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1920s Clothing Style: Get the Look for Less!

Hello Vintage Lovers!

Are you a Downton Abbey fan? Do you love the flapper look?  I’ll give you five simple tips on how to add a 1920s vibe to your wardrobe, even if you’re on a budget! I’ve dressed in the ’20s style on many occasions, especially when I give my fashion era presentations. And you can too, so I’m going to show you how. Let’s get right into the steps to help you bring your inner flapper out with style.

Step 1

Peruse some images in books or online to get an idea of what you might like to try. Not every woman in the 1920s was a flapper, but most women followed the general silhouette, which was quite boxy in nature. No curves were really shown at the time and whenever there was any detail that would normally be at the waist, such as a belt, a bow or a sash, it was found at the hip level.

Illustration of four women in 1920s fashion with pattern and price information
Photo of a woman in a blue dress standing in a room with wooden flooring and a cabinet

Step 2

Look at hair and makeup styles from the period to see what resonates with you. Not every woman wore her hair short in the Bob style, but many women wanted the look so they would actually keep their hair long, wear it in a bun in the back and make it look like a Bob by giving it a finger wave or a Marcel wave in the front. I have a very inexpensive Bob wig that I usually wear, but I’ve also worn the fake Bob on occasion too.

I’d love to know if any of you have ever tried 1920s style and if so, what did you wear? You can let me know in the comments below.

Black and white photo of a woman
A woman in a black dress and feather boa posing in a dimly lit room with disco lights.

Step 3

Take a look in your closet before you go shopping. It’s really easy to find things when thrifting, and you can find something as simple as a dress with a lower waistline. I found a nice black velvet dress from the ’80s, which was quite inexpensive in a secondhand store and I’ve used that to sort of fake a 1920s look. So again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to really get that 1920s feel.

A few years ago my niece was going to a ’20s party and she simply wore a modern knee-length skirt and found a 1980s flashy sequin blouse to wear over it, and she really looked the part!

Step 4

Go to thrift stores and look for items that could pass for ’20s accessories. There are plenty of long beaded or pearl necklaces, such as those shown below. They can be found in secondhand stores, at yard sales, and online so it does not take a lot of money to get this look. If you feel it’s too risky for you to wear ’20s-inspired outfits, it might be more comfortable for you to start with accessories. 

Strands of beaded necklaces

Step 5

Check your own shoe wardrobe to see if you can find a Mary Jane style shoe, which was very popular in the twenties. The strap on the shoe kept it securely on the foot so that women could dance with abandon and not lose their shoes in the process.  I have a pair of  Mary Janes with a very comfortable heel that works really well for this 1920s style. If you don’t have any of these shoes in your wardrobe, you can usually find a pair quite inexpensively, either at a consignment store,  a yard sale, or at a regular sale at your favorite store where you would normally buy shoes.

If you’d like additional tips on vintage style or more information on Spirits of Fashion, please go to my website by clicking on the link below, and you can sign up for my monthly newsletter.  Hope to see you there!

A black and white illustration of a pair of high heels.

Go out there and find your inner flapper, and I’ll see you next month!!

My best to you always,


Check out my YouTube video on this topic: