La Belle Epoque is what the time from the late 1800s to WWI is called. This was an era when Paris was the center of the world - a time of hope in the future, technologic progress and a flowering culture, the peak of luxury living for a select few.
During daytime high necks were what women wore, but at night the neckline fell drastically. No cleavage was shown though, and the breasts were squeezed together by the S-bent corset into a monobosom.
|Dress designed by Paul Poiret|
In the last years before WWI the silhouette straightened out when longer line corsets became fashionable. Clothes became more fluid and soft. Paul Poiret - whose design can be seen in the picture above - also created the first outfit which women could put on without the help of a maid!
With the slimmed down silhouette came the wide brimmed hats - the Merry Widows! Feathers were used in abundance to decorate these hats and boas. Around the shoulders was often seen wrapped stolas of whole animals, such as foxes.
Kid gloves were worn outside, but gloves made of suede or silk, covered in embroidery were also popular, as well as the still very fashionable parasol. As ladies carried very little money and didn't used so much makeup, handbags weren't such a big fashion statement during this time. Small, decorative bags with a thin strap that hung from the wrist were sometimes used though.
During the day men wore morning dress, which consisted of a morning coat, a waistcoat, striped spongebag trousers, a cravat and a silk hat.
For evening men's attire consisted of a black dress coat, white waistcoat and trousers matching the coat. The less formal dinner jacket or tuxedo could also be chosen.
After WWI fashion changed drastically. Corsets and long trains were abandoned in favor of shorter lose dresses that didn't show either waists, breasts or hips. Women borrowed their clothes from the male wardrobe and the flapper emerged.
The cloche hat was worn over the new short bobs by many, and for the ones who could afford them colorful silk stockings became the rage. These stockings were folded just above the knee and held in place with garters.
The girl in the picture above is wearing a Chanel flapper dress. Together with the long pearl necklace, short hair, dramatic makeup and pouting lips, she is the 20s girl personified!
Herre we have some typical 20s accessories. The makeup consisted of pale powder, cream rouge circling the cheek bone, eye brows plucked into thin lines that were then filled in with a pencil, dark eyeshadow and red lipstick. The lipstick was applied to emphasize the Cupid's bow of the upper lip to create what we now call the "Rosebud Pout".
When the men came back home from WWI they found their old clothes in their wardrobes outdated. They didn't want to go back to the stuffy conservative style of the previous era, and so the men's suits took on a more masculine approach.
Up until the 20s loose pants were considered a no-no for men, but now the pants became a bit (or a lot, as in the picture above) baggier, the shoulders in the suits became wider, and pinstripes became popular.
Here a well dressed Rudolf Valentino shows off the popular hairstyle of the day, slicked back with "Brilliante" - an oily, perfumed hairdressing that added sheen to the hair as well as holding it in place.
The "Jazz Suit", marked by it's high waist was also popular. Since these days men's suits hasn't really changed too much. But it still looks good! Right ladies?!
I'm not sure what I'll be wearing yet. But I do have a 30s dress in a transparent flowy fabric that might fit the occasion. So I might go with that one...Or something else...*Sigh*...Important choices like this are so difficult!