1920s Flapper Feather Headbands – Channel Your Inner Gatsby!

Last Updated: December 14th, 2023 by Kerry Wisby (Teacher-BA English Literature, 1920s & Great Gatsby Expert)

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Flappers were young women who were not only seeking for a change of fashion but also fighting for their independence.

Gone were the days when women wore hair to their waist and beyond, usually braided or pinned up in a bun.

a woman reclining on a sofa and holding a glass of wine - she's dressed as a flapper in a peach-gold sleeveless dress, a matching fascinator, and a double-strand faux pearl necklace

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Flappers cut their hair into a style known as a bob, a chin-length cut with or without bangs that had a slight curl toward the face.

While this style was immensely popular, it was difficult to keep out of the mouth and eyes. How to solve such a dilemma before hairspray? A headband, of course!

Not just any headband but rhinestone-studded feathered headbands to match a flapper’s outrageous style!

Get your Great Gatsby on by adding a headband with feathers, lace, glitter, and more!

Why Did Flappers Wear Feathers?

Art deco was becoming fashionable in the 1920s (see Art Deco Plus Size Dresses ), and peacock feathers took center stage.

Fashion designs come and go, but it could be that flappers realized they needed a headband to keep their hair in place. As you would imagine, not just any headband but one that made an unmistakable statement.

They created the flapper headband by gluing or pinning inexpensive items ( see more Great Gatsby Headpieces here ), such as feathers and laces, to a basic headband. They typically made one-size fits-most flapper headbands that were functional and fashionable!

a Stunning Rhinestone Peacock feather headband fascinator Get the Flapper Headband!

Flappers used peacock feathers in headbands, such as the one above, or this one.

Vintage Peacock Feather Headpiece adorned with rhinestones

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These were not only beautiful and practical but also easy to make.

The flappers didn’t stop with peacock feathers. One can imagine that women who wanted to look chic but didn’t know where to buy or didn’t have peacock feathers simply used other feathers!

This look, using some down feathers rather than plumes, looks wispy and feminine.

Vintage Ostrich Feather Headband with rhinestones and braided band Get the Feather Headband!

Adding a wider band with sequins and a down feather creates a unique look.

Ostrich Feather Sequin Headband with a wide braided bandGet the 1920 Sequin Headband!

Last, we imagine that women started wearing different feathers because they wanted the color to match (or to offset) the color of their dress. How boring it would be if everyone wore the same peacock feather ( see peacock feather fans ) , right? Imagine a room full of ladies with peacock feathers and you walk in with this instead

A fascinator with two-color feathers, a rhinestone beaded blossom and gold-and-rhinestone dangling chains

Get the Vintage Rhinestone Headpiece!

It’s stunning, isn’t it?

Ladies like to be the same but different, am I right? No one wants to look so different that they stand out, but they don’t want to look exactly like everyone else, either. Wearing a dyed peacock feather flapper headpiece ( see more feather flapper dresses ), such as this one, would accomplish exactly that.

a white, fluffy feather headband with crystal bead accents and elastic band

Get the 20’s Feather Headpiece!

Were There Also Headbands without Feathers?

Oh yes!

Like the flapper dresses, flapper headbands with rhinestones and sequins were very common.

Rhinestone Studded Leaf-design Hairband Get the Flapper Hairband!

Styles varied almost as much as the dresses did. You’ll find every style imaginable, from rhinestone-encrusted headbands to intricately beaded headbands, to simpler but more elegant baroque-style headbands.

all black rhinestone embellished headband with glittery pendant chain accents Get the 1920s Beaded Headband!

Some headbands were delicate but very bright.

a glittery headband with crystal-studded vine design and white adjustable ribbon

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Others were, well, let’s say very noticeable from across the room.

Rhinestone-studded chain-cage design headpiece Get this Gorgeous Headpiece!

Whatever style a flapper chose to wear, you can be sure it was gorgeous!

What Is a Hatinator?

Hatinators are large saucer-type hats with a wide range of items attached to them, including flowers, fake flowers, fruit, feathers, even small fake birds or butterflies!

You’ll see lots of hatinators at British royal events, such as the horse races.

a woman in a yellow dress, wearing a string of white pearls and a black retro mesh-style Derby Fascinator Get the Retro Hatinator!

While a few hatinators do serve the purpose of being an actual hat and providing shade for the face and shoulders, most are simply decorative pieces.

a simple-style wide-brim Kentucky derby fascinator hat Get the 1920 Hatinator!

These are fascinating because they do come in a variety of styles, including the hatinators above or even this style.

a woman wearing a black dress, pearl necklace and a checkered wide-brimmed, mesh-fabric Derby Pillbox Fascinator Hat Get this Flapper Hat!

Sometimes it seems as if the more outlandish a hatinator is the better it is! You’ll see plenty of hatinators at horse races that are similar to this one,

a woman wearing black, white strands of pearls, and a stunning black hatinator with flowers and a butterfly as accents

Get this Gatsby Accessory!

or this ornately styled mesh hatinator

C.C Cocktail Fashion Sinamay Fascinator Hat Feather & Flower Design S102450, Yellow

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Hatinators are meant to be fun, so if you choose to wear one to your event, go all out and get your Great Gatsby on! Don’t be afraid to experiment!

a yellow Pillbox fascinator with butterflies, feathers, and lace accents

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What Is a Fascinator?

These are headbands that are similar to hatinators but aren’t quite as outrageous (in most instances).

I’ve heard it said that the difference between a hatinator and fascinator is the hat. If there is no “hat” then it’s a fascinator. I’ve often thought of fascinators as very decorative headbands.

This is a good example of a fascinator.

Floral-design fascinator on an organza veil Get this Flapper Fascinator!

As you can see, there really is no hat, this is just lace and ribbons.

Or there is this style with peacock feathers, similar to a headband, but it is pinned on with a bit of lace to cover the eyes for a little mystery.

a young woman wearing a green vintage dress and a matching Peacock-feather fascinator with a mesh netting that veils the face Get this 1920 Fascinator!

This is another example of a fascinator that uses a very thin headband but has lots of feathers and a touch of lace.

a fascinator headband in black motif - with black feather and black floral lace Get this Vintage Headpiece!

Last, I wanted to mention this fascinator because, not only is it beautiful, but it’s also the perfect example of what a fascinator should be.

a woman wearing a black-and-blue color fascinator adorned with feathers, beads, and a lace veil

Get this Flapper Headwear

Don’t worry so much about what it’s called- if you love it, then wear it with pride.

Why Did Flappers Wear Headbands?

The first reason is probably because headbands are practical. When dancing or moving about, such as tossing back a cocktail, headbands keep your hair in place.

The second reason, however, is that flappers simply wanted to add some flair to their hair!

The mothers and grandmothers of flappers used to wear hair pins or hats, so it only made sense that a flapper would also want to adorn their hair.

Why have plain hair when you can add a feather headband and dance the night away in style?

a flapper woman wearing a shimmery green headpiece with beads and glitters

Get this 20s Peacock Headpiece

One thing that flappers were not shy about and that was what we would call pizazz! It couldn’t be any plain old dress, it had to be a sparkly beaded dress like this:

a woman dressed in a vintage red sleeveless Cocktail Party outfit with a tasseled hem

Get this Flapper Dress!

or a fringe-filled dress so they could shake their shimmy.

a young woman wearing a Flapper Gatsby Dress with 3 tiers of tassels

Get this 1920 Fringe Dress!

So why would anyone think that a flapper would go out with nothing on her head but hair? Don’t forget that in this era, hats weren’t just a fashion statement, they were a necessity, like shoes!

During the day, women wore cloche hats similar to this.

a brown Cloche Hat or bucket hat for ladies Get this Vintage Hat!

But when a flapper went out to a party, she went all out with her feathered headband!

a gold-and-white feather headpiece - with leaf, beads, and chain accents Get this 1920 Headband!

Besides Feather Headbands, What Other Accessories Were Popular?

The jazz age was all about wealth and excess. It wasn’t enough to have a beaded, sequined dress that was dripping in fringe like this black stunner below.

A woman wearing a flapper dress with a peacock design on the bodice and an irregular tasseled hemline

Get this 20s Peacock Dress!

An outfit is simply not complete without the bling – a flapper knew that accessories make the dress!

a headpiece adorned with peacock feathers, sequins and beads Get this Feather Headpiece!

Most flappers would add a headband with feathers, some dangling 1920s earrings,

a pair of Art-Deco Rhinestone Studded Earrings Get these Vintage Earrings!

a couple of pearl strings,

a woman wearing a Double-Strand pearl necklace, fascinator, and a gold sequined dress Get the 1920 Pearl Necklace!

maybe a bracelet or two or three,

Multi Strand Pearl Bracelet and Ring Set

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a beaded purse,

1920s Flapper Peacock-design Sequined Clutch

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and, of course, the proper little Mary Jane shoes.

a pair of black Closed-Toe Cut-Out Ankle-Strap Shoes

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If this sounds like too much, it is, but that didn’t stop flappers! Keep in mind that excess is what the Roaring 20s is all about!

Final Thoughts

I never get tired of looking at all the different styles of flapper headbands. They are as varied as the women who wore them.

If you look at old photos or videos, you’ll see lots of flapper headbands that have peacock feathers,

a Bead-studded Peacock feather Headband

Get the 1920 Headband!

but quite a few more used puffy black feathers

Classic Puffy Ostrich Feather Headband Get the Classic Headband!

or other dyed materials.

Sparkle Crystal Leaf Feather Headband Get the 1920 Feather Headpiece!

Gold was another popular color, either with a gold feather or a gold-colored headband with a black feather.

Carnival-style two-color feathers and sequined Showgirl Headpiece

Get the Flapper Headpiece!

If you want to go retro or you’re looking for the perfect accessory for your Great Gatsby or Roaring 20s party ( see Roaring 20’s Couple Costumes ), you cannot go wrong by adding a flapper headband with a feather in it.

Whichever flapper headpiece you choose, have fun with it! After all, that’s what being a flapper is all about.

1920s Flapper Feather Headbands - Channel Your Inner Gatsby!
1920s Flapper Feather Headbands - Channel Your Inner Gatsby!
If you had to name one item that epitomized a flapper girl, it would be the feathered headbands. Get your Great Gatsby on with a retro headband!
Gatsby Flapper Girl