Monday, January 12, 2015

You May Be a Flapper Girl If.....

In 1983, our home town launched a campaign called "Do the Charleston" (West Virginia), coinciding with the opening of our first indoor shopping mall. Below is the image on the iconic t-shirt that was printed and available (I still have mine and no, that's not a really a bad framing job, other than my efforts of doctoring up a photo of a wrinkled t-shirt).
I was a performing member of the Charleston Ballet at the time, and our Belgian-born director created a ballet in tribute to the campaign titled, "The Flappers" and followed with one titled "Images", as a tribute to Erte, the Russian-born French artist and designer of the Art Deco era. Both were so much fun! From campy and vampy to flirty and short-skirty, we danced to the music of the era, and pulled out all the stops with period accessories: long beads, beaded bags, cigarette holders, garters, cloches, feathered headbands, boas and gloves.
THAT is when the bug bit me! I could relate to the Flapper girl, and all the history associated with the new-found independence women were claiming of that era. I grew up in the 1970s, not a far reach in how women were striving for new-found freedom, some 50 years after their Flapper feathers were first being ruffled.

Apart from all the ideology of the era and the analogies between the women of the 1920s and 1970s, the fashion really resonates with me also, even today. It's a big part of the "smalls" we like to showcase in our antique booth spaces, too, whether it's hats, gloves, handbags, prints, or other period accessories. Flapper fashion is also where my heart lies in collecting. It's part of why I call myself a Flapper Girl.
Whether you're a casual admirer and observer of the Flapper era through movies like "The Great Gatsby", or shows such as "Boardwalk Empire" or "Downton Abbey", here's a list of ten things you may want to consider to determine whether or not you may be a Flapper Girl, too.

You may be a Flapper Girl if......
  1. You have one or more ladies, all decked out, in your decor, with bobbed hairstyles.
  2. You have one or more ladies, all decked out, "au naturel", in your decor, with bobbed hairstyles. Think Josephine Baker.
  3. You have more than your share of beaded and mesh handbags and wristlets, either on display or at the ready for use on special occasions
  4. You have an authentic outfit (or two or three more) from that period (certainly the "Roaring Twenties", but could also include attire from the decade before and/or after the 1920s) in your wardrobe or decor. And, you may have the boyish figure that could -  and would - wear those outfits. You may also prefer very short or bobbed hair as opposed to long hair and updos.
  5. You love jazz music, and you love to dance free-style, and/or you know how to do "the Charleston" (photo source unknown). Or once did. ;)
  6. You have a little "nipper" bottle or other period essentials (bobby pins, coin purse, garters, hankies and jewelry) that could be inconspicuously tucked away, so only your innocent side have the accessories to inconspicuously tuck those essentials into. ;)
  7. You may be a Flapper Girl if your fashion icon is Coco Chanel, and you have one or more books related in your personal library. Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel wasn't afraid to break the tradition of women wearing big hats (even though she started out as a milliner of those big hats), corsets and tight dresses in order to create loose-fitting (sometimes of men's wear) sports clothes, and the famous little black dress.  She was also the queen of mixing low-end jewelry (costume) with high-end pieces received as gifts from her long line of suitors.
  8. have more of those "au naturel" women to anchor those Chanel tomes on the shelves.
  9. You may be a Flapper Girl if you have one or more LBD (little black dress) in your wardrobe, for which Coco is credited as having made iconic.
  10. And, you may be a Flapper Girl if any of these images made your heart go pitter patter or skip a little beat.  If so, here's a book I found to be entertaining and on point with much of the history of the Flapper. Charlotte Moss recommended this as "bathtub reading" in a magazine (which I can't recall now) years ago.
So, are you a Flapper Girl?  What resonates most with you of that era? If not that era, which one from the past makes your heart sing and why?

Postscript:  A special thanks to Christina Paul of Penny Wise blog, for leaving a comment, telling about a fabulous series on Netflix, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Oh my goodness! I tuned in for the first episode of two seasons of this Australian drama series, and I am in love!  The series showcases all of what constitutes the Flapper era, all in good taste. The clothes are so spectacular, the lead character is strong, and the historical references seem accurate. I look forward to a marathon of many more episodes. Thank you, Christina!

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