Women's clothing styles made a vast change in the 1920s. Never before had hems been so high. The rejection of so many layers of clothing, of stiff corsets, and complete body covering shocked the old guard. But the world had also changed. By the 20s, electricity was widely available. Telephones, automobiles, airplanes, moving pictures, radios were commonplace. Gas stoves replaced old wood-burning stoves, and electric refrigerators were on the way.
Women won the right to vote in the USA in 1920 empowering a large group of people who previously had no voice. Women had entered the workplace during WWI, giving them a feeling of independence as well as some disposable income.
The young women of the 1920s had grown up during a terrible war, a war that was questioned, a huge loss of human life that many suspected was in vein. 1918 ravaged the world with a flu pandemic that killed at least 50 million people worldwide. Young adults were at the greatest risk of death.
It was a new world for young women. New freedoms that came after such devastating loss encouraged young women to turn away from the old male-dominated culture, away from strict formal attire. The prohibition of alcohol sales in 1920 seemed foolish to many who mistrusted the establishment and flaunted the law.
With this new freedom, after such devastation, what is left but for girls to dance. The new syncopated music would have been difficult to dance to in the old, tight, long dresses. Driving, running to catch trams would have been hard in the long narrow skirts of the past. Old costume hampered movement at work and play. Women increasingly took to sports and outdoor activity.
The world had changed, and women's fashion changed with it.