Ah, the '20s. Immigration is restricted and alcohol is prohibited in the United States. The Ku Klux Klan, communism and fascism are on the rise. Mickey Mouse, sci-fi comics and commercial radio are born. Fashion enters the modern era, and flapper girls challenge cultural and social norms.
As we enter another decade of the '20s, some of these historical milestones feel more relevant than others. Fittingly, New Year's Eve celebrations everywhere are throwing things back a century, at least in style and party culture.
If you choose to embrace the look and feel of the 1920s, consider the following tips shared by Spokane-based vintage fashion expert Fay Ripley of Red Leaf Vintage.
Ripley's foray into the world of vintage fashion began with her love of the 1920s' looks. At one point, she counted more than 100 original pieces and textile samples from the decade in her personal collection. Today, her vintage brand focuses on mid-century-era clothing, which is more durable and easier to come by.
"It was a rebellious time," Ripley notes. "[Young women's] mothers were in that Victorian era — the prim-and-proper, nip and tuck of everything to be a certain shape. And then in the '20s it was straight and flat and drop waist and more comfortable."
Since authentic 1920s-era dresses and other clothing are hard to find (also expensive) and incredibly fragile considering their age, Ripley says wearing a reproduction piece is completely acceptable.
"Whenever I tell someone going to a party — and it hurts me to say this — just go to Amazon," she says.
Or, look for '20s-inspired silhouettes that made comebacks in the 1960s and 1980s.
If authenticity is your goal, consider that while most photos of '20s looks are black and white, clothing of the era was actually quite colorful, Ripley notes.
Dresses with heavy fringes, a popular feature in reproductions, however, are less accurate, she adds. Most formal pieces were heavily beaded, embroidered or featured layers of sheer, embellished fabrics. Hemlines for formalwear hit at the calf or just below the knee (not above), and were often scalloped or asymmetrical.
Don't forget about accessories: A headband or cloche hat, long necklaces, T-strap pumps and an embellished clutch. Tuck up long hair into a faux bob and accentuate your cupid's bow with dark lipstick. ♦