picture of 1920s chorus girls next to pictures of raver girls

How Ravers Are Similar to Flappers, and Different

Both ravers and flappers wear provocative clothes, dance to music in public, live in the teens and embrace the values of equality and respect.

There are a lot of similarities between the flappers of the 20’s and earlier, and the ravers of modern times. But there are also a lot of differences. At the top of the page we see an image of chorus girls from the set of the film Becky in 1927 supperimposed with five unknown “raver girls” taken at EDC.

Time of Appearance

Flapper fashion peaked during the 1920’s but the word was introduced into popular culture as early as the 1910’s by writers. Some speculate that the term was used as early as the 1890’s. The origin of the word is unknown and it could mean a duckling flapping it’s wings but “flap” was used as a slang word for a prostitute or a woman of loose morals at the time.

1920's flapper dress

Flapper dress circa 1920’s

A flapper is defined as a young woman of the 20’s who dressed in an unconventional manner. They behaved boldly by attending universities, voting in elections, dancing to jazz music in public, not wearing corsets, cutting their hair short, getting jobs, driving cars, or drinking and smoking.

Ravers as they are called appeared during the 1990’s but enjoyed a rise in popular culture in the following decades. The are even more daring with fashion trends, dance to electronic music at festivals and night clubs, and they share feminist values such as not being sexually assaulted at concerts.

Styles of Dress

flapper look book 2018 version

100″ Cultured Freshwater Pearl Endless Strand Necklace ($225), Chelsea Crew Appreciate the Era Mary Jane Heel ($79), Halogen® Faux Fur Stole in Black ($99),  IceGreenEyes Great Gatsby Headband ($69), Missguided Red Tassel Detail Mini Dress ($77), Swarovski Baron Pierced Earrings in Rose Gold ($149), Unique Vintage Vintage Style Gold Telescopic Cigarette Holder ($18), Whiting & Davis Heritage Deco Mesh Clutch in Gold ($370).

This is a slutty raver/flapper costume that has been updated for 2017. It is perfect for paying tribute to the flappers of the Roaring Twenties.

The mid length fringe has been updated to a  body con mini dress with a plunging neckline. Back then women bound their breasts to look thinner but now they are encouraged. Wear it with a cloche hat or a feathered headband such as the one shown above.

cloche hat

Giovannio Cloche with Key in Black ($74)

Close toed mary jane pumps are perfect for dancing or working in an office. Add sparkle with multi-strand pearl necklaces and crystal chandelier earrings. Cover up with a faux fox fur stole because you were once traumatized by The Fox & the Hound (1981).

The long gold cigarette holder is better for joints, which are not a felony now and are less likely to give you lung cancer. You can still store it in an elegant Whiting & Davis clutch like the flappers did.

Dancing to Music

During the 1920’s it was considered “not nice” for middle class women to visit jazz clubs and dance to music that was often played by African Americans. Now it is not advisable to post photographs online of yourself wearing pasties and fishnets and dancing to EDM at least according to your parents.

If you watch this early video footage of a woman doing the Charleston to jazz music during the 20’s. It is similar to shuffle dancing in that you move your legs forward and then backwards over and over.

The 20’s version of twerking was a dance called the Black Bottom that was considered to be burlesque at the time. Basically the woman jumps around in a circle and smack herself on the butt. Maybe you could add this move to your shuffle dancing routine, as it was a variation of the Charleston.

Feminist Values

After World War I a lot of women were really upset that their husbands had been killed in battle. Meanwhile the Suffrage movement meant it was now legal for them to vote. Prohibition laws forbade them to drink alcohol but there was a vast underground trade in the Black Market. The automobile had recently been invented and they wanted to drive too. The cool new musical genre was called jazz.

Now in early 2018 feminist rights still have a long way to go. The US still isn’t ready for a female president, even some of the women voters. There is a digital technology boom in computers and telecommunications. And women are flouting social conventions by dancing to house and bass music at raves, and wearing as little as two pasties, fishnets and some bootie shorts while doing it. There is a brisk underground trade at cannabis dispensaries. And a wave of sexual assault allegations are in the press.

flapper lingerie set

Spicy Lingerie Foxy Flapper Bedroom Costume Bra Set ($29.95)

Both flappers and ravers are forward thinking, progressively minded young women that symbolize a sweeping desire for change in modern society. Wearing revealing clothes is not an invitation for men to harass them in a public setting, or repost creep shots of them on social media.

Read about why sexy clothes are empowering or this piece about slut shaming at Halloween.


  • Cover image at EDC found re-posted on weird forum by a creepy person.

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Elizabeth de Moya has contributed to DJ Mag, DJ TechTools, LA Weekly and Thump (Vice). She has a BA in Linguistics from UC Berkeley.