The Black & Beautiful Club: Fabulous Fashion Of “The Harlem Renaissance”

3 Posted by - September 15, 2017 - BLACK FASHION, BLACK WOMEN, HARLEM RENAISSANCE, LATEST POSTS

The Harlem Renaissance not only launched an explosion of African-American art, literature and politics, but it also enabled the community to develop a collective identity through fashion for the first time.woman 1920

The rapidly growing middle class in Harlem had access to once forbidden luxuries, and they now possessed the means to swap their former somber clothing for the colorful, glamorous garments that were quickly becoming popular across the nation. A shimmering emerald frock, a glitzy feathered headband or a velvet collared Chesterfield coat on the streets of Harlem became a symbol of liberation. The looser, more revealing dresses favored by women of the era also represented their newly gained freedoms, allowing them to work in offices and dance at speakeasies without restrictions.

Women’s Fashion: Loose and Low-Cut

women 1920 1

The battle for equal rights led to a worldwide fashion revolution in women’s wear during the 1920s. Harlem women embraced the rebellious higher hemlines, which fell just below the knees, as well as the colorful Art Deco patterns, the lower-cut necklines and the padded-shoulder suits. Cut from free-flowing fabrics that allowed women to dance, dresses were usually loose and dropped at the waist.

The boyish silhouette was often feminized with a hip-tied ribbon, wide belt, fringes or large bows. When performing in Harlem clubs, famed female jazz vocalists donned elegant cocktail dresses and extravagant hair fascinators along with chandelier earrings, sparkly brooches and elegant fur collars.

 

 

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    I want to know more about the living style of the roaring 1920’s. I think Black folks were socially and maybe economically at the peak during this time.

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    @Floyd: You should re-think that. Remember this movement, while very important, was just a small part in the development of black America because during this time, the OVERWHELMING number of black people were still living in the backwoods of the Southeastern states of our nation. It wasn’t until the “Great Migration” of the late 20s and beyond when we left the villages and farms that black people began to come into our own.

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