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How to: Get the 1920s Flapper Look

Tue, 4 December 2012 3:01PM

When it comes to TV obsessions, I don’t do Dexter, I’ve never been privy to Breaking Bad and I’m still in the throes of scheduling time for Game of Thrones.

But Mad Men? Done it. Twice. Downton Abbey season 3 is already downloaded, and for the past few nights I’ve been kicking back and gluing my face – almost literally – to the iPad so as not to miss a mere second of HBO drama, Boardwalk Empire.

Set in 1920s New Jersey, Boardwalk Empire pays homage to the Flapper; think kiss curls, even complexions, blood red lips, powdery scents and perfect nails.

Although the plotline is more aligned with the goings on of gangsters during prohibiton, who can go past a woman who wields her lipstick like a wily weapon?

With the added buzz on Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby getting a release date, and Channel Nine’s Underbelly Squizzy slated for 2013, well, it seems that the roaring ’20s are really quite the rage. Although I’m nearly 100 years too late, here’s how I figure the lovely flapper look can be contemporised for today.

First, the inspiration, courtesy of Emmy Rossum …

Now for the how-to …

Hair: Keep hair sleek with a gentle wave. So feminine! And much easier to DIY than the traditional finger waves. Lightweight shampoos prep hair best for such a style. Follow with a heat-protecting mist, such as Keratinology by Sunsilk Advanced Reconstruction Program Heat Protector Spray, $13.99, from pharmacies. Part the hair on the side from above the middle of the eyebrow. “With the fuller side of the part, use small tongs to take one inch sections and tong the hair into the part line, pinning it in place until it cools,” advises leading hairdresser, Barney Martin “ Don’t touch the hair when it is still warm otherwise it will end up a frizzy mess.” When the curls are completely cold, remove the pins and loosen with your fingers before brushing with a soft bristle brush to blend them together. Finish with a lightweight hairspray and pin everything up at the back so you have a faux-bob effect, a little like Lauren Conrad’s:


Skin: Many of the women portrayed in Boardwalk Empire are Irish immigrants, which means that skin is paler than pale. Back in the day, sun exposure was passé and to not wear a hat was to not be a lady, so the sun rarely got to settle on the skin for very long, if at all. To recreate this porcelain perfection, go for a coverage that keeps skin fresh, rather than flaky, and evenly pale such as Shiseido The Makeup Stick Foundation, $67, from department stores.

Eyes: Eyes were defined, but not at all daring. The garish makeup was left to the dames of the dance halls (AKA prostitutes). Anyone else wore her eyes soft and unassuming. To this day, the natural eye remains a favourite of mine, especially when bright lips are left to shine. Your best bet for a 1920s-inspired look that’s right for now is a duo or trio option that you can layer, like Stila Eyeshadow Trio in Bella, $32, Mecca Cosmetica.

Lips: In Boardwalk Empire, the actress’s lips are perfectly flush, but it was more the shape of 1920s pouts that stole the show, as emphasising the cupid’s bow of the top lipline was a huge trend. To keep the look youthful and modern, go for a berry stain. Try Napoleon Lip Pencil in Pinot Noir, $28, 1800 814 572, or Max Factor Lipfinity Lip Tint in Berry Burst, $19.95, from pharmacies, for a natural, non-budge hue.


What do you think, Primpettes? Do you like to get back to the classics on occasion?

Do you think a version of this is the go for you?

Or would you rather attempt the Charleston?

Ecb x

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  • Posted by: Tina-1291133452 Master Fan // Tue, 4 December 2012 03:29pm

    i love how this looks and would definitely rock it, but a big side part looks teeeribble on me! Emma’s skin looks amazing, her makeup is flawless!

  • Posted by: MissJo Devotee // Tue, 4 December 2012 05:43pm

    I’m on it!!

  • Posted by: melg Master Fan // Tue, 4 December 2012 07:10pm

    This is one of those looks that I think looks cute on other people but would never work for me

  • Posted by: misschris Master Fan // Tue, 4 December 2012 07:27pm

    I’m not really a fan of this look, unless its for a dress up party of themed do.

  • Posted by: glossed Master Fan // Tue, 4 December 2012 08:11pm

    I definitely think this is a classic look that will always be stylish! I love getting beauty inspiration from TV and films!

  • Posted by: Sparkles17 Master Fan // Tue, 4 December 2012 10:54pm

    Must watch Game of Thrones it was good! Am reading the books now! Love the dress styles and makeup on Downtown Abbey too. This look wont suit me, my skin is not that pale! However just adore the look.

  • Posted by: loopylexy Master Fan // Wed, 5 December 2012 12:26pm

    Wow Emmy looks stunning, I love her lip colour!

  • Posted by: daylight dancer Master Fan // Wed, 5 December 2012 01:18pm

    Dont get me started on games of thrones. Im obsessed!
    As for the flapper look…..Love it!! Id love to have my hair done 1920s like for an evening. My nan could probably do it for me.

  • Posted by: CandiH Devotee // Thu, 6 December 2012 02:14pm

    I LOVE the 1920’s fashion, hair & makeup. When I was at trade school we had learn how to finger wave and pin curl, I think I was the only one who actually enjoyed the labour intensive tasks

  • Posted by: lovefashionangel Master Fan // Thu, 6 December 2012 03:25pm

    I dont think i would suit this look but i would definitely try it for a night out

  • Posted by: matty Enthusiast // Thu, 6 December 2012 08:21pm

    This look is great. I think it’s fun taking inspiration from other periods.

  • Posted by: bluebird Master Fan // Thu, 6 December 2012 10:18pm

    I’ve always had a thing for the roaring twenties and love DA! Though I am an even bigger fan of Dexter and Breaking Bad, also loved GOT.. but both my partner and I think Pillars Of The Earth is even better (and grittier)..starts this Sun on ABC1 if anyone’s interested :)

    Woops, back to beauty….I’ve always adored the flapper style and though my hair and skin aren’t ideally sleek enough for this look I do have a deep side part and bob.
    Emily looks amazing here!

  • Posted by: DebstarDesigns Master Fan // Mon, 10 December 2012 03:59pm

    I love all things vintage and would definitely give this look a go (with a bit of twist!)

  • Posted by: missselin Master Fan // Mon, 17 December 2012 01:47pm

    Oh, I love this but my hair is so long, I could never pull it off.

  • Posted by: Miss_5ft0 Enthusiast // Mon, 17 December 2012 05:31pm

    Definitely going to try this at my next formal event!

  • Posted by: MissJo Devotee // Mon, 8 April 2013 09:20pm

    I was born in the wrong era. That is a factoid.

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Thu, 30 May 2013 11:22am

    I am really not sold on the look so I would rather attempt the Charleston thanks. HaHaHa

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Sun, 2 March 2014 01:45pm

    It is not a style I would wear myself.

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