During the 1920s, a new beauty ideal arrived. This beauty ideal became the flapper, and it would have a major impact on society. From fashion, to social interaction, the flapper changed it all. The flapper’s radical image change was within women’s clothing and hair. The characteristics of a typical flapper were not like any other and her reckless actions defined her. The flapper was revolutionary and changed the beauty ideal in the 1920s.
Scott Fitzgerald first introduced the flapper in his novel “This Side of Paradise”. He described them as stubborn, young, beautiful, unconventional, and dangerous. Although he never referred to the term flapper till his later work, he was known for creating and even popularizing her. The flappers changed the relationships between males and females by making it more oriented towards sex. Their fierce attitude gave them the same authority if not more than men as they started smoking, drinking alcohol, and driving cars. This was a huge step for women in the 1920s. They not only dominated men but also were also given a large amount of attention from the tabloids.These women were like no one else and their style had never been seen before. Many believed the flappers to be white and part of the middle class but they were actually white or black and from the middle as well as the working class. Flappers were less traditional than women had previously been, and have greatly influenced women’s style.
The flapper was a more unique style of women. They created their own style which created a whole new beauty ideal. Women’s hair had always been long, but the flapper’s hair was short and bobbed. They took facial beauty further by tweezing their eyebrows and using a whole range of cosmetic tools. A flapper would try to make her mouth look small and puckered, and also made popular the use of powder, eyeliner and lipstick. It was a competition between women for the beauty ideal. Women had different thoughts on what beauty entailed and what it looked like. The flapper was more boyish as they had short hair, which was different than another style known as the Gibson girl whom had long hair. As well, the flappers changed the norm for body type. Women became flatter and skinnier to suit the new style. The major component of this ideal was a displacement of exposure as the emphasis moved from the trunk to the limbs. Arms and legs gained a larger appreciation than before. In the past, women were trying to gain weight, however flappers made a thinner look more popular. The flappers made it acceptable to show a more natural body shape. With these features, all that was needed was accessories to be the highlight of the decade.
After the war, the flapper style began to dominate, and these boyish, gawky flappers became the aesthetic ideal. Previously, women had worn long, loose dresses that covered their bodies, as that was what was appropriate at that point in time. But the flappers rejected this ideal and wore tight, straight, short dresses with a low neck and short sleeves or no sleeves at all. Short skirts forced women to focus more on the appearance of their legs. In 1923, they started to wear silk or rayon stockings, which they rolled below the knee most of the time. Underneath her clothes, she wore as little as possible. A girdle replaced the corset or she wore nothing at all. To limit her curves even more, she wore a brassiere like garment to minimize her breasts. The Flapper was so popular that stores advertised the dresses as “flapper-dresses”. To complete the aesthetic ideal, dresses were more comfortable and lighter in weight than a woman’s apparel had been in the past. The fashion of the flappers had a wider variety of fabrics, colours, types of clothing, and designs than the plain style that had been worn before. In the 1920s, the most popular colours were black and beige. Flappers also popularized accessories like gloves, handbags, and jewelry. As the flapper’s style became more popular, the demand increased for inexpensive clothing, which could be easily cared for. A number of observers remarked, “even the poorest women had it in their power to dress comfortably and attractively for an active life with minimal cost and care”. Their influence can be seen by looking at the style of a typical high school girl, who wore to school only knickers, a knee-length dress, a brassiere, and silk stockings.
The ideal woman became intelligent, capable, self-sufficient, and active. A flapper possessed skills and gained new characteristics unknown to her mother. These personal traits and style have influenced modern day women. As stated before, the outbreak of this ideal was post war. In this time period, dating changed as well. Sex became more accepted and people became more interested in sexual compatibility. The flappers would have promoted this with their sexual and non-traditional ways.
In the 1920s, flappers broke away from the old image of womanhood. They cut their hair, wore minimal clothing, ditched the corset, and used cosmetics. Flappers had the freedom to decide their own way of life which is why they had such an impact on the 1920s. They stunned people with their different choice of fashion, popularizing this new beauty ideal very fast. All of the energy of the 1920s was wrapped up in the beauty ideal of the flapper.
 Ress, Stella. “Finding the Flapper: A Historiographical Look at Image and Attitude.”
History Compass, no. 1 (2010): 118-128.
 Reinsch, Ole. “Flapper Girls-Feminism and Consumer Society in the 1920s.”
Gender Forum, no. 40 (2012): 1.
 Yellis, Kenneth A. “Prosperity’s Child: Some Thoughts on the Flapper.”
American Quarterly, no. 1 (1969): 44-64.
 Hall, Linda B. “Fashion and Style in the Twenties: The Change.”
Historian, no. 3 (1972): 485-497.
 Kenneth A. Yellis, “Prosperity’s Child: Some thoughts on the Flapper, “
American Quarterly, no. 1 (1972), 48.
 Yellis, “A Prosperity’s Child,” 48.
 Linda B. Hall, “Fashion and Style in the Twenties: The Change,”
Historian, no. 3 (1972), 487.
 Yellis, “A Prosperity’s Child,” 49.
 Yellis, “A Prosperity’s Child,” 50.
 Yellis, “A Prosperity’s Child,” 51.
 Unit 9 Lecture Notes, HIST 2182. Western University, 2014.
 Rhys, Gillian. “In a flap of fashion.”
Ft.com, (2003): 1.