It’s easy to forget that the decade known as The Twenties saw considerable changes in fashion. The period of ‘bound breasts’ and cylindrical figures was ending by 1925. I think of the early 1920s as the ‘tubular twenties.’ The long, tubular dress pattern on the left, illustrated in Delineator in December, 1924 is closely related to this actual beaded dress from a private collection.
Both dresses are very long, and hang straight from the shoulders; the concentration of beading near the hem weights the dress.
The back of the chiffon dress was also beaded, so it was relatively heavy and fell without curves.
Cylinder Dresses and Flattened Curves, Early 1920s
Other designs from 1924 show the same long, cylindrical shape, with style variations.
Many fashion trends associated with the later 1920s are visible: embroidery, a cloche hat, some dropped waists, side panels, etc. But these dresses are actually longer than the dresses of the World War I era, and they share the peculiarly low bust of that period.
Dresses for Young Women, January 1924
The styles above are for adult women. Patterns for teens, then called ‘misses’ and sold by age (“size 15 to 20 years, or small ladies”) show the same tubular shape and low bust, but are slightly shorter.
The blue checked dress shows some indecision about the dropped waistline, and opts for two, a belt at the high hip and a band much lower. The dress on the far right has front panels and ends in a sash, like blouses of the early 1920s. It’s hard to imagine how a slim teen-aged girl could have the bust shown in the tan pleated dress, unless she was wearing a bust-flattening brassiere or bandeau, or a tube-like corselette (more about these in a later post.)
The surplice line dresses on the left remained popular throughout the twenties, as did cloches and tam-o’shanter hats. The blue dress on the right — shortened and with a slight change in proportions — became a classic style for the rest of the decade. Below: This is how Chanel interpreted it in January, 1925. Note the change in length, the bust dart, and the natural bustline. The flattened chest was going out of fashion.