1923 was a very interesting year of fashion. I call it a transition year away from the post WW1 romantic look to that of the coming boyish look of most of the roaring twenties. For men, the skinny Jazz Age look was beginning to fade and the new wide leg masculine shape was taking its place.
Women’s 1923 Fashion
Waistlines on dresses were just beginning to drop to the upper hip level with a loose fit and straight-line silhouette. Belts were an accent but never cinching. Collars, cuffs and pockets were oversized for the babydoll look while sleeves were wide and shapeless.
Skirts were lightly gathered, straight and wide, 3-4 tiers or box pleated.
The most notable trend in 1923 was the hem length. After hemlines crept up in the early 20s to mid calf, they now came down to just above the ankle. This sudden drop was an attempt to return Victorian modestly back to fashion and morals.
It didn’t work. Many young women continued to wear shorter hemlines and in two years fashions for all women would be shorter than ever-at the knee!
1923 Blouses and Skirts
Slip over blouses with wide round necklines or V collared wrap overs (Jacquette blouses) were paired with pleated skirts or plain loose gathered skirts. Many blouses were embroidered with contrasting threads in folk art motifs. Paisley prints were also extremely trendy.
Most blouses were worn over a skirt with a wide band that button to one side or tied in a bow.
Casual skirts were often plain or big plaid or windowpane prints. Plain skirt paired well with plain colored knitted blouses with a drawstring dropped waist.
Middy shirts were a summertime essential. The sailor collars and ties with white, grey or red blouse paired with nautical color skirts. They were worn for any kind of summer outing or sportswear.
Wool 2 peice suits with jacket and matching skirt were popular traveling, motoring and shopping outfits. Jackets were loose with a deep V opening in spring and closed up with a thick collar muff in winter. Many were trimmed in embroidery on the hem, cuffs and lapels.
Some spring jacket suits featured the wrap over style that fastened to the left side.
Knitted sets could be suit-like when combining a wool knit skirt with knitted sweater or cardigan. These were trendy with sport players (golfers) or outdoor enthusiasts (hikers.)
Sporting or for casual wear, many young women turned to wearing breeches (knee pants) with tall socks, men’s style shirt and necktie. These often came with a matching sport jacket or vest for an entire outfit called “togs.”
1923 Coats & Jackets
Long overcoats with a side wrap tie or low button down were warm yet in the style of dresses. Shawl or muff collars were oversized with equally large sleeve cuffs and buttons.
Spring jackets matched dresses and were usually the wrap over style. Some black leather jackets with a high collar were also a fashionable trend for the young and fearless.
Most women had a fur stole or shawl in their wardrobe. It was practical to keep the chill out but more so to show off wealth.
1923 Shoes & Stockings
Women’s shoes in 1923 continued to offer lace up boots with high and low heels. Lace up oxford shoes were the most practical and sporty while simple strap or cross straps shoes were a bit prettier. For fancy dresses a pair of colonial pumps was always a smart choice.
Hats were much more colorful and decorated than ladies dresses.
The cloche hat was just starting to come into style but with a full crown and curved brim. Brimless hats that covered the forehead and around the hair were another early 20s style.
Most hats, however, for any season, had a decent size brim, worn low over the head with a slight turned down brim and a wide hat band or 3D flowers placed in front or sides. Many hats dripped in long soft feathers.
Metallic fabric turbans with braided brand were seen on many New York fashionable ladies in winter. It would take a few more years for these to go mainstream.
1920s Ladies Jewelry styles
1923 Lingerie & Sleepwear
1923 Men’s Clothing
Men’s 1920s suit styles.
The slim jazz age suit was still in style in 1923 for young men. Jackets buttoned high and tight at the waist with narrow shoulder and a full jacket skirt. Belted back jackets were sportier than plain back cousins. Common colors were largely drab blue, brown and grey.
Older, conservative men prefer the sack suit with a looser boxy fit. Shoulder were still narrow while the body lacked any waistline. Notch or peak lapels were not too wide or two narrow.
Most suits came with a matching 5-6 button vest. The vests did not have lapels like they did in later years when suits were much baggier.
Trousers fit high up the waist with a flat front and slightly tapered leg. They could be held up with a belt (casual) or suspenders (better with suits.)
1923 Men’s Coats & Jackets
1923 Men’s Shirts and Knitwear
1920s men’s sweaters / jumpers
1923 Men’s Workwear & Casual
1923 Men’s Boots and Shoes
1923 Men’s Hats
1923 Men’s Accessories
And that, folks, is fashion in the year of 1923. Next year, we will dive into fashion in 1924, my favorite year of the 1920s!
Debbie Sessions has been teaching fashion history and helping people dress for vintage themed events since 2009. She has turned a hobby into VintageDancer.com with hundreds of well researched articles and hand picked links to vintage inspired clothing online. She aims to make dressing accurately (or not) an affordable option for all. Oh, and she dances too.