1920s vs 2020s Fashion

by Karen

How the 1920s Compares To The 2020s - 1920s vs 2020s fashion

A new decade is upon us - 1920s vs 2020s fashion. Despite taking place a century ago, the 1920s was a decade that continues to capture our imagination. The Jazz Age was a stylish era of rebellion, revolutionary fashion, and iconic trends. Our nostalgia about this past decade perhaps hints at our hopes for the decade that lies before us - it seems we're ready to adopt some of the classy, old-fashioned sophistication that has all but disappeared over the last 100 years. Read on to learn more about how these iconic eras compare to one another and see which 1920s trends be making - or are already experiencing - a comeback in the 2020s.

Life During the Jazz Age

When look back at the 1800s and early parts of the 1900s, life seems stuffy. After all, societal expectations were staunch, clothing was uncomfortable, and modesty reigned supreme. During the 1920s, however, society has made impressive strides in nearly every arena. Women gained more rights, strict rules were relaxed, fashion became more fun, and young people sought to start a brand new era. The 1920s were a time of Jazz music and Art Deco design - it was also a time when women were casting off society’s strict expectations. Suddenly, women were cutting their hair, wearing short skirts, applying makeup, and smoking cigarettes. The rise of prohibition, which lasted from 1920 - 1933 , also lead to society drinking and partying perhaps more than ever before. In the 1920s, people were also starting to question society’s strict rules and beginning to cast off old-fashioned notions of what life “should” be like.

Life During The Current “Roaring Twenties”

Our current “Roaring Twenties” looks a little different than the 1920s. With that said, there are surprising similarities that tie the two together. Not unlike in the 1920s, our current society is starting to question the old ways of doing things. Climate change, for example, is a hot-button issue that is causing many advocates to urge companies and individuals alike to do their part when it comes to adopting eco-friendly practices. Although alcohol hasn’t been restricted since Prohibition ended in 1933, our laws surrounding marijuana - a drug that was once taboo and indecent in proper society - are starting to be relaxed and repealed across the country. The 2020s could lead to marijuana becoming legal nation-wide for the first time ever. And just like women were hungry for new ways to express themselves, we’re seeing the LGBT community becoming more comfortable with dressing and acting in ways that were previously unconventional. Trans rights are an issue that is becoming more prevalent in the news, and it is no longer uncommon to see men wearing dresses on runways and red carpets worldwide.

1920s Trends vs. 2020s Trends

As you can see, the 1920s and the 2020s have more in common than you’d think. This is doubly true when it comes to fashion and beauty. While the world has changed drastically, there are some trends that are still alive in - or have merely been reinvented for - contemporary society. Here are a few subtle ways that trends from the 1920s are still relevant 100 years later.


Over-The-Top Embellishments

In the 1920s, women wanted clothing that would look incredible when they took to the dance floor. That’s why intricate beading, uneven hemlines, and other over-the-top design details were prevalent during this decade. It wasn’t uncommon for a fabulous flapper girl to wear a lightweight shift dress that was made of decadent fabrics and accented by a shimmering, beaded overlay when she went out for a night on the town. Wearing eye-catching outfits isn’t something that has gone out of style - in fact, party dresses adorned with scintillating sequins or decadent beading are once again coming back into style. Not unlike 100 years ago, women heading to parties aren’t afraid to dress in head-to-toe sparkles and make a statement when they head out onto the dance floor.

A Focus On Androgyny

Fashion became more comfortable in the 1920s. Along with shorter hemlines and relaxed silhouettes, women started to wear pants for the first time ever. Rebellious fashion designers and taste-makers were unafraid to put a feminine twist on garments that were once considered masculine. High waisted trousers were a stylish staple on the French Riviera. Style stars also made everyday women feel more comfortable about looking fashion-forward in menswear. When Britain’s Dorothy Mackaill wore a tailored tuxedo on the set of 1927’s “The Crystal Cup,” women everywhere wanted to adopt her androgynous look. Today, were seeing a similar trend stake place. This time, however, instead of women wearing menswear we’re seeing men becoming more comfortable wearing garments that are traditionally “female.” On award show red carpets and at the famous Met Gala, there are a host of men who are pushing fashion’s preconceived notions. Recently, television personality Jonathan Van Ness became the first man to wear a dress on the cover of a national magazine. Once again, a focus on androgyny is all the rage.

Fashion Influencers

Although we like to think that the idea of the “Fashion Influencer” is a recent idea - it is actually a trend that began in the 1920s. Movies were becoming a popular form of media in the 1920s. This meant that actresses became who women looked to when it came to fashion trends and styling ideas. Mary Pickford and Greta Garbo were style icons that everyone wanted to emulate. Famous party-girls like Josephine Baker and Louise Brooks also helped usher in new fashion trends, introducing them to women across the globe. Today, the internet and popular apps are driving the way that women look and dress. Despite obvious differences between media now and media 100 years ago, women still look towards actresses and fashion influencers when it comes to curating their wardrobe. Cardi B and Kim Kardashian continue to drive urban fashion trends. On the internet, women like Chiara Ferragni and Lauren Conrad have millions of followers who look to them when it comes to dressing well.

Laidback Athletic Apparel

Sportswear was a concept that first came to life in the 1920s. A brand new interest in leisure activities like tennis, golf, sailing, and swimming meant that women required a special activewear wardrobe when they were participating in these behaviors. Trousers, pleated skirts, preppy cardigans, and Oxford shoes became womenswear staples and lead to fashion becoming a little more casual as the decade went on. Today, the athleisure trend is all the rage. Leggings, designer tennis shoes, and stylish windbreakers are becoming a wardrobe staple for many women. Not unlike in the 1920’s, the 2020’s athleisure trend will lead to wardrobes and work apparel becoming increasingly more casual as the decade wears on.

Hair & Makeup

Unique Hairstyles

“The Bob” was a revolutionary hair cut in the 1920s. A trend influenced by women like Louise Brooks and other popular silver screen actresses, it wasn’t long before women across the country began cropping their hair as well. This stylish haircut was more than just a haircut - it was a way for women to express themselves and cast off society’s strict expectations. Today, were once again seeing women taking more risks when it comes to their hair. In the past few decades, long layered locks and natural highlights were everywhere. In the 2020s, however, we’re expecting to see women once again using their hair to express their point of view. Bright or untraditional colors are becoming popular among women everywhere. Even the 1920s Bob is coming back into fashion, so don’t be surprised to see modern women once again adopting this popular 1920s trend.

Carefully Curated Makeup Looks

Makeup was a brand new concept in the 1920s. That’s perhaps why women were having so much fun creating bold makeup looks during this decade. Ultra-thin eyebrows were carefully drawn on and cute cupid’s bow lips were a trend that could be spotted everywhere. Makeup was a fun form of expression and flappers jumped on this trend wholeheartedly. Today, we’re seeing something very similar happening. While the 1990s and early 2000s were all about creating a “fresh-faced” look, 2020s makeup is anything but subtle. Highlighting, contouring, and fake lashes are incredibly popular - so too are online makeup tutorials that help you perfect your technique. Eyebrows are also in style. Although today we prefer them to be fuller rather than pencil thin, beauty mavens are incredibly concerned about how their brows look - just like they were in the 1920s.

1920s Trends That Are Ready To Make A Comeback

Although it took place nearly 100 years ago, the fashion and beauty from the 1920s continues to captivate. There’s something romantic about this exciting time in history - That’s why we’re expecting many women to start adopting classic 1920s trends back into their wardrobe or beauty routine. Here are the top trends that we could see making a comeback in the 2020s.


Pears are a 1920s staple that have become less and less popular over the last century. With that said, this classic accessory is one that is poised to make a comeback. Don’t be surprised if you start to see statement-making strands of pearls coming back into fashion. They have a timeless look and pair well with every outfit. Start the trend by wearing a simple strand of pearls or elegant pearl earrings with your favorite vintage-inspired outfit.

Stockings & Nylons

There’s something very stylish - and even a little sexy - about stockings and nylons. Although modern women have been more inclined to show their bare legs when they head out of their house, we could easily see nylons becoming a part of our everyday wardrobes. Unlike nylons of the past, pantyhose today is stretchier, more comfortable, and virtually indestructible. Plus, they smooth out everyone’s look to perfection and add a bit of polish to any outfit.

Hats & Accessories

Flappers were obsessed with accessories - especially hats and headbands. While minimalism has been popular for the last few decades, we are already starting to see hair accessories becoming more and more popular. In the 2020s, expect to see headbands and stylish hats making an appearance. To adopt this trend, pair an embellished headband with your evening wear before heading out the door.

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