Way way back, when I first started experimenting with 1920s fashion, one thing in particular perplexed me. How did those loose fitting, drop waist skirts stay ON? I would look at photos of women clearly wearing a separate top and skirt, but the skirt wasn’t fitted close to the body. The law of gravity should have prevented the skirt from doing anything other than puddling around her ankles, but cinching the skirt to the body would ruin the silhouette.
Eventually I solved the mystery. Those skirts are not garments that start on the lower half of the body in the way we think of skirts today. They were usually attached to a lining that hung from the shoulders and never needed to hug the body circumference at any point, so they functioned essentially as loose dresses. Perhaps it is most accurate to think of the 1920s skirts as being attached to a slip, over which one would wear a blouse/sweater/etc.
From Lauren’s personal archive, here is a c.1928 McCall home sewing pattern that illustrates this concept. Notice how the top “lining” actually attaches to the skirt – it’s not a lining for the blouse at all!
Hope this clarifies a fashion mystery for you! xoxo Beth