What to Wear to a Great Gatsby Themed Party

Roaring 20’s costumes for women

With the Great Gatsby movie in theaters, lots of roaring 20’s costume parties are on the horizon. The movie has some very decadent party scenes with fabulous costumes. If you are thinking of wearing costumes from that era, the range is quite extensive from slinky long gowns to short little flapper dresses.

The silhouette changed drastically from the decades before the 20’s. Little flapper dresses consisted of short sleeve, sleeveless or straps and a straight line (that means no waist indentation) to the hips where they were gently fitted and then straight to the hem which could be very short (3-4 inches above the knee) or mid calf. A very boxy and straight little dress with minimal little collars or other embellishments. These sexy little dresses were made in lots of different colors but usually solid or a faint print in florals. Some of the little flapper dresses included a straight “shift” with a lace overlays. Other styles looked very similar to our modern day “slips” with skinny straps and lace at the hem.

IMG_2114The most popular colors for flapper dresses were white, black, grey and all pastels. Lots of fringe, beading or lace was used in evening wear versions and many were made of silk, satin or sheer fabrics. The main silhouette of the time is what we call “slinky-straight” but rarely fitted at the waist. Even the still popular “bias cut” dress which was a back-revealing, cut-to-follow curves, silk dress, was not actually tight at the waist. The bias dress “hangs” from spaghetti straps to below ankles to “suggest” the figure and gently cling to it. (Remember the age of the corset was coming to an end and this was a revolutionary look for women.) Most women still wore corsets under their gowns except for the very high fashion types who showed off their lack of under garments with backless gowns in the bias cut style.

Shoes also changed during this era. Previous periods had mostly boots and “slippers” as they were called which were only for evenings. These mid heel shoes became very popular in the Roaring 20‘s and even lace-up boots were minimized and made in more decadent materials like silk.

The new 20‘s shoe had a short heel (maybe 2” high) and were made of fabrics and leathers. Some of the shoes of the 20‘s had straps (sort of like a professional tap dancers shoe) and the toe was curved not pointed. Since the new dance, “The Charleston” was very vigorous, these shoes were up to the task. They were made of fine fabrics but still durable.

Another addition to fashion of the era that became very popular was feather boas. Although furs were still popular (remember the big Raccoon coats for men?), feathers were widely used in dress decoration as well as outerwear like the feather boa. Feather boas are still a very popular costume accessory, but an essential for the 20’s and they come in lots of styles, colors and feathers.

The hats and headpieces of the era also changed drastically. Another huge change for women was short hair. “Bobs” (we call them China Dolls) , “Waves” and other short hair designs became common. Long hair was cut off and saved in special boxes but short hair was definitely in Vogue. In addition to short hair styles, headpieces and hats changed as well. A simple headband worn right above the eye brow (or even across the front of the hair line) was usually decorated with beads and feathers. The most memorable hat of the era was the Cloche. This hat fit almost like a bathing cap and usually obscured some of the profile of the wearer’s face. Almost all evening wear included some kind of head gear. The most popular were tiaras, crowns, and jeweled headbands…

20’s Hats & Headpieces Slideshow

Finally, jewelry changed as well. Long swinging pearl necklaces became the most popular, but with Erte influence the “deco” style of jewelry included diamonds and metals that were very different from the Victorian styles that had been popular since the turn of the century. Like all the fashions of the 20’s, jewelry, head gear and boas really reflect the period. So, be “decadent” with the accessories.
Whether you are thinking about a flapper with a Cloche hat or a slinky silk backless bias dress, the roaring 20’s symbolizes freedom and fun.

The Costume Salon carries an extensive line of costumes and accessories that closely resemble the fabulous costumes in the Gatsby movies. Sizes range from extra small to plus size and the colors and fabrics are excellent reproductions of the period. The Gatsby movie is going to create lots of 20’s costume parties, so order early. For the best selection in your size, call in September.

Click Here for Our Roaring 20’s Costumes


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