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The end of World War I brought a new sense of freedom and independence to women in the United States. It was during this decade that the “flapper” emerged, a new type of young American woman whose clothing screamed modernity. Prior to the 1920s, American women aimed to look older than their actual age, but with the implementation of the 19th Amendment in 1919, guaranteeing women’s suffrage, women began to strive to look younger and younger. Women began to wear looser fitting garments while hemlines rose to an unprecedented knee-length level, abandoning the more restricting and uncomfortable fashions of the preceding decades. American women of the 1920s often “bobbed”, or cut, their hair short to fit under the iconic cloche, a snug-fit hat made of felt that was worn tilted in order to cover the forehead and, at times, the ears. The flapper style dress and cloche hat were often worn together, particularly during the latter half of the decade.
American men of the 1920s began to dress less formally than ever before. During the decade, men abandoned suit lapels of the 1910s, opting instead for cuffed trousers, flannel jackets, and two-toned shoes for casual wear. In addition, both men and young boys began wearing short knee pants, known in the U.S. as knickers, topped with lightweight sweaters and casual button-down shirts. Men’s shirts in the 1920s were often made of stripes in a mixture of colors, mainly pastel greens, blues, and yellows, contrasted with a white collar. Bow ties also rose to popularity during this era.
1950s: Post War Era
Between the stock market crash of 1929 and the end of World War II in 1945, fashion trends were forced to take the backseat to more dire international concerns. But by the start of the 1950s, the fashion scene was yet again at the forefront of American culture, perhaps more so than ever before. The decade was marked by economic boom and a giant push towards consumerism, a trend that continues today. Once WWII came to an end, rationing became a thing of the past, as the availability and accessibility of several different types of fabrics became the norm. It was during this decade that department stores gained popularity across the country, providing Americans with access to a wide range of consumer goods.