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Jazz Age Glitz: Sequins and Shawls of 1920s Chicago

submitted on 16 November 2023 by

A Brief History of the Roaring Twenties

As we look back through the foggy haze of nearly a century, it's hard not to feel a pang of nostalgia for the glitz and glamour of 1920s Chicago. A time when morals were loose, jazz was hot, and the city was teeming with an electric energy that could make even the most timid soul feel alive. Yes, it was a time of sin and excess, but it was also a time of unmatched style and elegance. The flappers, the dapper gents, and those sequins…oh, those sequins!

Flappers and Their Sequined Splendor

Those daring, sequined-clad damsels known as flappers were the embodiment of the rebellious spirit of the time. They were a frantic whirlwind of freedom, tossing off the oppressive shackles of Victorian-era expectations with each swish of their fringed skirts. And at the epicenter of this revolution was the city of Chicago, where flappers flocked like moths to the neon flame of jazz clubs and speakeasies. It was as if the gods themselves had dipped their fingers into a jar of celestial glitter and sprinkled the city with an abundance of sequins. These shimmering adornments were a symbol of their newfound liberation, reflecting the dazzling lights of the city back out into the night. Each tiny, twinkling disk was a declaration of independence, a shining beacon heralding the arrival of a new age.

Finding the Perfect Sequined Ensemble

So, how can one capture the essence of this bygone era and incorporate it into their modern wardrobe? It begins, of course, with the acquisition of the perfect sequined garment. Whether it be a dress, a blouse, or even a simple scarf, the presence of sequins is absolutely essential. Search the depths of your local vintage shops, thrift stores, and the internet for that perfect piece – the one that, when worn, will transport you back to the smoky jazz clubs of 1920s Chicago. Seek out garments that shimmer and shine, with sequins that catch the light and toss it back with wild abandon. And when you find it, wear it proudly, knowing that you are a living tribute to the heroes of the Jazz Age.

Accessorizing with Shawls and More

Now that you've found your sequined centerpiece, it's time to accessorize. And what better way to do so than with the addition of a luxurious shawl? In the 1920s, shawls were a popular accessory for both warmth and style. They could be worn draped over the shoulders or wrapped around the body in a variety of ways, each method offering a fresh twist on an already dazzling ensemble. When selecting a shawl, look for fabrics that are soft and delicate, yet still possess a touch of glamour. Think silk, chiffon, or lace, perhaps adorned with beading or embroidery. Pair your shawl with your sequined attire, and you'll have an outfit fit for a night out in 1920s Chicago.

Jazz Age Accoutrements

With your sequined garment and shawl in place, it's time to complete the look with some Jazz Age-inspired accessories. Channel your inner flapper with the following:
  • A beaded headband or a feathered fascinator to adorn your tresses
  • A string (or several) of pearls to drape around your neck
  • A bold, geometric statement necklace or brooch
  • Long, opera-length gloves for an added touch of sophistication
  • A bejeweled cigarette holder – purely for show, of course
  • And finally, a pair of T-strap heels to dance the night away

Embodying the Spirit of the Jazz Age

Now that you've assembled your Jazz Age-inspired ensemble, it's time to step out into the world and let your sequined flag fly. But remember – it's not just about the clothes; it's about the attitude. No matter where you find yourself, be it a modern-day speakeasy or simply your living room, channel the spirit of the flappers and the essence of 1920s Chicago. Laugh with reckless abandon, dance like no one's watching, and live each moment as if it were your last. For in doing so, you are not only paying tribute to the glitz and glamour of a bygone era – you are also carrying on its legacy. So, go forth, my sequined and shawl-clad compatriots, and let the world know that the spirit of the Jazz Age is alive and well in each and every one of us.
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