For the first time in centuries, women's legs were seen with hemlines rising to the knee and dresses becoming more fitted. A more masculine look became popular, including flattened breasts and hips, short hairstyles such as the bob cut, Eton crop and the Marcel wave. The fashion was bohemian and forthcoming for its age. In menswear there were two distinct periods in the 1920s. Throughout the decade, men wore short suit jackets, the old long jackets being used merely for formal occasions.
In the early 1920s, men's fashion was characterized by extremely high-waisted jackets, often worn with belts. Lapels on suit jackets were not very wide as they tended to be buttoned up high. This style of jacket seems to have been greatly influenced by the uniforms worn by the military during the First World War. Trousers were relatively narrow and straight and they were worn rather short so that a man's socks often showed. Trousers also began to be worn cuffed at the bottom at this time.
By 1925, wider trousers commonly known as Oxford bags came into fashion, while suit jackets returned to a normal waist and lapels became wider and were often worn peaked. Loose-fitting sleeves without a taper also began to be worn during this period. During the late 1920s, double-breasted vests, often worn with a single-breasted jacket, also became quite fashionable. During the 1920s, men had a variety of sport clothes available to them, including sweaters and short trousers, commonly known as knickers. For formal occasions in the daytime, a morning suit was usually worn.
For evening wear men preferred the short tuxedo to the tail coat, which was now seen as rather old-fashioned and snobby. During the 1920s, the notion of keeping up with fashion trends and expressing oneself through material goods seized middle-class Americans as never before. Purchasing new clothes, new appliances, new automobiles, new anything indicated one's level of prosperity. Being considered old-fashioned, out-of-date, or worse yet unable to afford stylish new products was a fate many Americans went to great lengths to avoid.