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Get Costumed for Donner Avec Amour! Art Deco and 20’s Parisian Fashion Inspiration

Happy Halloween!! To keep you in a festive mood, and help you get ready for the big event on November 14, the Get Hitched, Give Hope crew has put together a fabulous visual guide to Art Deco and 1920s-era Parisian costumes and makeup. Read on to see what we’re wearing and how we’re wearing it!

Forward Fashion


Norma Talmadge and Elisabeth Gabriele of Bavaria, Queen of Belgium, creative commons licensing

According to Wikipedia, “The 1920s is the decade in which fashion entered the modern era. It was the decade in which women first abandoned the more restricting fashions of past years and began to wear more comfortable clothes (such as short skirts or trousers). Men also abandoned highly formal daily attire and even began to wear athletic clothing for the first time. The suits men wear today are still based, for the most part, on those worn in the late 1920s.”

The Ladies

Clothing fashions changed with women’s changing roles in society, particularly with the idea of new fashion. Although society matrons of a certain age continued to wear conservative dresses, the sportswear worn by forward-looking and younger women became the greatest change in post-war fashion. The tubular dresses of the ‘teens had evolved into a similar silhouette that now sported shorter skirts with pleats, gathers, or slits to allow motion. The most memorable fashion trend of the “Roaring ’20s” was undoubtedly “the flapper” look. The flapper dress was functional and flattened the bust line rather than accentuating it.

The straight-line chemise topped by the close-fitting cloche hat became the uniform of the day. Women “bobbed”, or cut, their hair short to fit under the popular hats, a radical move in the beginning, but standard by the end of the decade. Low-waisted dresses with fullness at the hemline allowed women to literally kick up their heels in new dances like the Charleston. In 1925, “shift” type dresses with no waistline emerged. At the end of the decade, dresses were being worn with straight bodices and collars. Tucks at the bottom of the bodices were popular, as well as knife-pleated skirts with a hem approximately one inch below the knee.

For the first time in centuries, women’s legs were seen with hemlines rising to the knee and dresses becoming more fitted. A more masculine look became popular, including flattened breasts and hips, short hairstyles such as the bob cut, Eton crop and the Marcel wave. The fashion was bohemian and forthcoming for its age.

The Get Hitched, Give Hope girls have a fabulous treasure trove full of sequined and fringed gowns, long and short, headbands and cloche hats, and dazzling jewels.


The Gentlemen

In menswear there were two distinct periods in the 1920s. Throughout the decade, men wore short suit jackets, the old long jackets being used merely for formal occasions. In the early 1920s, men’s fashion was characterized by extremely high-waisted jackets, often worn with belts. Lapels on suit jackets were not very wide as they tended to be buttoned up high. […] Trousers were relatively narrow and straight and they were worn rather short so that a man’s socks often showed. Trousers also began to be worn cuffed at the bottom at this time.

Men’s fashion also became less regimented and formal. Men favored short jackets with two or three buttons rather than jackets with long tailcoats as well as pinstriped suits.

And for the GHGH gentlemen, the classic and classy suited look!


Painted Faces

The 1920’s was a revolutionary era for women’s makeup, especially in Paris. Prior to that time, only prostitutes commonly wore makeup, and buying lipstick, eye coal, and cheek rogue required the same kind of secrecy as knocking on the back door of a speakeasy.

All of this changed with the popularization of silent films and idolization of silent film stars, known for their iconic dark eyes, slanted brows, and “cupid’s bow” lip. Makeup in the early 20’s was also influenced by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, which set off a worldwide fascination with the Egyptian culture that had a dramatic effect on fashion, makeup, art, and other culture trends.

Modern marketing and technology for makeup had not yet been developed, so women had to get crafty to create a finished look. Mascara was comprised of petroleum jelly dipped in coal powder, the same ingredient used to create eyeshadow. The average Parisian woman’s makeup routine looked a little something like this…

Skin color was a pale neutral but never light than the woman’s actual skin color, commonly applied as a combination of liquid and powder foundations.

Eyebrows were a defining feature of the era. They were plucked and painted very thin. The common brow was downward sloping and extremely dark in color.

On the cheeks, rouge was the rage; it was never referred to as blush. In earlier times rouge was a messy liquid, but in the early 20’s powders and creams became en vogue. Rouge came in soft pink and raspberry shades, and was only worn on the apple of the cheek. Blending was not popular, so women wore their blush in a perfect circle.

Eye makeup was extremely limited in variety in the 1920’s, but that didn’t keep women from wearing a bold smoky look. Soot or coal was used as shadow and applied over the entire upper and lower lid. Around 1923 it was common for women to exaggerate their eyeshadow by winging it out, in the fashion of the ancient Egyptians.

The silhouette of a woman’s lips is probably the most notable makeup trend in the 1920’s. In 1915 Maurice Levy invented lipstick tubes, which made lip color available to the masses. A shapely mouth was considered sexy, and so women began using stencils to create the perfect “cupid’s bow,” a heart shaped mouth. Thanks to vampy movie stars such as Clara Bow and Theda Bara, dark shades of purple and deep red were desired by women everywhere.


Actress Louise Brooks and Actress Elaine Hammerstein, creative commons licensing

Check out this fresh makeup inspiration from Megan Bingham of Offwhite Beauty, who also wrote the blurb on 1920s makeup above!


Photography by Lucas Mobley

Now that you’ve been informed and inspired, find your look at a local vintage shop, or get fancy and head to Nordstrom to shape up your night on the town a la Get Hitched, Give Hope! See you November 14th!!

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