It was the Summer of Gatsby and from the cars to the drinks to the clothes, inspiration and pop culture circa the Jazz Age could be seen just about everywhere you looked. There is nothing that melts a woman’s heart quite like a piece of beautifully preserved vintage clothing. The attention to detail paid “back-in-the-day,” the strong statements and delicate fabrics, and the nostalgia of a great era come and gone could make even the snootiest shopper a second-hander for life.
This nod to history, to the jazz age of excess, was what made LT’s Amanda and I so excited when Amy Bercowitz, owner of Boston-based vintage haven Artifaktori, invited us in for a sneak peak at some of the best 1920s styles from her personal warehouse collection.
“Any chance I get to educate people about vintage clothes, what they’re really like, I’m into.”
Let’ start things off by setting the story straight. The short, sexy, fringe-and-sequin numbers that frequent 1920s theme parties today are not historically accurate. Yes, the women’s liberation movement started in this decade, but no, it did not involve baring full thigh or skin-tight fabrics. Quite the contrary — women in the twenties wanted to break free of the previously confining styles and opted instead for loose clothing, downplaying rather than accentuating their figures. These frocks (great for dancing and movement in general) tended to have straight lines and hems that fell just below the knee. The femininity and creativity that makes these vintage pieces beautiful was all in the details. Interesting seam or cut-out patterns, beading or feather details, and prints galore. And the 1920s marked the first time that women were seen out and about in pants. A dig to traditionalism, women were claiming their voice and their worth through more androgynous styles.
Bercowitz is a true vintage fashion aficionado, and as such she gets a little disheartened when time after time people come into her shop looking for “20s” wear in the form of sequined mini dresses and feather boas.
“Our culture is a lot more provocative now and women are a lot more body-conscious,” Amy shared. She quickly points them in the right direction: 1980s. As those who follow the trends are aware, all fashion is cyclic, and the twenties are no exception. In the 1980s, twenties inspired clothing became extremely popular. Today, this is the style that immediately comes to mind for us non-fashion experts when we are invited to 1920s themed events.
We know it’s all in fun, but we’re hoping that next time you’re invited to that Gatsby garden party you’ll consider taking a liberating avenue and going with an authentic piece of 1920s garb, perhaps from Artifaktori.
To check out more of Amy’s styles from the twenties, eighties, and every decade in between visit Artifaktori; 121 Charles Street, Boston MA, or online at www.artifaktori.com.