Let’s Bring Back (Some) of the Roaring Twenties

Elizabeth Allen, Staff Writer

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It’s the ’20s again, and this decade should be as roaring as the one a century ago. As a reminder for those who don’t remember the 1920s, it was more or less sandwiched by the two world wars, and the decade was defined by prohibition, an economic boom, more consumerism and industrial growth, flappers and films (including talkies), and jazz. 

There were plenty of things that were popular in the ’20s that are less popular now, but being that the ’20s are back, they should be brought back in style. Here are some things that should make a return in the 2020s.

Music 

The Jazz Age extended across the ’20s and ’30s, and jazz was one of the most popular kinds of music. Though there were critics of the new and popping jazz, many people grew to be fans of the genre. Jazz musicians found their starting point in speakeasies, and jazz bands became popular in the big cities of New York and Chicago. Joe “King” Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers, and Ella Fitzgerald are just a few examples of bands and music artists that were popular and formative in the rise of jazz music.

Another popular type of music was the blues, a type of music which has influenced many other genres. The top three blueswomen, Bessie Smith, Lucille Bogan, and Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, were influential in the genre and others, and these singers gave the blues more popularity.

Jazz and the blues were essential in the development of other types of music, and they have fallen in popularity. Some of the classics should play again.

Films

Hollywood expanded in the 1920s, with “Picture Palaces” popping up to show films. Silent films took up half of the decade and “talkies” (slang for films with voice) in the other half. Naturally, talkies were a hit, with The Jazz Singer leading the new form of films. Since it could be easier to express emotion through voice, acting lost the exaggerated expressions and gestures that were iconic of silent films. Additionally, about a decade later, in 1929, color was introduced to film. 

While movies are sometimes filmed in black and white for artistic purposes, few silent movies are filmed today. It’s a shame to see silent movies go silent, so this style of film should be brought back boldly, in black and white, and without a spoken word.

Cartoons

As a subsection of films, the 1920s had many popular black-and-white cartoons, with some in a recognizable “rubber hose” animation style. The style is characterized by fluid animation and characters with elastic limbs like hoses. The cartoons of the decade were headed by memorable characters, including Koko the Clown, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and Mickey Mouse. 

The rubber hose style of these cartoons allowed for fluid and unrealistic movement of characters, which allowed for a lot of creativity. While there has been a resurgence of the style, it would be interesting to see cartoons animated in this free form style.

Fashion

Many people may remember the 1920s for flapper fashion, the decade being more or less a revolution in women’s fashion. Women could wear straight skirts and expose ankles and shins, wear shorter collars, androgynous clothing and pants. Some fashionable accessories were the cloche hat: a cute, bell shaped hat with flowers or feathers fashioned on the hat. Feather headbands, long pearl necklaces, and gaudy gems also adorned the nightlife socialites. 

Men’s fashion was also tasteful, with classy suits defining wealth; both loose-fitting and tight. High class men used canes, and many wore suspenders. Men wore handsome hats, including the boater, the fedora, and the newsboy cap, each of which were iconic for the ’20s. 

While 21st century fashion certainly has its appeal of being modern, it lacks the pizzazz that the fashion of the Golden Twenties had. Maybe this is the decade that that classy style can return. 

Slang 

The best way to be the bee’s knees in the 2020s is with 1920s slang. Due to this generation’s modern and bizarre humor, there hasn’t ever been a better time to call a man an egg or a cat. If you wanna say that a cat is cool, call them the cat’s meow, or, even better, the cat’s pajamas. But if they are acting suspicious, hold back on the compliments and kiss that egg on the noodle–but if you hit them in the head, you might want to call for a meat wagon. If someone nearby calls copper, you might want to fade and get the elephant ears off of your tail.

While no one should read into the slang above like its a guide, it can certainly be fun to make sentences sound like nonsense, with true ’20s meaning. This is the perfect time to bring some old, strange slang back.

Automobiles

The 1920s was an age of exuberant spending and extravagance, so it’s only natural that many people would buy cars that were new for that era. The Ford Model T, or, as it was affectionately referred to, “Tin Lizzie,” was a popular and affordable car of the time. Other iconic ’20s cars were the Ford Model A, Lancia Lambda, Hanomag 2, and the Cadillac V-16. The style of ’20s cars have an old-fashioned style with thinner, rectangular body styles and wheels reminiscent of carriage wheels.

While these old automobiles certainly don’t have the technological or safety features that today’s cars have, they have a certain charm. It would be cool to see some cars this decade with stylistic features reminiscent of the ’20s decade that came a century before. 

The 1920s had some iconic styles in many different things, and the decade was remembered as a decade of jubilant prosperity. Hopefully the 2020s can be as glamorous as the 1920s appeared to be, and hopefully there will be a resurgence in some of the Roaring Twenties’ aspects.