Recently I have been expanding my historical research to the interwar period for a couple of writing projects. So I have had reason to study more seriously what exactly was worn. This has become a daily visual feasting on the pages of Fiell and Dirix's Fashion Sourcebook 1920s. My character is going to such and such an event - I flick through the book and mentally dress her in the appropriate outfit. The subdivisions are fascinating. They had dresses for day, evening, bridge, tennis, afternoon, sports, 'the country', city, travelling, 'Spa Towns', Easter, cocktail, walking, for the races, mourning, bathing, motoring, as well as the more obvious seasonal wardrobes.
I think what draws me to these clothes falls into three parts. First, the clothes frame either the wearer or the fabric - it is fashion as artist's canvas. The hats - especially the famous cloche - do a great job in setting off the features of the models, emphasising character in the expression, not overwhelmed by a fussy hairstyle or wig.
Secondly, they seem so wearable. Perhaps this is the first period in history where I wouldn't mind having to live in the clothes. The brassiere was invented around then, saying goodbye to that old favourite of female torture-by-fashion: the corset.
|My grandmother, Aline, photo from 1933
Do you have a favourite period for fashion? Do leave a comment and let me know.
P.S. Want to win a free copy of one of my books? Just tell me who you would choose from history to join you on a round the world balloon journey. Post your suggestions here. Closing date 31 July 2012.