In this book I have chosen to focus on their dress which is most popular, and perhaps for good reason.
The traditional flapper dress is an all-American form of dress, in which the dress is typically cut short and the body is more closely covered than it might be in other cultures. The typical flapper silhouette consists of a short, fitted, full skirt, with a rounded top and a slit or banded leg. The skirt is typically quite low, with the bottom a foot or two above the knee. The hem reaches past the hemline, and is usually straight. The dress provides a relatively loose line that is usually worn over stockings and boots, with a high, wide knee high heel. For casual, evening or athletic wear, flappers are rarely seen without their most fashionable dress: a short, straight-legged black skirt paired with a black dress with a plunging neckline. There is nothing more flattering to a flapper than a light jacket and black dress, whether it be with gloves or without, and there is no greater statement then a bright red dress embellished with a white lace waistband and a white pearl pearl inlaid at the front. Most of the women in the 1920s and 1930s wore their own dresses in the same way, so the term “flapper” also appears quite frequently in these same letters.
What do the flappers do as members of society? The flappers were able to live very much as they want to, which was not the case for most of society. When Americans lived under the tyranny of the Gold Rush, they were required to work 10 hour shifts, wear white for most of the day, and have their families feed and clothing them every two or three days. American businessmen and professionals, though, were free to enjoy themselves and enjoy the finer things in life, while citizens were expected to work two to three hours per day to support their families. In the 1920s, while much of society was getting better off, America was in a recession and flappers had nothing to do except sit around doing nothing and wearing dresses.
In the end, flappers’ lives went relatively well. The flappers who found themselves without access to any formal education found work in the arts. The flappers who were not able to get married, or were not considered as “civilized” or of a suitable social group, did not find success in the arts. Still, their freedom and success were certainly a testament of their creative skills.