy, Way Down East, and The Kid (classic Charlie Chapman).