The 1930s through 1940s were quite popular and were the height of a period in American history when it was considered normal for a woman to wear no makeup or no jewelry and also to wear light-colored clothing. So, a lot of that was probably for practical reasons, because you were just more likely to get attacked and attacked faster than someone in a full makeup outfit. And the makeup became increasingly more conservative over time; a lot of it was for that reason that the 1920s look became more and more acceptable.
When did the 1920s look really take off?
In a way it was very much influenced by the work of Mary Pickford in the 1920s, who’s the leading light for the 1940s. She was very much influenced by the movement that was going on with women’s suffrage during that period. She got it right there: Women’s rights. What women wanted, they wanted now. But what they were trying to achieve then was a more liberal, more modern look, which was what the women were pushing for then. Mary Pickford got it right with her designs, but what was important to the men was it was easier to get a man to buy a dress in that time period because men didn’t have to worry too much about getting their neck caught in the skirt, or having their ears caught in the jacket. It was easier to get a man to buy that dress because they didn’t have to worry about that kind of thing, at least not right away. They could get their head caught in the skirt to be sure they got a good look at it, but then the women also were pushing that look, so it made more sense.
So, what were the key colors in the 1920s look?
One of the colors that came along in that decade was the navy blue. That was a really easy-to-wear color for women of my generation, because men always liked navy blue. So, we bought our coats black or navy blue with navy buttons or white buttons. That really is the one color that came along and really became popular and it became the look of the whole era, and for the women as well.
How did the 1920s look like for men in the United States?
It was the same thing except we didn’t have a very specific color for that period, we just had a wide variety of colors. I think we bought pretty much any shade of blue and even the bright one of red.
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