Flapper Dresses & Accessories for Costumes or Parties
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In real life, you’ll just add a tiny touch of flapper here and there… and you’ll mix your Gatsby stuff in with your regular clothing. You might wear your flapper earrings with a cashmere sweater. You might wear your sparkly deco dress with some boots and a biker jacket… for your fifth marriage in Las Vegas… when Elvis is performing the ceremony. Who knows how you’ll wear your Gatsby stuff, but if it’s in your closet, and you’re imaginative, you WILL wear it.
Wear Deco Jewelry
The two main types of jewelry that will define your look are earrings and necklaces. Check out the earrings in the photo to see some of the different types that have the right 1920’s vintage look. Long earrings are usually good, but the fan/shell earrings are also very art deco.
As for necklaces, most people associate flappers with long strands of pearls, but there are other options. You can layer long strands of any types of beads… but do wear that type of necklace long… like down to your waist. If you want a different look, you can wear a short bib-length or choker-length necklace with an art deco feel.
Roaring Twenties Headpieces and Hats
Here are a few photos for inspiration, however I will probably write a whole article about Gatsby-era headwear in the near future… because I just love hats.
Three headwear styles that were popular during the 20’s were cloches, sparkly rhinestone chains, and headbands embellished with brooches, bling, feathers, fans of fabric, tassels and other cool stuff. If you’re wealthy, get a great topper from a good hat store or from etsy.com. If you’re broke or you’re running out of time, make your own headpiece with a stretchy headband, a brooch, and a large feather from a craft store.
Flapper Costume Touches
The following ideas are only for costume parties. Add some of these (or all of these) accessories if you want to look like a living doll for your Facebook photos.
- Get thigh-high nylons and roll them down to just under your knees.
- Wear Mary Jane or T-strap shoes with a medium heel. (Actually, you will wear these shoes again, so buy flapper shoes that you like.)
- Make a cheap, fake, long cigarette holder out of a wooden dowel (or whatever) from a hardware store… Oh crap, I don’t know what that hardware stuff is called. Do I look like a handyman? Go ask the guy at Home Depot. Then, borrow one of his cigarettes and glue it onto the end of the stick.
- Buy black elbow-length gloves
- Wear a feather boa to go over the top, but be cautious with this accessory if you’re over 50. I always look like an aging guy in “bad drag” when I wear a boa… so get a second opinion if you’re unsure.
- Color your mouth with dark red lip liner and lipstick to create the perfect Clara Bow mouth.
- Wear your hair in a short bob or tuck it under with bobby pins to recreate the right hairstyle.
How Good Do You Want to Look?
Sure, you could go to your local costume store and end up looking like every other average dork at your party. Or, you could try sewing your own fringed dress and hope that it doesn’t fall apart when you do the Boogaloo down Broadway. But, flapper dresses, deco jewelry, and cute cloches are so hip and cool and fun… why would you want to waste your money on a corny costume when you can buy a few great items that you will wear forever?
It’s easy to find an embellished dress or top. And, for jewelry, you can go to a cheapo store like Claire’s, but I think you should check out a mid-range store like Macy’s, so that you’ll have some awesome earrings to jazz up your outfit the next time you’re invited to “party on down” with Mick Jagger or that cute, hip couple down the street. Costumes are so much more fun if they make you look better than all the other drunken revelers… especially when everyone you know has a cell phone camera in his or her pocket.
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