1920s Fashion Lessons from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

One of my favorite dramas at the moment is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – if you aren’t already a fan then here’s a quick introduction to the series.

Phyrne (pronounced Fry-on-ee) Fisher is a glamorous, independent female private detective, who assists the lovable Detective Inspector Jack Robinson on investigations around 1920s Australia, despite his reluctance. She always looks amazing, has a rapier sharp wit, and sashays around Melbourne equally at home in Jazz clubs as she is perching on Robinson’s desk! Her adventures are as fabulous as her wardrobe, which leads us neatly onto her style.

Here are some of my favorite of her looks, with tips on stealing some of her fabulous flapper fashions!

The Oriental Influence:

Oriental designs were incredibly popular during the 1920s, from embroidered kimono-style dressing gowns, to turbans and richly embellished exotic fabrics.

The fashions from Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

Above: Miss Fisher entertaining company in her Chinese embroidered robe, and below a genuine 1920s vintage silk dressing gown with oriental design.


Below: Antique Chinese embroidered coat from the 1920s

Below: 1920s silk embroidered robe

Genuine 1920s vintage kimono-style coat

The fashions from Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

Above: Miss Fisher in an amazing gold embroidered coat and headband. Below: Designer vintage evening coat in gold and copper brocade and vintage gold metallic turban

Vintage designer evening coat in copper bronze and gold brocade by Fernando Sarmi

Hats and Headwear

To get a great 1920s look you’ll need a sharp and sleek bob, but why not spice things up with a fabulous hat? The cloche was a really popular style in the 1920s, and quite often embellished with feathers, tassels or with a brooch pinned onto it. Although if you go for a gold cloche like the one below it probably doesn’t need any extra embellishment!

The fashions from Miss Fishers Murder MysteriesThe fashions from Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

The fashions from Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

A dark cloche always looks elegant, especially if it has a beautiful Art Deco ornament pinned to it like this one (below)


Vintage 1920s fur felt cloche with Deco ornament
1920s Art Deco metallic cloche hat


Bold and beautiful prints were popular on day dresses during the 1920s, whether geometric or whimsical, patterns were a big trend!

The fashions from Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

Vintage 1920s pheasants and feathers print day dress


Feathers and Fur

Fur collars and feather stoles were a bit hit in the 1920s, for those who could afford them, and Phyrne of course can afford the very best.

The fashions from Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

A white fur collar or scarf adds a luxurious edge to any 1920s outfit. This vintage white fox fur scarf (below) would be ideal.

Vintage white fox fur scarf


The fashions from Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

Alternatively you could opt for a coat with fur collar like Miss Fisher has above. Below: Vintage black coat with white mink collar and cuffs

Vintage black coat with white mink trim

Eveningwear: Chiffon, Metallics and Velvet

For an evening look, you can really have some fun with a 1920s outfit, embellishment was pretty much unlimited! From metallic thread, to beading and rhinestones it adds a real touch of glamour.

The fashions from Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

Below: Black rhinestone embellished 1920s evening dress.

The fashions from Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries

Below: vintage 1920s silk velvet evening dress with matching jacket.


Vintage 1920s velvet dress and jacket


1920s blue velvet drop-waist gown
Violet and metallic vintage 1920s evening scarf


And to finish off any outfit you need the right shoes, and for the 1920s those were of course Mary Janes! Perfect for dancing the night away in a Jazz club!

Original 1920s vintage Mary Jane shoes


A Brief History of Vintage Swimwear: From Baggy Knits to String Bikinis

You can buy swimwear in any style imaginable now, from the tiniest bikini to form-enhancing shape-wear swimsuits and even burqinis, but it hasn’t always been that way.  Here’s a brief history of modern swimwear, from it’s beginnings in the 1920s through to the 1970s.


The 1920s was the decade where swimwear first started to resemble the swimming costume we know today. The Twenties were a decade of female emancipation: long hair was bobbed short, hemlines got higher and higher and it got increasingly more acceptable for women to have careers. The new form-fitting swimwear reflected the spirit of the age. The style tended to be similar for both men and women, with a form fitted knitted tunic and shorts.

Swim suits tended to be made from wool jersey and suited the fashionable androgynous figure of the time.

Did you know: It was illegal in the US for men to swim with their chests exposed until the mid 1920s, and in some places this law lasted until the early 1940s!

Below: Maroon 1920s swimsuit with gold trim by G & M Gantner & Mattern Co. of San Fransisco.


Swimwear became a lot more feminine in the 1930s. The swimsuit evolved to be skirted, flared and much more flattering. Lastex (a stretchy elasticated cotton material) became fashionable and allowed for much more form-fitted styles which were popularized by Hollywood stars like Esther Williams. Two piece swimsuits and suits with cut-out panels were popular during the 1930s, although the bottoms were always high-waisted and wouldn’t show the navel.

Below: Original 1930s “bathing beauty” style swim suit, in a navy blue textured wool. It has a shaped bodice, a waistband, a short skirt and wool panty with unique braided straps fit into channels.


Nylon was invented in the late 1930s but because of the Second World War most nylon was used in the manufacturing of military supplies rather than in swimwear.

Corsetry was introduced into the swimming costume, by adding elasticated panels and boned bodices and materials used were mostlycotton or lastex.  People also made their own swimming costumes from whatever they had at home due to rationing and fabric shortages.

The first true bikini was unveiled by designer Louis Reard in Paris in 1946. Two-piece swimsuits had been worn in the past, but this was the first string bikini. Reard claimed that a true bikini would be small enough to pass through a wedding ring and it was seen as very scandalous at the time.

Below: Beautiful vintage 1940s blue cotton swimsuit with boned bodice, back zip and adjustable straps.



All in one swimsuits were the most popular style during the 1950s, especially since they now included built in bras and more support than ever. Strapless styles were fashionable along with bright tropical prints which just hadn’t been available during the wartime years.

Below: Lovely vintage 50s cotton bathing suit from Catalina, in a great abstract print of brown and gold with black and white accents. It has a “Bubble butt”, so called because the bottom and legs are elasticized to create that look.


Nylon and Lycra really molded the shape of 1960s swimwear. The introduction of those fabrics allowed for much stretchier form-fitting styles, and swimsuits became more risque to compete with the bikini.

In 1964 Rudi Gernreich designed the topless ‘monikini’ which caused great controversy and was even denounced by the Vatican.

Below: Vintage 1960s stretch bikini with round formed hard cups in the bra; it is adjustable with buttons. Bottom has boy leg style, pull on by Catalina (who founded the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants as a way of promoting their products).



By the 1970s the shape of swimsuits was pretty much the same as now, but with new features like front zippers and mesh panels add extra sex appeal.

Below: A 1970s “Wet Look” swimsuit which looks like liquid chocolate! Its a one piece maillot with a white metal zip front, and boy leg styling.

Feeling inspired? Why not grab yourself an original vintage swimsuit in store now?

1920s Fashion Trends: The Oriental Influence

1920s fashion wasn’t just about flappers and fringed dresses.  Traditional designs from China and Japan had a big influence on Twenties style with trends like kimino-style coats and robes and richly embroidered fabrics becoming popular.

Here are some of my favourite Chinese and Eastern-inspired vintage. Aren’t they fabulous? The embroidery is just exquisite!

Chinese designs were also really popular in the 1950s so you can dress these fashions up any way you like! They can look very glamorous with skinny jeans or leggings and a vintage slip used as a long sexy camisole.


Continue reading 1920s Fashion Trends: The Oriental Influence

Win This Amazing Vintage 1920s Octagonal Bangle

I’m giving this fabulous genuine 1920s bangle away this week together with Mary from vintage blog We Heart Vintage.

vintage 1920s bangle

The competition closes on 24th December 2013 so make sure you head over and get your entry in!

If you’re looking for more fabulous 1920s vintage don’t forget to check out my store I have lots of beautiful and rare 1920s vintage clothes, shoes accessories and jewelery.  Oh, and if you need some advice on getting that 1920s look spot-on, then I’ve written the perfect blog post to help you.

Good luck!


How to Wear 1920s Vintage Like a Flapper

The 1920s is one of the most inspiring decades for wearing vintage fashion. Not only does it feel really special to wear genuine 1920s vintage, the fashions of the Roaring Twenties were just so stylish!

Here’s my guide to what to wear and how to wear it for a 1920s day look and a 1920s flapper-style evening look. So get inspired by Gatsby and Downton Abbey and embrace your inner flapper!

1920s Daywear:

Day dresses were longer than typical flapper dresses and often had pretty delicate prints. Popular features were sailor collars and a straight shape with a dropped waist.



See more 1920s dresses here

Any bright young thing worth her salt would be wearing a cloche hat during the day (a close-fitting bell-shaped hat). These could be plain or as fancy as you liked – just look around and find something you adore!

See more vintage 1920s hats

Evening Wear: A Flapper Dress

A common misconception is that flapper dresses were bottom-skimming mini-dresses. It was only really in the 1960s that dresses became this short (unless you were a showgirl or an actress). Flapper dresses were generally risqué in different ways. They often featured mesh panels, beading, lace and fringing which were revealing when you were busy dancing the Charleston. They are generally drop-waisted and can be as embellished and beautiful as you can imagine! Continue reading How to Wear 1920s Vintage Like a Flapper

Electric Blue Vintage 1920s Gatsby Era Overdress- Found in a Pennsylvania Attic!

I just wanted to share this delicious vintage 1920s dress with my readers before it gets sold. Its a net over dress from the 1920s, The Great Gatsby Era, with the most electric blue sequins I have ever seen.

Funny, it was balled up in a pillowcase I recently purchased from a Pennsylvania Estate. Let us know what you think! We are pretty sure it is already sold, but if not it will be available at The Best Vintage Clothing soon..