You guessed it, they’d wear a flapper! Not in the typical, stolid, all-caps sense, but also in the much more creative, flapper-like sense that flappers gave. Flappers were not only a popular aesthetic in the 1920s and ’30s, they were also an important part of the social and cultural zeitgeist. For example, if you wanted to wear a suit with no tie, you’d probably do it by wearing a flapper. Some people in flapper dresses and shorts would even carry a flapper flag or a flapper flag holder in front.
A few people even invented the flapper dress! One of the inventors was a little girl, Ann Louise Roesch. Her parents were the owners of a flapper shop in Boston and bought her a flapper dress and skirt when she was in high school. As a teenager she was featured in the magazine Glamour and in The Washington Post, where she wore a flapper dress to cover her breasts, much like a woman today. Then, in an effort to save it from ruin, her parents told her it had been stolen from their shop in the past years and that they were selling it. So she and her sister Mary purchased an old piece of flapper fabric, took it home and fashioned a new version out of it before resaving the original.
There are many stories of the original flappers that came from the Boston shops in the 1920s and ’30s. Some are about the first flappers with names like “Babette” and “Gentlewoman,” while others, like the ones on this page, are more “forgotten”. For example, the name “Josie” is now in rare print and is believed to be that of the real-life Josie Schonwald, who worked at The Fashion Journal in New York City during the 1920s. It is also the name of a famous realty flapper from Wisconsin. Many of those first flapper dresses were sold on a whim in thrift stores all across America, with names like “Josie,” “Lady Josie,” or “Little Josie.” The actual name on the item was “Lady Lotte,” a pun intended to be insulting.
While today our fashion world doesn’t hold up to the level of sophistication and beauty of the 1920s, I think you can say that we have more in common with the young people of the 1920s than we do with the
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