The over-elaborate Art Nouveau styles of jewellery came to an end in the 1920s, making way for more simple styles, and this included all types of jewellery, from rings and bracelets, to necklaces and earrings. Another thing that came to an end at that time was the idea of having to wear your expensive jewellery as a display of your wealth.
Costly precious gems and metals were replaced with semi-precious stones and plastics, and you were considered overdressed if you wore any type of jewellery at all. Jewellery was only worn on special occasions, and it was socially acceptable to go without any at all while you went about your normal daily activities.
This was an enormous change from before WWI when displays of wealth were everything to society. Costume jewellery became fashion then and was a transformation that changed the jewellery industry forever.
The most recognisable jewellery piece of the 1920s was the long pearl necklace, although not all of them were single-strand and long. Instead, it was highly fashionable to wear layers of pearl necklaces in a range of lengths, from 60 inches and longer. Longer necklaces were popular in the earlier part of the 1920s and became shorter in the latter part of that decade.
Fake Cultured Pearls
These pearls were way less expensive than the real thing, and were of good quality too, making them items of jewellery that were affordable to all women. Fake pearls also came in interesting light pastel shades too, instead of the plain white colour of real pearls. Pastel green, pink, grey, and blue pearls were extremely popular with teenagers.
Long Beaded Necklaces
With their round, faceted stones in art deco colours of red, black, green, and white, were just as popular as pearls. Whether they matched the outfit you were wearing didn’t matter at all, because it was incredibly fashionable to wear colours that clashed. Everybody could afford to buy the mass-produced jewellery made from Lucite or Bakelite beads and it was virtually impossible to tell whether it was genuine or not.
Dog Collar Necklaces
With their big, triangle, square, pointed oval, or trapezoid stones in heavy settings, that wrapped tightly against the base of the neck, were also highly fashionable during the 1920s. Although some people referred to them as chokers, they were worn too low down on the neck to be a true choker. Also known by its more modern name, the bib necklace, it usually consisted of bold Art Deco colours, and black onyx was extremely fashionable. Dog collar necklaces never looked like anything realistic, as they were inspired by cubism.
In the 1920s women’s necks were fully exposed, thanks to short hair and cloche hats, and what better way to flaunt the naked neck, than with a pair of stunning drop earrings? These pieces consisted of small diamonds or rhinestones, set in two to three inch long, filigree-designed columns.
Semi-precious stones like coral, turquoise, jade, marcasite, agate, carnelian, and onyx, were worn during the day, as it was deemed uncouth to wear diamonds in the daytime. Silverplate, sterling silver, zinc, and nickel were used to resemble white gold if silver was too expensive. On formal occasions, earrings normally matched the headband or hair clip the woman was wearing, and if the hair could cover the ears, it was fashionable to cover one ear and wear an earring in the exposed ear.
It was the “in thing” to wear as many bracelets as possible during the 1920s. These jewellery items were made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, shell, bone, and thin wood, with some of them having gems inset in the middle, in the patterns and colours of tribal art of Africa. Also popular were bangles shaped like snakes, very much like the slave bangles worn by Cleopatra. Wearing an array of bracelets caused a clicking sound, which meant that people were heard, rather than seen by the surrounding company.
In the 1920s, the trendy Art Nouveau filigree casings surrounding precious gems were still incredibly popular, despite many rings taking on Art Deco shapes. However, the shapes of stones were oval, rectangle, or square, during this time, rather than the traditional cuts. Some rings stood higher on the finger, especially when not wearing gloves. Birthstones, rather than diamonds, were extremely fashionable in everyday rings.
Fashion Accessories Of The 1920’s
In the 1920s a woman’s wardrobe consisted of a variety of different accessories, with two of the most iconic being the cloche hat and flapper dress. The wide-brimmed hats of the previous decade were replaced with cloche hats, and long, straight, shapeless coats were highly fashionable.
Cloche hats were ideal for the new, short hairstyles. They were snug-fitting, covered the ears, and sometimes the hair as well, and were often worn tilted forward to cover the forehead. It was fashionable in the latter part of that decade, to wear flapper dresses with cloche hats.
Rather than being simply a dress, the flapper style was a symbol of the entire lifestyle of that decade. These dresses were cut in a straight, loose style, with the length and waistline of the dress varying from time to time, during the decade.
Styles Other Than Cloche Hats And Flapper Dresses
Clothing styles went beyond the cloche and flapper, however, with more casual clothing styles being introduced to the public. For instance, women started wearing slacks more often, and some styles of lady’s shoes were unique to the 1920s too, such as the T-bar shoe, shoes trimmed with sequins and other materials, and the ankle strap button shoe.
Clothing For Men
Clothing for men, became more casual, and it was now too, that more and more men stopped wearing full suits with long jackets for special occasions and replacing them with shorter jackets for casual events. Suit lapels were narrower in the 1920’s – a trend that began from 1914 to 1918, during WWI.
Flannel became popular, cuffed trousers became trendy, as well as two-toned tan and white, or black and white shoes for casual occasions. Casual shoes were also made with winged tips and/or fringed tongues, with patent leather shoes still being preferred for formal events. Lace-up shoes were also becoming more popular. Knee-length pants, together with sweaters, were popular with boys and men, as were Fair Isle slipovers and casual shirts, with canvas shoes becoming the norm for boys.
Children’s Clothing In The 1920’s
Another significant change in the clothing styles during the 1920s was the baby’s clothing designs becoming more practical. More casual, comfortable short dresses and rompers, for instance, replaced the more formal frilly, laced dresses and other formal wear for boys. Styles for older girls changed too and included clothing items such as cardigan sweaters, cotton dresses, and canvas sandals or shoes.