Jazz Age Fashion at Fashion and Textile Museum London


Review Info

"A charming exhibition with pieces across a range of styles of the decade. Loads of interesting photographs and beauty items too. A real treat with lovely music, glitzy costumes and everyday wear too."


Our rating:

Buy it for £9.90

I recently visited the Fashion & Textile Museum in London for the first time ever! Though I knew of it’s existence I had never been before. This was a small exhibition of 1920s clothing, including daywear, outerwear, lingerie and of course the evening wear we know so well from the era. It also included a number of movie costumes from Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 Great Gatsby film.

London Fashion & Textile Museum is a small museum in South London but very much worth a visit, the gift shop for this exhibition alone was filled with wonderful treasures!

The exhibition is small but arranged over two floors. Large exhibits feature similar garments across a themed. The entrance prominently features outerwear. Jackets with thick fur stoles, woollen hats and the like arranged as though on a 1920s “streetcar”. The use of fur is prolific throughout the exhibition as it was in the decade, with many items such as rabbit and ermine collars present on the garments, even those designed to be worn indoors.

By far my favourite section of the exhibition was the lingerie and loungewear. It seems like the orientalism of this era really influenced loungewear in terms of prints, with lots of “kimono” style garments for putting over underwear. Although the silk teddy style of nightwear was popular, there is still something very feminine about the kimonos. I loved the knotted fringe on this printed “kimono” style dressing gown.

I have been planning my own dressing gown project for a while, so seeing this has really inspired me! I plan to use Named Clothing pattern Asaka pattern in a bright silk print.

Asaka Kimono

I really enjoyed this exhibition for the styles of daywear it displayed. Often when we think of 1920s fashion we consider only the evening “flapper” style, a style which really was not worn by all at all. We forget that this was an age of decadence but that meant for daywear too. Light, girlish fabrics such as batiste and lawn were popular daywear choices. And not everything was slim cut and short. In fact, most things were certainly not that far above the knee, a common misconception that the miniskirt was popular is largely false. Ankles were appropriate, but knees where fairly rare to be seen and would have been a bold statement, if a little vulgar even for a bold fashionista.


Cotton lawn dresses were often drop-waisted but with full, floating skirts that came to below the knee.


I strongly recommend visiting this exhibition, it’s a great value exhibition and it’s great to support this small museum!


Francesca Haselden

Francesca is the owner of EatSleepKnitUK, she also works for Toyota Home Sewing and is a web developer 9-5!

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