New Women, Fashion, and Careers of the 1920's

By: Sam, Natalie, Grace, Katie, and Amanda


Women were changing in the Roaring 20s. They had a positive outlook towards life, and a complete change in looks. Women in these times were becoming more and more sucessful, upholding important careers and entertaining roles in movies. Famous women were influencing those all around the country. All of these 1920's ladies were called New Women.


Flapper- A women of the 1920's who behaved and dressed in an unconventional manner.

19th Amendment- Amendment to the Constitution that gave women the right to vote.

Bessie Smith- (a.k.a the "Empress of Jazz") An influential jazz singer in the 1920's.

Mary Pickford- Famous film actress of the 1920's.

Bob (hairstyle)- Short, popular, 1920's women's hairstyle.

New Styles of the 1920’s

Fashion of New Women

by Samantha Kohn

Not only were women changing their roles in the world, but they were also changing their look. Ladies used to wear very long skirts, many layers, corsets, and all of their hair pinned on the top of their head. To lighten the load on their body, they transformed the clothing to be shorter and lighter. This clothing allowed for more movement, more freedom. Flappers, as they were called, would wear skirts above their knees, and less layers on top. Instead of the complicated underwear that they used to deal with, they now wore step-ins. These are similar to the ones we wear today. Women in this time also wore stockings with very bright dresses. It was a time of rebirth in the fashion industry.

flappers1.jpgClothes always have to be paired with accessories, and these women had it all. Flappers had big floppy hats to go with their handbags. Women also had a lot of jewelry. Women in this time wanted to be like the movie stars, elegant. Now with these new clothes and accessories, it was no longer strange to wear short clothing, it was stylish and admired. Now the women changed the idea of housewives; they were able to go out and have fun. You can read more about this in the career section. These girls started a fashion trend that still lasts today

in the 20th century.

Works Cited:

Hair and Make-up of 1920’s

By: Amanda Gryga

In the 1920’s women’s hairstyles changed drastically from the way it had been worn from years and years before. Young woLouise+Brooks+Black+Helmet.jpgmen began to chop of all their hair, which created the famous hairstyle of the 1920’s, the bob. The bob was a haircut which left the hair halfway between the cheekbone and the chin. The Elton crop was a type of bob, when hair was very close to the head, and a curl was placed right above each ear. This was a big change for women, because women never cut their hair. Every day they put it in a high bun or high up do because hair was so hard to manage. When women were ready to make the cut, they were considered rebels because nice girls kept their hair long. Women went to any regular men’s barbershop to get their haircut, which shocked many men. This was the biggest change for women, but make-up now became as popular as short hair.

Previously, only prostitutes wore make-up, but now make-up was worn by most women imagesCANOWFIG.jpgalmost every day. The economic sales of make-up boomed, women started to buy lipstick, rouge, face powder, perfume, and mascara. Magazines were now promoting make-up, because so many women were starting to wear it. In the 20’s mascara was made of melted was, and lipstick was only made in really bright red. Lipstick was applied in what was called the "cupid's bow" which covered most of the upper lip and only part of the lower lip. Eye makeup was very dark and heavy. Eyeliner was always black, while eyeshadow was a very dark gray, this is what women today call the smoky eye. Also, the eyebrow pencil was created because women started to pluck their whole eyebrow. After plucking the eyebrow, women penciled in their eyebrow much higher than it should normally be. Basically, make-up and short hair were the most common things you would see on any woman in the 1920’s.

· Swisher, Clarice. Women of the Roaring Twenties. Thomson Gale, 2006. Print.
· "Roaring 20s Fads and Trend in Makeup and Hair Styling." Free Beauty Tips. N.p.,Web.March9,2011.

Famous New Women of the 1920’s

Mary Pickford
Actress, Producer, and Writer 250px-Mary_Pickford_with_camera2(1).jpg
By Grace Lee-Niosi

Mary Pickford was an icon of the 1920’s. She represented exactly what the New Woman should be. She was smart, confident, and was ready to take on roles that not many women had performed before such as writing and producing. By the end of her film career (1908-1935) she had appeared in 236 films! She also opened her own film studio in 1920 (United Artists Corporation) and was a founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Retiring at 43, Mary Pickford did many things people wouldn’t be able to do in a lifetime. In addition to being an actress, she wrote 12 movies and produced 36. (Complete filmography: Mary Pickford broke many barriers and stereotypes about women and about herself. She often tried to break out from the stereotype that she could only play roles of young heroines like Cinderella. (See her in Cinderella at )Many people were insecure about her boldness. In fact, 99% of her fans said that they thought she should only play the same types of roles. Mary kept going, though, and refused to let society hold her back from what she wanted to do. This sense of determination led her to work for one of the most famous people in the film industry, D.W. Griffith. She also was able to appear in a few talkies and on the radio. In 1954, she even wrote her own autobiography! Mary Pickford was truly one of the most amazing and influential people of the 1920’s.

Works Cited:

Kirkwood, James, Dir. Cinderella. Dir. James Kirkwood." Perf. Pickford, Mary. 1914, Film. <>.

"Mary Pickford." N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar 2011. <>.

Today in Toronto history: Happy birthday to 'America's Sweetheart'. Web. 10 Mar 2011. <>.

"Mary Pickford." Gems of the Rich and Famous. Web. 10 Mar 2011. <>.

Swisher, Clarice. Women of thr Roaring Twenties. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2006. 41-42. Print.

Bessie Smith

By Natalie Breuel

Also known as the “Empress of Jazz”, Bessie Smith was one of the most influential jazz singers of her time and paved the way for other black women in the show business. She was born in 1894, and by 1912 she sang in a concert with Ma Rainey, another black jazz singer. She toured in singing groups and performed in many concerts, especially at the 81 Theatre in Atlanta. Finally, Clarence Williams found her and offered to record her in a New York studio. She recorded often until 1928, singing about love, freedom, and travel, often with famous jazz players of the era like Charlie Green, Louis Armstrong, Clarence Williams, James P. Johnson, and more. Later, she appeared in a film, but trouble with alcohol and economic difficulties affected her popularity. Her last recording was in 1933 because of how popular jazz was getting in Europe. In 1936, she was performing again, but on a smaller scale. Soon after, she died after a car accident. Though she died young, Bessie Smith made 160 recordings and brought both blacks and whites together through her music. America has b_smith.jpgbessie-smith.jpgyet to find another jazz singer with the passion and skill of Bessie Smith.

For more information, go to these links!
Bio 1
Bio 2
Bio 3

"Jazz-Biographies, Life and Times of the Great Ones: Bessie Smith." PBS. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 9 Mar 2011.
Swisher, Clarice. Women in History: Women of the roaring Twenties. Thomson Gale, 2006. 39-40. Print
"Bessie Smith:Image courtesy of Frank Driggs Collection." Jazz: Biographies-Bessie Smith. Web. 10 Mar 2011. <Image courtesy of Frank Driggs Collection>.
"Bessie Smith." Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Web. 10 Mar 2011.

New Careers of the 1920's

New Jobs for Women

By Katie Venditti

Many new jobs were created for women in the 1920’s. The 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was the first step for women rights. After the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1919, lots of new jobs were created for women. Women were 22% of the labor force. Women were earning 54-60% of what men did. While some women did remain with the traditional job options, such as nurses, teachers, and doing domestic work, others began to branch out.

Women looked up to celebrities for job ideas. For example, the success jazz composer Lil Harden and the singer Bessie Smith encouraged women to pursue musical careers. (For more information on famous female jazz singers from the 1920’s, click here.) Suddenly, there were a lot more women working in the radio and theatre industries. Also, actresses in silent films such as Greta Garbo, Louise Brooks, and Clara Bow, swayed more women to seek movie careers. (For more information on famous female movie stars from the 1920s, click here.) Women also started to attain jobs in offices, such as typists, telephone operators, and secretaries. They also worked in farming, doing jobs like washing, ironing, cleaning, making coffee and hominy, baking, churning butter, and more. Women did manual labor. For example, they worked in textile mills, tobacco factories, they were steel mill workers, they were shipment collectors, and they built munitions. They also worked in more dangerous fields, like working with TNT.
Women in the 1920s began leading more respectable careers, such as being an accountant, a doctor, a lawyer, and a scientist. Women worked in publishing and advertising offices. They were often used to advertise makeup. Women also sold antiques, were real estate agents, and opened shops.

Schiro, Frank. "Women 1920s." slideshare. N.p., 03/10/2009. Web. 9 Mar 2011. <>.
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Wukovits, John F. The 1920s. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000. 149. Print.
"1920s vintage female telephone...." flickr. Web. 11 Mar 2011. <>.