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Nanaimo our History

July 7th, 2016
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The Roaring 20’s – Nanaimo Dance Group, 1920s

These 1920s women were breaking barriers. With bobbed hair, short skirts, and a carefree attitude, this youthful generation of women were saying goodbye to an old set of values. Before the Roaring Twenties, women wore floor-length dresses, with cinched waists, covered arms, and tight corsets. Victorian etiquette set rigid standards and created a strict moral climate.

However, things drastically changed with the onset of World War I. From 1914-1918, women vigorously entered the workforce in order to fill the economic void, keeping the wartime efforts running smoothly, as Canadian men were off fighting in Europe. After the war, women had a renewed sense of independence – even in their wardrobe.

Women threw away the corsets and opted for free flowing, lighter clothing. The “Flapper” wardrobe style of the 1920s was much easier to dance in, especially to the Charleston and other popular music genres of the time such as jazz. The free spirited nature of the Flapper embodied a major departure from the old, and a new perception of what it meant to be a young, contemporary, independent woman. (From the collection of the Nanaimo Museum)

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