Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes

          The original plan had been to go bowling. I was determined to make up for my lack of skill and to wear something which would intimidate my opponents – for this reason I decided to an American flag design inspired t-shirt and  baggy cut out jeans. I combined it with a thin and very long gold chain, a black leather jacket and my leather mirror sneakers. I felt that these would make people think that I knew what I was doing and at the very least, they would be easier to do some physical exercise in than very tight clothes. I also felt that it was a good time  to wear something linked to America to mark and celebrate the beginning of NYC fashion week!

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In the end we went for brunch at such a special place that we ended up staying all day and well into the evening. It was secret London at its best, with the street having incredible restaurants, both a lively artisan market and world famous flower market, and one of London’s biggest parks three minutes walk away. It is so cool and so hipsterish that it makes Shoreditch look like a knocked off corporate hang out. Where is this hidden gem? Well, its called Broadway Market and is in Hackney next to London Fields. I loved the abstract graffiti by the artist Kefart and seeing all the people walk down the road with large bouquets of flowers from Columbia Flower Market.

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We had brunch (which is neither breakfast nor lunch but a mixture of both) at the Market Cafe, where I would highly recommend the Eggs Benedict and then, after a trip to the pub, we lay by the wild flowers at London Fields. It was such a great relaxing Sunday, in really good company and a great part of London which is off the tourist trail. I really can not recommend going there on a sunny Sunday enough! That was the main reason as to why we didn’t end up bowling… there was no need to go anywhere else, Broadway Market had everything and more! I can’t wait to go back next weekend!;)

WEARING

American Flag T- Shirt- FOREVER 21

Cut Out Jeans  – PRIMARK

Slip ons with Metal End   – STRADIVARIUS

lariat Stick Long Necklace – ACCESORIZE

Leather Jacket – ZARA

Earrings – BULGARI

Great Gatsby Fashion and Flapper Girl Attitude

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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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

The Great Gatsby and the Roaring Twenties Party

The Great Gatsby and the Roaring Twenties Party

Last night we had our  Great Gatsby and 1920s Inspired Party held in the wonderfully opulent Gibson Hall. I thought I would write about what we did so that if you wanted to plan a 1920s themed party you could get some ideas!

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In the early 1920’s World War I had just come to an end. A new generation flocked from small towns to big cities in search of excitement, opportunity, and a “modern” way of living. Electronics like radios became more common, particularly in metropolitan households. Flashy new car designs rolled down city streets. Women had finally earned the right to vote, and their hard-fought equality and independence was reflected in their fashion– shorter haircuts, higher hemlines, less curvy silhouettes. Great fashion accessories include a feather boa, a strings of pearls and a cigarette holder. Click here for more outfit ideas: Great Gatsby Fashion and Flapper Girl Attitude

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Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin were creating names for themselves on the big screen. It was an era of change—and that change was not welcomed by all. Alcohol flowed like water in homes across the country, and drunkards filled America’s prisons and poorhouses. A powerful group of activists made it their mission to eradicate liquor in an effort to help the country return to simpler times. Gambling was rife and there was an emergence of underworld activity with Prohibition.

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As the demand for illegal liquor increased, so did the methods for masking its production and consumption. Cocktails gained popularity—heavily flavored concoctions assembled to disguise the taste of potent bathtub gin with juices, herbs, sweeteners and syrups. Finger food became fashionable, which helped to increase liquor tolerance by ensuring that party-goers weren’t drinking on an empty stomach. So after some gambling, our second activity of the night was a cocktail making class. Recipes for drinks popular in the Roaring Twenties include some full of innuendo, like Between the Sheets, or favorites like the Mint Julep or the Old Fashioned. Champagne cocktails were also a big hit.

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The Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, and what F. Scott Fitzgerald would later describe as “the greatest, gaudiest spree in history”. In Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, we are introduced to the opulent lives of wealthy east coasters during one of the rowdiest periods in American history.No book captures this wild and carefree time period quite like Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. The character of millionaire Jay Gatsby represents the extremes of 1920s wealth and decadence. Gatsby devotes his life to accumulating riches in order to attract the attention of his romantic obsession, the lovely but spoiled Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby’s fortune is evident in the raucous parties he throws from his mansion on Long Island’s north shore. These decadent bashes, free flowing with food and liquor, represent the indulgent excesses of the “flapper” period:

“At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from the other.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

To create the intimate, secretive vibe of a speakeasy, decorate your room with dark, rich fabrics, faux furs and velvet, for a lavish touch. Provide small, round tables with chairs and cover the tables in heavy tablecloths. The lighting should be subdued – pop a few low-level lamps or small candle holders on the tables – empty liquor bottles fashioned into candelabras are another fun touch. If you have bartenders, they should be in some sort of uniform. Provide drinks in crystal glasses or use innocent little teacups and saucers for your cocktails – this was the traditional way to serve alcohol at a speakeasy back in the Roaring Twenties. Serve your canapés from silver platters and glass plates, with shiny red or black tableware. We were served mini hamburgers and southern fried chicken as finger food, which became very popular during this era.

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The 1920s through to 1933 was known as the Ag of Jazz. Through the fusion of European music with Ragtime and other African American forms of music, Jazz exploded as a dominant in music. Young people danced the Charleston to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Their fast rhythms and closer physical contact between contact filled nightclubs and the silver screen with subversive energy. So don’t forget to play some Jazz and why don’t you teach you guests how to dance the Charleston. Hope you have a fabulous party! 😉