The first popular color in the 1920s was blue, but today most women prefer darker red. (You probably don’t see it much these days, but it’s still popular in the 1920s.) You probably didn’t see color until the Great Depression in the 1930s and 40s when a few women experimented with the use of cosmetics to mask the fact that many people were unemployed, hungry, or living below the poverty level. It was a natural evolution of society to begin with, but we’re no longer there.
“The color red was actually a new color back in the 20th century. It came about in the 1920s,” said Katey Walter, an associate professor of history at Arizona State University. “Many people in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, looked back to that Victorian era — to the color pink. They thought it had great glamour.” That’s how they thought the color would be popular when men were just beginning to think in terms of gender roles.
When society first started to accept women’s choices, some said men could only wear the color blue. But it wasn’t until the Great Depression when women discovered the power of wearing white as a color and decided to embrace it. So many people in the 1920s and 30s wore pale white dresses to represent innocence and to celebrate femininity and freedom at the same time.
“They were creating the color that was popular then, and then they were using that color to create women’s culture,” Walter said.
And there’s another reason women didn’t start wearing red until the 1970s. In the 1920s, they were also experimenting with fashion, shopping, and styling their hair while also wearing makeup. But they were hesitant to embrace red from the beginning.
“In the 1920s and the 30s, people were just trying out cosmetics, seeing what colors worked,” said Katey Walter, an associate professor of history at Arizona State University. “Now, I think that’s a little bit older.”
Walter suggests that red has since become the accepted color that women will wear for a few reasons. Because many women in America did still look to their mothers as a fashion inspiration in the 1920s, it was the color people turned to when they wanted to be dressed in a way that would honor the fashion they had grown up with. It was also a symbol of defiance.
There’s also a long history of women adopting red hair styles.
That was one of the reasons some men
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