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Did flappers wear boas?

There were many articles, books and documentaries from that era that claimed the hat was first worn by the English flapper, Mary Queen of Scots. However, a book from 1767 published by a man named George Lumbard was clearly not the first to claim the hat was worn by the Queen. It describes Queen Elizabeth II as “a tall-tailed flapper, who is always in the act of singing her love song in the evening”. He also claims that the Queen never wore the hat “but the Duke of Edinburgh” after he saw her in the late 18th century.

Are the flappers known as “The Birds”?

The term “bird flappers” was first used in the 1890s, in various newspapers, and it referred to two groups of women – first and foremost, there was the winged ladies who were mostly associated with the British avant-garde of the 1890s – Jean-Paul Sartre (1902-1944), Gertrude Stein (1908-1997), Ethel Barrymore (1909-2009) and Marianne Moore (1909-2009) – and then there were the others.

For a good account of all of the flappers, I recommend the brilliant books From A to Z of the Early 20th Century.

Are they good singers?

The winged ladies were known as “birds” and did not have their own flute. (See also: “Flaming Ladies”.) The winged ladies could still sing well. When it comes to the “folk” flappers of the 19th century, they still can sing well.

The ones described below have, in my experience, been better at speaking and reading. They have also, in my experience, performed better for groups than the “bird flappers” during World War II, when more women served in the army. If you want a flapper with a good singing voice, this book is definitely for you. (See also: “A Flapper Goes to War with Her Favourite Tunes”.)


A good flapper, according to Pauline Burrows:

1920s White Beaded Sequin Stella Flapper Dress
“You will find the flappers to be an excellent bunch: I never had the greatest difficulty in getting them to sing or to read, or to dance. I always found their conversation more interesting than their music and it was usually quite a surprise, for both the men and women, to hear them talk in a variety of dialects