A History of 1920s Hollywood Fashion

A look back at the style that punctuated the movies of the Roaring Twenties

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I was originally going to start this series off at the 1940 mark, but then I realized there’s unfortunately a lot of similarities between previous decades, and what we have gone through these past couple of years. The 1920s were an interesting period because it was directly after the 1918 Flu Pandemic, but right before The Great Depression which started in 1929.

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Back then especially, the state of the world was heavily reflected in the types of films being made, and you could even say it had an impact on fashion as well. As we go through the decades with this series, you’ll begin to see the correlation of how storytelling and fashion changed based on what was occurring in the world.

That’s why it’s important to start with the 1920s. This period is when film really began to blossom, and because the pandemic had just come to a close, people were ready to dress up, party, and have a good time. The 20s were also the official start of the silent film era (which in my opinion has some of the best acting performances ever because you had to act solely with body language and facial expressions), and the early beginnings of the rise of major film studios.

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As far as the fashion goes, there’s a reason why the decade is called “The Roaring Twenties.” The 20s were a mixture of glamour and laidback styles, expensive and lesser fabrics, and extravagance that was both rich and simple. The women donned dresses 24/7, but saved their best and most fancy for cocktail hours (which occurred between 6pm and 8pm).

If creative enough, they could even wear their cocktail dresses during the day if they could find a way to tone them down so to speak. The Cloche Hat was also a major staple in womenswear during this time, along with stockings, pearl necklaces, and T-strap heels. Jazz music also had a heavy influence in fashion during this time.

As for the men, they mostly wore suit jackets complete with single or double-vested breasts, bow ties, top hats, and tailored coats for the cooler days and nights.

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So now that we’ve gone into the history of film and fashion, let’s jump into some of the best movies of that era. We’ve got eight to get you started.

1. 7th Heaven


2. The Taming of the Shrew


3. Don Juan


4. The Prisoner of Zenda


5. The Cock-Eyed World


6. Chicago


7. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


8. The Iron Horse


Don’t just watch these movies we selected! There’s so many more 1920s era films that are captivating. Be on the lookout for the next installment of our series which will chronicle the 1930s.

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