Way Back When ... 1920

Flappers: Fashion and Freedom, the newest exhibition at the Fairfield Museum, includes displays of vintage clothing from the 1920s. The public is invited to dress in Flapper and Prohibition-era style on Saturday, October 6 for the Museum’s 1920s Swanky Speakeasy party. It will be held at the Museum, 370 Beach Road, from 7-10pm. Tickets are on sale now at https://www.fairfieldhistory.org/events/speakeasy/.

The exhibition includes fascinating information about the changing fashions of that ear. The 1920s brought dramatic changes to women's fashion: shorter skirts, short hair, and more skin showing than ever before. Over the course of a few years hemlines shortened, rising from the ankle to just below the knee by 1926. The dropped waist and simple lines of 1920s dresses, inspired by the straight lines of modernist art, reflected the ease and freedom of the new woman.

High-fashion evening dresses in the 1920s were typically sleeveless; their simple construction contrasted with elaborate ornamentation, such as beading and fringe. Beading started as an accent and later became part of the fabric design. Metal sequins and gold or silver metal embroidery were sometimes used to create the look of beadwork.

With shorter skirts revealing women's feet and legs, shoes took on a new visibility and importance in the 1920s. The new visibility of women's legs made both silk stockings (often rolled just below the knee) and shoes new kinds of fashion statements. Women started buying multiple pairs of shoes to wear with different outfits, including shoes with higher heels. The t-bar shoe, which fastened with a single strap and button, became popular to wear for dancing and evening wear.

To see some original 1920s fashion, shoes, beadwork and more, visit Flappers: Fashion and Freedom at the Fairfield Museum. The exhibition, presented with support from CT Humanities, runs through January of 2019 and is open daily 10am to 4pm. For more information visit Fairfieldhistory.org.

The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10am-4pm. Members of the Museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org. The Fairfield Museum relies on funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Museum is especially grateful for support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, the State of Connecticut, Town of Fairfield and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.