Great Gatsby Fashion and Flapper Girl Attitude

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 Our party’s theme was 1920s inspired by The Great Gatsby and so it was vital that we should capture and dress in New Yorker’s style from this period. The young women of this era were a “new breed” who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers had their origins in the liberal period of the Roaring Twenties, the social, political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of World War I, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe. Their behavior was considered outlandish at the time and redefined women’s roles. In August of 1920, women obtained the right to vote. With this new feeling of power, hemlines became shorter and waistlines became looser. As the focus shifted from the war to social life, fashion became a high priority of the majority of woman during the time, which is evident in The Great Gatsby, which sees long descriptions of the glamorous styles of the party guests and their great concern for their appearance.

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Indeed, Daisy Buchanan in the novel The Great Gatsby is a perfect illustration of a woman in the 1920s. Married to a wealthy man, Daisy is portrayed as a stereotypical house wife with her good looks and aristocratic life style. Daisy is in love with her husband’s money and the simplicity and luxury of her living. It is wondered if Daisy is like a role model in this novel, but throughout the novel, she is perceived to be ditsy, boring, and an adulteress to Gatsby. Fitzgerald offers a suggestion to his readers about the blend of her personalities in this quote from the novel, “She’s got an indiscreet voice. It’s full of-” I hesitated. “Her voice is full of money.” Her love of appearance and shallow life values is seen by what she hopes her daughter will become: ” I hope she”s be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

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My friend Estelle wore a short cropped wig to our themed party, as boyish cuts were in vogue, especially the Bob cut, Eton crop, and Shingle bob.She emulated the character Jordan from The Great Gatsby, a competitive golfer,  representing one of the “new women” of the 1920s—cynical, boyish, and beautiful. In the film Jordan wears sports clothes as a badge of her profession and her sensibilities. She is so progressive, she wears styles from the 1930s—a backless, floor-length evening gown, a capped sleeved blouse with a matching capelet, and pants. Yes, pants. These are not the pants worn as evening pajamas to beach resorts in the late 1920s. These are palazzo pants, much like the ones I wore to my cousin’s wedding last summer. Historians need not haggle over their accuracy. The pants are out of place, but the message is on point. Daisy wears white cotton dresses. Jordan wears pants.

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As Finger waving was used as a means of styling, I decided to get my hair done at the hairdressers. I was told that Finger waving was very time consuming (and therefore expensive) and so I opted for  a wavy curled look with a side plat. I later would bunch all the hair to one side so that it would look as if it had been pinned.

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Hats were still required wear and popular styles included the Newsboy cap and Cloche hat as worn by Daisy Buckanan in The Great Gatsby film. My friends wore headbands with flowers and encrusted jewels. For my look I went to my local charity shop and bought an art deco style pearl choker and layered on the beaded necklaces. I also wore long gloves with chunky rings over the top and put my mobile and money in a bright yellow Swarovsky encrusted clutch bag. At the time pins and brooches were also in style as were Horn-rimmed glasses and feather boas, which I loved. The boa was so soft, I might just wear one everyday and pretend that I am Miss Havisham.

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Flapper girl’s style largely emerged as a result of French fashions, especially those pioneered by Coco Chanel, the effect on dress of the rapid spread of American jazz, and the popularization of dancing that accompanied it. Called garçonne in French (“boy” with a feminine suffix), flapper style made girls look young and boyish: short hair, flattened breasts, and straight waists accentuated it. By at least 1913, the association between slim adolescence and a certain characteristic look became fixed in the public’s mind. At this early date, it seems that the style associated with a flapper already included the close-fitting hat, but a hobble skirt rather than one with a high hemline.

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Flapper dresses were straight and loose, leaving the arms bare (sometimes no straps at all) and dropping the waistline to the hips. Silk or rayon stockings were held up by garters. Skirts rose to just below the knee by 1927, allowing flashes of leg to be seen when a girl danced or walked through a breeze, although the way they danced made any long loose skirt flap up to show their legs. To enhance the view, some flappers applied rouge to their knees.Popular dress styles included the Robe de style. High heels also came into vogue at the time, reaching 2–3 inches (5–8 cm) high. For my outfit I wore a pink beaded sequin dress which is short and has net sleeves and combined this with short pink nude heels. Kinga wore  a beautiful lace top and flaoting ruffled dress with  a sequin head band and black boa.

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Flappers began working outside the home and challenging women’s traditional societal roles.They were considered a significant challenge to traditional Victorian gender roles, devotion to plain-living, hard work and religion. Increasingly, women discarded old, rigid ideas about roles and embraced consumerism and personal choice, and were often described in terms of representing a “culture war” of old versus new. Flappers also advocated voting and women’s right although many old suffragettes saw them as an insult to women’s emancipation. They were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms.

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LEONARDO-DICAPRIO-GATSBY THE GREAT GATSBY THE GREAT GATSBY the_great_gatsby_still

An after thought for Leo…

In the 1920s New York, Old money and Tom Buchanan-types were losing their hold on American culture. Gatsby and his parvenus pushed the boundaries of “appropriate.” Bye-bye tailcoats. Hello tuxedos. In the extravagant party scenes, Luhrmann mixes the old guard with the new—a Western senator in a 10-gallon hat dances with a debutante; Ivy League boys wear white flannel pants and feel up film stars. Things are not trickling down anymore, Dr. Veblen. Fashions flourish in the strangest of places.  Tom wears a fitted, dark blue, double-breasted vest and suit coat. He is restrained. Gatsby sports that pink linen suit—a detail modern readers remember because of its connotations with gender. In its cultural context, however, the color was about class and about showiness. The pink suit—pinstriped and paired with a burgundy tie and gold collar bar­—reveals Gatsby’s true beginnings. Tom and Nick adhere to the kind of sartorial understatement their mummy taught them and they cultivated on green quads. The contrast between the blue blood and the bootlegger is striking – in 1920s New York, class was beginning to change.

WEARING

Pink 1920s Style Dress – MISS SELFRIDGE (available now on ebay)

Stone Pointed Court Shoes – NEW LOOK

String of Pearls – ACCESORIZE

White Gloves – AMAZON

Chunky Rings from local market

Art Decor Choker Pearl Necklace from Charity Shop

White Feather Boa – Fun Fancy Dress

And…Don’t forget you can now stay up to date with our adventures, travels and  outfits on my  social media 🙂

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Other dresses in 1920 style:

White Picket Frock – Grace Beaded Detail Gown

White Picket Frock – Lia Sequin Sleeve Mini Dress

White Picket Frock – Lace Bodice Gown

Blue Fly Taupe Stretch Embellished Sequin Pattern Dress

Frock and Frill Sequin Strappy Dress

Frock & Frill Belinda Sea Flapper Dress

Frock & Frill Athena Flapper Dress

John Lewis True Decadence Detail Dress – £50

Miss Selfridge Viola Blue Flapper Dress £112

Miss Selfridge Teal Flapper Dress £83.30

Kardashian Collection Frock and Frill Dress £135

Gatsby Dresses on Ebay

45 thoughts on “Great Gatsby Fashion and Flapper Girl Attitude

    1. Hi! Thanks so much for commenting on the post and I am so glad that you enjoy reading the blog! 🙂 Would you like travel blogs, fashion blogs or else ones particularly related to the 1920s and the Great Gatsby or all? Let me know and then I can give you the names of the blogs that I enjoy reading! 🙂 Abi xxx

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  1. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but,
    I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you
    might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to
    seeing it develop over time.

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    1. Thanks so much! I’m so glad you like the outfits! We really tried hard with it as really dressing up is part of the fun and the costumes are what make the party seem authentic! I loved my friends black wig and I still find it hard not to reach for the feather boa every time I leave the house! Do you have any tips for getting the authentic 1920s look? What was your party like? X

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I am so glad that you liked it and the pics 🙂 I felt so happy to finally go to a Gatsby inspired party and dress up like Daisy from the novel…now all I am missing is Leonardo Di Caprio, but I guess one thing at a time lol 😉

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    1. Aww thank you so much 🙂 I am so glad that you liked the pictures. We tried our best with our costumes as I think that that is so important to do for parties with a historical theme and it add so much more to the atmosphere. Glad I could share it with you and that you enjoyed the party too 🙂 Abi xxx

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    1. Yes it was such a great evening! I really enjoyed the book and the film, so we did our best to get into full spirit, dress up and get struck into the cocktail making class without looking too thirsty. Glad you enjoyed it too 🙂 Abi xxx

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    1. I would of loved to have been Jake at one of Gatby’s soirees! It all sounded so fun and glamorous! Although we can’t go back in time, we can try our hardest to recreate and repeat it 😉 Glad you liked the post and I will definitely check you’s out! Abi xxx

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  2. Hello,
    Thanks for following my blog:). Being a 1920s geek and an overall fan of all things vintage, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Check out this picture of my husband and me at a Gatsby themed party in Philadelphia two years ago:
    Great Gatsby  and Young Friends of Philadelphia Museum of Art

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    1. Hello! Thank you so much for sharing your lovely picture of you and your husband 🙂 Your dress looks absolutely stunning and so right for the themed evening. It looks like your party was in a big hall too, which really must of added to the glamour of the event and made it feel as if you were really partying in one of those lavish 1920s soirees?! After reading the book and watching the film I too have become a massive fan of 1920s, it is such an interesting period in time and the flapper girl style is so unique. Again thank you for taking the time to comment on the post and I am really happy that you enjoyed it 🙂 All the best, Abi xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem, I love checking out other people’s posts and blogs 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the post and also the pictures of our Great Gatsby Ball. After reading the book and also watching the new film I have fallen in love with this period as well! Thank you for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it. Best wishes, Abi xxx

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  3. Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to take a look.

    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Exceptional blog and outstanding design.

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    1. Thank you so much! I actually went to my nearest hairdressers and they did it for me (I would never have been able to that myself either!) I showed them some of the 1920s hairstyles and the front finger waves but they said that those would take quite a bit of time and I was already a bit lat for the party, so they sort of did a compromise which I loved. They curled it and then they did a side plate. Again, thanks for your lovely compliment ❤ Abi

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hiya! Today I received a parcel from Ebay, I managed to grab the last Gatsby flapper dress which you wore in this post and for 10% of the original selling price I am sure. It is for my wife’s birthday, she had a sneak peak and loved it. Thanks for the tip-off!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stephen, I hope you got my reply to your lovely email alright? 🙂 Your message really made my day! I am so honored that you and your wife liked the dress enough to buy it for her birthday. What a fantastic present! I do hope she liked it? Was it as you had hopped it would be? I am sure it looked absolutely fabulous! Now you will just have to host a Gatsby Party of your own to show case the look! 🙂 All the best and thank you for your very lovely message. Abi xxx

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    1. Aw great! I am so happy that you like the post. The 1920s was such a interesting time to be in America and I hope that this gives a better insight into the fashions and the fun that those exciting times. My parents always used to go all out whenever we had a fancy dress costume party to go to so I just couldn’t help getting all kitted out for this do. I wore my Great Grandma’s 1920s costume jewellery and also went to some charity shops to see if they sold any loose beads of strings of pearls and I found the pearl choker necklace for next to nothing. I decided to wear anything shinny, beaded or feathery. It was so much fun and am so glad you liked the look 🙂 All the best, Abi xxx

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    1. Aren’t they just fab! That is so cool that you also have a pair! They are so easy to wear with anything, especially beautiful dresses as they don’t take any attention away from the outfit 🙂 Good to know they are easy to clean too, which is usually one of the problems of light colored shoes! 🙂 Abi xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it was such a fabulous evening! I am exactly like you, I find dressing up always so much and if its a fancy dress party I always throw myself completely into the theme. At the Gatsby Ball we had a wonderful presentation about the era and the history behind our soiree so I am pleased that I was able to share some of what we learned and that you enjoyed it. Again, I really appreciate you comment 🙂 Abi xxx

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