Summary: If you want to capture the essence of Ragtime Era dance fashions...
• The most popular dance frocks had peplums, with a somewhat high (Empire or Greek style) waistline.
• The skirt was often split, to allow dancing, with an inner skirt or accordion-pleated petticoat under the split.
• Arms were often bare, or sleeves came down halfway, more or less to the elbows.
• Some frocks have trailing ribbons here and there.
• Some women are wearing wrist bracelets, but not much jewelry was worn. Simplicity was the "modern" reaction against the costume jewelry that their mothers and grandmothers had worn.
• Feathers were the most popular headdress for women, in a wide variety of styles, often held with a headband.
• Caps or a wide variety of small hats were also worn. The Dutch cap was Irene Castle's personal trademark.
• Some of the women above have no headdress at all, to better feature their new shorter hairstyle.
• Women's dance shoes had French (splayed) heels, and were often decorated or attached with "Grecian" ribbons.
• For dancing, men customarily wore a formal black tailcoat, even in the afternoon, with white bow tie and white vest.
• Only one-quarter of the men above are wearing white gloves. Most are more "modern" with bare hands.
• For shoes, many of the men above are wearing dancing pumps, which are hard to find today. None are wearing spats.
This describes the most distinctive look of Ragtime Era dance fashions. There were plenty of exceptions — harem pants for women (especially under the split skirt), turbans, simple straight dresses (rare), long sleeves (rare), women still wearing outdated fashions like hobble skirts and long hair, less formal tuxedos or Eaton jackets for men, and sports jackets for al fresco dancing.