Fashion: As time goes by

The trends of the Roaring Twenties make a bold return. Claire Schofield looks at the most glamorous vintage styles for the festive season.

Green glitter lace maxi dress, £79, at
Green glitter lace maxi dress, £79, at

Who doesn’t secretly dream they could turn back time? Escape our own reality and pick a new one?

But the past has a curious habit of creeping back on us, and fashion trends are no exception. The best fashion is timeless. Yes, styles may go out of style every so often, but they somehow always come back and, with the help of popular British period television drama Downton Abbey, the trends of the 1920s have made their gallant return.

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The ‘20s marked the decade when fashion entered into the modern era. As the roles of women in society began to change, so did the fashions. Out went the days when women’s wardrobes were conservative and restricted. Instead, clothing became more comfortable, and formal attire started to be abandoned in favour of trousers or flowing skirts.

Although the ‘20s are best-known for introducing the iconic flapper dress, the fashion styles did retain an air of sophistication, with straight bodices and low waistlines being a hallmark trend of the era.

The clothes were the picture of elegance; refined and graceful, yet dazzling. Just as in the Sixties, mini skirts and the flashing of leg above the knee ruled, in the ‘20s the long gown was a wardrobe staple and fringed dresses with intricate beaded embellishments and lace detail were also common, along with pleated skirts, cloche hats, long necklaces and drop earrings.

While last year’s film release of The Great Gatsby undoubedly rejuvenated some ‘20s sparkle, it is perhaps more thanks to Downton that the vintage styles have seen such a resurgence. The glamorous frocks worn by the cast have recaptured the grandeur and sophisticated elegance of the period – and the fashion world just can’t get enough, with ‘20s style trends dominating store rails this season. And with a special Christmas Day episode to look forward to, you can expect to see plenty of glamour lighting up your TV screens.

To steal the style, stores are overflowing with lace and velvet evening dresses, long gowns with glittering beading – fit for your poshest party or special event, or ready for New Year – and an abundance of long flowing hemlines which swish and sway to wonderfully dramatic effect.

Metallic silvers and golds are also particularly popular this season, along with loose beaded tops and brightly coloured floor-length pleated skirts.

Add a pair of low heeled shoes with a T-bar or buckle strap and a closed round toe, and some sparkling accessories to really recapture the magic of the fashionable 1920s.

And for the genuine articles, you’ll find real vintage opulence at the Fashion & Home Vintage Fair at the Victoria Hall in Saltaire this Saturday (9.30am to 4pm, £3 on the door).