Main characteristics of this decade: simplicity, The Great War, comfortable clothing, women rights movements (USA, National Women’s Party), the first patented bra (1914, Mary Jacobs), emancipation of women after the war
There is not much to say about this decade (beauty and fashion related) but the First World War had a major influence on women and their social development. In the absence of men, sent to fight on the battlefields, the role and the responsibilities of women in society changed. They had to replace the missing men and to do their jobs: in factories doing munitions, in hospitals, working the fields, driving the trams, being postal workers, doing administrative tasks etc. By the time the peace was restored in 1918, women were no longer depending on their husbands or fathers. The barrier was broken forever.
Before the war, women wore minimalist make-up which was accessible in pharmacies and shops (brands such as L’Oreal, Coty, Bourjois, Maybelline). Pale complexions, rosy cheeks, a small amount of lipstick and Vaseline on the eyelids were the maximum of makeup.
During the war, it was almost inappropriate to wear makeup plus, it was not practical.
At the end of the war, when women became more independent, the “vampy look” was the trend: smoky Kohl eyes, red lipstick, and fine arched eyebrows.
A lot of women had to cut their hair short during the war for practical reasons.
The black and white movie star Irene Castle’s “bob” was very popular, a trend that would explode in the 1920’s.
The “concession” between the long and short hair was the “Curtain hair” (adopted from men) which entailed parting short hairstyles down the middle, then letting the hair fall across a headband worn around the middle of the head, just above the ears.
This hairstyle was revived in the 70s when David Bowie used the “curtain” haircut with his orange color hair.
The phenomenon “La garçonne” or the ‘boyish’ look begins in 1919.
Little by little, the corsets and the long dresses are replaced with comfortable skirts and clothing adapted to the new activities and tasks of women. The saying was “while the war gets longer, the skirts get shorter!”
The direct effect of war on fashion styles was that military braiding, belts with buckles and shorter skirts were seen everywhere. The dresses and the skirts got shorter during the First World War out of practical necessity.
Bright colors faded from sight and only sober colors were worn as the war dragged on. Everyone was affected by the death of a loved one and so subdued dresses were simply a matter of good taste showing patriotism.
Jewelry and other accessories were not popular because again, they were not practical while at war duty.