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Rouge Your Knees

Posted by Elyse Bruce on January 27, 2010

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that Prohibition was a time when, “the parties were bigger,the pace was faster, and the morals were looser.”  Hoagy Carmichael wrote that the 1920s came in “with a bang of bad booze, flappers with bare legs, jangled morals and wild weekends.”

Up until the 1920s, knees were kept hidden beneath skirts and petticoats and showing them off would have been scandalous and provocative to say the least . 

Back then some women used rouge to highlight and draw attention to their cheeks, although modest women resisted the use of make up and preferred to make the most of ‘natural’ beauty instead.

Flappers, on the other hand, thought of themselves as promiscuous and sexy rebels, and so they rouged their knees to draw attention to them .

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One Response to “Rouge Your Knees”

  1. […] With undergarments came stockings. Forget garters! The trend was to roll your stocking. And with hemlines rising to right below the knee, the chance that someone would catch a glimpse of your rolled stocking, and even more scandalous, your knee cap, was kind of the point. Padded methods increased the girth of the roll so the stockings would become more noticeable, as described in Threaded’s Stocking Series, Part 4: The Rebellious Roll Garters. In fact, a Paramount silent film from 1927 starring Louise Brooks was even named after the phenomenon. And of course, there’s the classic line from the song “All That Jazz” in the 1975 Kander & Ebb musical Chicago, “I’m going to rouge my knees and roll my stockings down,” that solidified rolled stocking as a cultural touchstone as well as what might be an urban legend and sexual innuendo about flappers rouging their knees. […]

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