How to Make a Black Dress Look Like It's From the 1920s

Turn a plain black dress around to look like a flapper.
Turn a plain black dress around to look like a flapper. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Make your black dress look like it's from the 1920s with just a few added accessories. The little black dress was actually an invention of Coco Chanel in the 1920s, according to "Biography." Black was once a color only associated for mourning, and she turned it into chic evening wear, which is ideal for your specific needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Large flower brooch
  • Black fringe
  • Sewing machine
  • Flesh-toned stockings
  • Black ballet flats or low heeled shoes
  • Long necklace of white pearls
  • Pearl or beaded bracelet
  • Feather boa or feather fan
  • Pale face powder
  • Red lipstick
  • Dark eye shadow
  • Curling iron
  • Dangling earrings (optional)
  • Cloche hat (optional)

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Gather your black dress at one of the hips. Pin a large flower brooch to hold the gather. Many 1920s dress had lowered waistlines. If your dress is a simple A-line style, pinning a brooch can give it a 1920s silhouette.

Sew fringe in rows all the way down your dress if it is a thin strapped tube dress. Fringe instantly gives the dress a "flapper" look. Expert sewers can experiment with sewing the fringe at an angle for a more sophisticated look.

Add fringe to tank style dresses.
Add fringe to tank style dresses. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Wear flesh-toned stockings, which were worn during the era. Wear black ballet flats or low heeled shoes to match the 1920s look.

Add a long rope necklace of white pearls around your neck. Hang the necklace to just below your chest. Wear a matching pearl or beaded bracelet. Wrap a feather boa around your shoulders or carry a feather fan.

Powder your skin a shade lighter than you usually wear. Apply red lipstick and dark eye shadow to the top lid of your eyes. Side part your hair, and use a curling iron to add smooth waves over your ears. Wear hair in a short bob hairstyle, popular in the 1920s, or pull long hair into a chignon, which is a type of hair knot in the back.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dangling earrings can be added to your 1920s look.
  • Boyish dresses were worn during the 1920s, so it looked like women had no hips and flat bosoms.
  • A cloche hat can also accessorize a black dress to look 1920s.


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