Be a Girl in Spirit, but a Woman in Principle….. Great advice from ‘An Old Flapper’…
One of our lovely Charm School Debutants found this when cleaning her Aunt’s things when she went into a nursing home in the US. Thank you Fern for sharing a piece of your Aunts history….
With all the flap about Flappers and the New Jazz Age at the moment, I thought I would share with you a bit of the history the fun and the fashion that came with the era. Of course, we today, can romanticise and take from the past the best bits the fashion, fun and anecdotes, but also remember the pain, hardship and suffering our foremothers went through to break from the ironsides and take hold of this new generation and flap their way into a new future for women.. funnily enough it was labelled back then as “The Younger Generation”… and today we label the current generation as Gen “Y” .. Coincidence? *Wink*
In the 1920s, a new woman was born. She smoked, drank, danced, and voted. She cut her hair, wore make-up, and went to petting parties. She was giddy and took risks. She was a flapper.
In the June 1922 edition of the Atlantic Monthly, G. Stanley Hall described looking in a dictionary to discover what the evasive term “flapper” meant:
[T]he dictionary set me right by defining the word as a fledgling, yet in the nest, and vainly attempting to fly while its wings have only pinfeathers; and I recognized that the genius of ‘slanguage’ had made the squab the symbol of budding girlhood.
The Flappers’ image consisted of drastic – to some, shocking – changes in women’s clothing and hair. Nearly every article of clothing was trimmed down and lightened in order to make movement easier.
It is said that girls “parked” their corsets when they were to go dancing. The new, energetic dances of the Jazz Age, required women to be able to move freely, something the “ironsides” didn’t allow. Replacing the pantaloons and corsets were underwear called “step-ins.”
The outer clothing of flappers is even still extremely identifiable. This look, called “garconne” (“little boy”), was instigated by Coco Chanel. To look more like a boy, women tightly wound their chest with strips of cloth in order to flatten it. The waists of flapper clothes were dropped to the hipline. She wore stockings – made of rayon (“artificial silk”) starting in 1923 – which the flapper often wore rolled over a garter belt.
The hem of the skirts also started to rise in the 1920s. At first the hem only rose a few inches, but from 1925 to 1927 a flapper’s skirt fell just below the knee.
The short haircut was called the “bob” which was later replaced by an even shorter haircut, the “shingle” or “Eton” cut. The shingle cut was slicked down and had a curl on each side of the face that covered the woman’s ears. Flappers often finished the ensemble with a felt, bell-shaped hat called a cloche.
Flappers also started wearing make-up, something that had previously been only worn by loose women. Rouge, powder, eye-liner, and lipstick became extremely popular.
Beauty is the fashion in 1925. She is frankly, heavily made up, not to imitate nature, but for an altogether artificial effect – pallor mortis, poisonously scarlet lips, richly ringed eyes. – the latter looking not so much debauched (which is the intention) as diabetic.
The 1920s was the Jazz Age and one of the most popular past-times for flappers was dancing. Dances such as the Charleston, Black Bottom, and the Shimmy were considered “wild” by older generations. As described in the May 1920 edition of the Atlantic Monthly, flappers “trot like foxes, limp like lame ducks, one-step like cripples, and all to the barbaric yawp of strange instruments which transform the whole scene into a moving-picture of a fancy ball in bedlam.” For the Younger Generation, the dances fit their fast-paced life-style.
*NB* If you know me then you know I am a passionate Lindy Hopper (Swing Dancer) and this is where the best of the best of dancing all started for me… All heil to the Jazz Musicians of the times as well as the Flappers to bring such joy in music and dance….
The of the Hilarious Flapper Vernacular:
Clothesline: One who tells neighbourhood stories
Fluky: Funny, odd, Different
Goof: Flappers Sweetheart
Half Cut: Happily Intoxicated
Kippy: Neat or Nice
Cat’s Pajamas: Anything that is Good
Dingledangler: One who persists in telephoning
Petting Party: Social Event devoted to hugging
Snugglepup: Young Man who frequents Petting Parties..
Some Solo Charleston & Burlesque workshops coming up in the Studio:
Now our studio is finished we are starting to activate it more and more offering different workshops. The space is suitable for so many things and we are now starting to explore what works and what doesn’t. Coming up in the Studio over the next few months will be: