With Boardwalk Empire in full swing and the history of Atlantic City fresh on our minds, let’s take a look at the fashion trends from the 1920s and how they relate to modern day America. It seems as though some of the ’20s trends are making their way back in today’s fashion world, but with more of a modern twist. To confirm these suspicions, I asked a few fashion experts.
Gina LaMorte, celebrity stylist and CEO of Boho magazine (bohomag.com), definitely agrees. She sees a lot of fringe, feathers and Art-Deco styles represented in today’s fashions. When asked if she felt people dressed nicer back in the ’20s than they do today, LaMorte says the comparison isn’t really possible.
“I don’t believe you can compare a decade like the ’20s to today,” she says. “Society was completely different. Clearly there was much more formality in terms of design and dressing as opposed to today where we are a completely liberal and informal society. Women’s roles were entirely different [back then].”
LaMorte says that trends come back because fashion in general is cyclical. Designers are inspired by the past and reinterpret their visions for the future, but there will always be a slight difference whether it’s a button, fabrication or silhouette. As for today’s fashion, although trends change and come back, according to LaMorte, our world has become more free and, therefore, more casual. There are no longer any fashion rules. Fashion, or as she says, “style,” is completely individual as opposed to decades past when there were clear-cut styles and trends, which categorized people into classes.
LaMorte says that her favorite decade fashion-wise was the 1960s. “Fashion discovered its freedom during that time,” she says. “Formalities disappeared and denim was first introduced. Where would we all be without our favorite pair of jeans?”
Another local fashionista, Yen Shakleford, graduated from The Art Institute of Philadelphia and attended London’s Intercontinental School of Design. She feels that not only are some fashion trends from the ’20s coming back, but also hair and make-up styles as well. Danni Eafrati, owner and head stylist at Art Is Salon in Brigantine, agrees.
“People ask for styles from many different eras,” says Eafrati, adding that he’s seen modern versions of the ’20s look leaving his salon. “There are so many trends right now, so individuality is the key.”
Like LaMorte, Shakleford agrees that we live in a very eclectic time where everyone has their own unique style and taste to represent their personality. Back in the ’20s, she says, everyone was very well dressed and even people who couldn’t afford expensive clothing looked nice. It was an era where people took the time to care about their dress and presentation. Nowadays, she says, it’s not uncommon to roll out of bed in your pajamas and go shopping.
Shakleford says most people don’t realize that the economy and politics of a certain period can affect fashion. During the ’20s there were big changes, especially during the women suffrage movement, and women wanted to show their independence by moving towards more loose-fitting dresses, and clothing that was more comfortable for their bodies rather than what men wanted them to wear — such as the torturous corset. Plus, during that same period, the Chanel fashion empire starting to thrive, and a lot of patterns and designs were inspired by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, so anything Egyptian was in style — especially Egyptian cotton. Natural materials were used to make clothes, as polyester and spandex didn’t exist until the modern era. Clothes were made to fit you, whereas today you have to fit yourself into the clothes!
Shakleford advises those who may be trying to start their own trend: “Be true to yourself and wear what makes you comfortable. Don’t let other people mold your style. Let your personality speak for you and the rest will follow.”
Fashions throughout the decades have changed so much, but the one constant is personal preference.
So, what’s your fashion style?
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.