The 1920s flapper ... She was fun-loving – she smoked . . . and she loved to drink!
The flapper showed disdain for conventional dress and behavior; wore her hair bobbed, used rouge and lipstick, and even plucked her eyebrows! The flapper girl dressed in fringed skirts and bright colored sweaters; she wore scarves and blouses with Peter Pan collars.
She loved to dance!
The flapper girl spent a lot of time in automobiles. She attended hops and proms, ball games and crew races, and other affairs at men’s colleges. The flapper told peppy stories and uttered clever remarks …
“How perfectly ridiculum!”
“You don’t know the half of it, dearie!”
The flapper was fun-loving ...
she smoked ...
and she loved to DRINK!
Who was this wild and winsome coot
That made poor Adam pull the boot
And taste of that forbidden fruit?
This Cleopatra maiden fair
For whom great Caesar tore his hair,
Who was this vamp so debonair?
Who was this biddy called Salome
That robbed John Baptist of his dome.
The one that made mere man leave home?
Who is it now that flashes by
With scanty clothes and dropping eye,
For whom some sap would gladly die?
Who strokes the cops upon their nobs,
And on their shoulders gently sobs
While some swell fine from them she robs?
Who is it spends their hard-earned kale?
Who makes this plant a woeful tale?
Who is more deadly than the male?
[As It Was in The Beginning by Stanford Chapparel]
Before prohibition, the only time a lady even considered carrying any intoxicating beverage with her was when she put a few drops into an old medicine bottle to take when traveling. In the hey day of the flapper, all high-spirited girls carried their own flask—but not in their purses or in the side pocket of their coats.
When a smartly attired young woman walked down the street with a book under her arm, it did not necessarily mean she was on her way to a university course. Books became a fountain of bootleg. One book, for instance, had lovely shiny nickel edges; but take off one of the edges and you looked at three nickel collapsible drinking cups. Twist around the other edge, and you looked at a cork. Still other books had names on their backs, such as, “Three Swallows” or “Two Fingers.” In the hollow center were two to four glass containers—each little bottle held several ounces of a prohibited beverage.
Then there was the fad of carrying a stuffed toy animal—a curly-haired fuzzy poodle—whose head would snap off to reveal a cavity with a bottle that held ten ounces of “what have you.”
Furthermore, on sale at most New York department stores were specialty “unmentionables,” white – and pink – and flesh – and maize-tinted nether garments. On the side, so that the dress could fall over it smoothly without revealing a bulge, was a most convenient pocket. A handkerchief fit nicely into that pocket, but most frequently, that pocket accommodated a small flask.
With the advent of short skirts in the 20s, garters were a necessity to the feminine costume; they were made of frilly ribbons, ruffles and jeweled clasps. What could be more convenient than attaching a little glass bottle to the ribboned or jeweled clasp?
Of course there were those flappers who just tucked their flask under the elastic band!
The possibilities of the flapper’s ingenuity were limitless. The flapper carried cigarette cases that were really flasks in disguise. Any girl who was clever with her needle could sew a small pocket inside the boutonniere that she wore on her shoulder or on the inside of her feather fan. There were vanity cases that had enormous fringe tassels with a concealed glass vial, very convenient for hiding forbidden refreshments. Of course, the fur muffs carried by the flapper in the daytime, as well as, the lovely muffs of feathers at the opera or night clubs in the evening could always have a dual purpose for the thirsty young lady.
When all's said and done, the fun-loving flapper could cleverly and fashionably "carry" her liquor!
Fashion HistoryCIVIL WAR CLOTHING