Women's Fashion of the 1920s: Great Gatsby Party Outfit Ideas
You've snagged the invitation to the swankiest party in town – a Great Gatsby-themed soirée! Now, you've got to find the perfect gown, accessories, and shoes that are sure to make heads turn.
The 1920s, also known as the Roaring Twenties, was a period of significant social and cultural change in the Western world. In this blog post, we will take a look at the women's fashion of the 1920s, its main trends, take a look at the typical outfit and choose one that will flatter your figure. As a fashion lover going to a retro party, you should definitely check out the fashion trends of the 1920s as they're still an amazing inspiration today.
This decade was known for bold, stylish, and individualistic clothing choices that reflected the changing values of the society as a whole and women in particular. As women ditched their conservative corsets and long skirts in favor of shorter dresses and bob haircuts, the clothing, hair, and accessories represented women's new-found freedom.
Let's explore the glamorous world of 1920 women fashion that still fascinates fashion lovers, retro party-goers, and fashionistas.
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What's Great Gatsby party?
A Great Gatsby party aims to recreate the atmosphere and style of the 1920s by incorporating elements of the era's fashion, music, decor, and cocktails. Guests are encouraged to dress in glamorous costumes inspired by the fashion of the 1920s, such as flapper dresses for women and dapper suits for men. The party decorations often include Art Deco motifs, vintage props, and lavish displays reminiscent of the extravagant parties described in the novel.
Overall, a Great Gatsby party offers guests a chance to step back in time and experience the glamour and excess of the 1920s, immersing themselves in the spirit of the Jazz Age. It's a chance to celebrate the extravagant lifestyle depicted in "The Great Gatsby" and embrace the nostalgia for a significant era in American history.
Brief History of 1920s Women's Fashion: What Happened in the 1920?
Before we examine the distinctive features of the women's fashion of the 1920s, it's important to be aware of the political and cultural context of that time. Let's see which events in the '20s impacted fashion and how.
Here are some key events that impacted people in that era.
1. Women Got the Right to Vote
The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified in 1920, granting women the right to vote. Women's liberation was in full swing, and the new sense of empowerment created a shift in fashion. Women began to rebel against constrictive clothing and adopted looser, more comfortable garments. The iconic flapper dress became the symbol of this new fashion movement, which included shorter hemlines, lower necklines, and a looser silhouette.
2. Economic Boom
The 1920s were a period of economic growth, full of business opportunities and wealth. The newfound prosperity gave people more disposable income, which they spent on clothing and high-end accessories. Fashion designers responded to this newfound wealth by creating more luxurious clothing and accessories, filled with glitter, sparkle, and opulence. All of this led to the creation of a new consumer culture and, as a result, department stores started to emerge.
3. Art Deco Movement
Art Deco was an artistic and cultural movement that emerged in the 1920s. This style was characterized by geometric shapes, streamlined forms, and bold colors. Art Deco influenced fashion by introducing modern patterns and prints. Dresses were adorned with intricate geometric designs, and accessories were decorated with bold geometric shapes.
4. Hollywood Glamour
The advent of motion pictures brought a new level of celebrity culture and glamour to the masses. People looked to Hollywood for inspiration, and fashion designers began to create garments that were reminiscent of the iconic costumes worn by movie stars. Women began to wear more daring clothing that was both glamorous and practical. The iconic "little black dress" became a staple of every woman's wardrobe.
5. The Prohibition Era
The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol, went into effect in 1920. This created a new culture of rebellion and illicit activity. Speakeasies and secret bars became popular, and people began to dress in more covert and inconspicuous clothing. Women adopted the "garçonne" look, featuring shorter hair, trousers, and a more boyish look.
6.. Jazz Age
The 1920s was a time of prosperity, economic growth, and hedonism. This exuberant atmosphere perfectly aligned with the upbeat and energetic nature of jazz music. Jazz became associated with the carefree attitude of the Roaring Twenties and was a soundtrack to the extravagant parties and social gatherings of the time.
Women's Fashion of the 1920s: Main Trends
When it comes to the 1920s fashion, it was undeniably distinctive and instantly recognizable.
From flapper dresses, cloche hats, and T-strap shoes to art deco jewelry and bob haircuts, the clothing of the Roaring Twenties was full of personality. These trends remain hugely popular today not only for retro parties and Great Gatsby-themed events but also as permanent fixtures in modern-day fashion.
One of the most iconic fashion trends of the 1920s were the flapper dresses. These dresses were loose, sleeveless, and typically knee-length or shorter. They were a symbol of the new-found freedom women were experiencing after the First World War. The dresses were often made of lightweight fabrics like silk or chiffon and featured intricate beading or fringe. Flapper dresses are a popular choice for retro parties or Great Gatsby-themed events, and can still be found in many boutiques and vintage shops today.
Cloche Hats or Turban
A crucial accessory for any fashionable woman in the 1920s was a cloche hat. These hats were close-fitting and had a bell-shaped silhouette that hugged the head. They typically featured a brim that angled downwards, framing the face. Cloche hats were made of a variety of materials, including wool, straw, and felt, and often decorated with a ribbon or other embellishments. These hats provided a striking contrast to the extravagant hats worn in previous decades, and they remain a popular choice for anyone interested in vintage fashion today.
However, for a party you might prefer a turban. Turbans added a flair of glamour to a Hollywood-style gown.
Another trend that emerged in the 1920s was the T-strap shoe. These shoes featured a strap that ran across the foot, forming a T-shape. They were typically low-heeled and made of leather, suede, or fabric. T-strap shoes were comfortable, stylish, and a welcome departure from the high-heeled shoes that were popular in previous decades. Today, T-strap shoes are still a popular choice for women who want to add a touch of vintage charm to their footwear collection.
Art Deco Jewelry
The Art Deco period, which lasted from the 1920s to the 1940s, was known for its bold and angular designs that were heavily influenced by geometric shapes. Art Deco jewelry was characterized by its use of bright colors, such as emerald green, ruby red, and sapphire blue, and its use of different materials such as metal, enamel, and glass. These jewelry pieces often featured designs that were playful and whimsical, and they remain highly sought-after by collectors and vintage enthusiasts today.
The 1920s also saw a rise in menswear-inspired fashion for women. This was similar to the flapper style, but with a more tailored and structured approach. Women wore trousers, button-up shirts, vests, and blazers, all of which were traditionally associated with men's fashion.
This style was a reflection of the changing roles of women in society. As women became more independent and entered the workforce, their clothing choices also became more practical and functional.
Accessories: Beads, Gloves
Accessories played a huge role in completing the look of any woman from the 1920s. Gloves, which were typically made of silk, cotton, or velvet, would be paired with dresses to show a lady-like demeanor, especially while dancing. As for shoes, women would often wear T-strap pumps or Mary Janes paired with low-heeled shoes for comfortability, mostly in a metallic or neutral shade.
Last but not least, 1920s women were known for their short haircuts. The bob haircut was a newly introduced style that reflected the rejection of the traditional long-haired looks of previous decades. The bob was typically chin-length and designed to be sleek and straight. It was a simple yet striking hairstyle that suited the flapper dresses of the era perfectly. Today, the bob haircut remains a popular and timeless choice for women of all ages.
A Typical Outfit From 1920
A typical outfit from the 1920s consisted of a knee-length drop-waist dress with a simple pattern and a beaded collar. That's the most popular outfit idea if you head to a Great Gatsby Party.
This style of dresses had no waistline; instead, the fabric would pass over the hips, creating a straight line that gave the illusion of a flat chest and hips. The dress would also have a low neckline, allowing the woman to show off her new bobbed haircut.
Accessories included long beads or pearls, a feather boa, a cloche hat with a ribbon band, and a small clutch or art deco style handbag.
Another popular accessory in the women's fashion of the 1920s was the cloche hat. These hats would be worn low on the forehead, and they would be tight against the head, resembling an oversized bell shape. The hats were often adorned with beaded designs, feathers, or ribbons.
Lastly, women of the 1920s were all about wearing fur, particularly fox. Fur was a staple of the female wardrobe, and it was often worn as a stole or collar. Fox fur accessories were favored for their comfortability and often adorned with silk linings. Popular actresses, such as Marlen Dietrich, often showcased fur on the red carpet.
You can easily notice these outfits in the movies set in the 1920, such as The Great Gatsby, The Artist and Chicago.
What to Wear to the Great Gatsby Party: Outfit Ideas
Here are 3 Great Gatsby Party outfit ideas that are easy to put together, but absolutely chic.
The Flapper Look
When it comes to a Gatsby party, nothing screams the Roaring Twenties like flapper dresses, which were the cornerstone of the women's fashion of the 1920s.
The flapper dress is a straight, knee-length shift dress, often made of fringe or beads.
Flapper dresses are short, so you can dance the night away. This type of dress comes in a range of colors, from classic black to bright blues and purples. To add shine and texture, you can choose a dress with beads, sequins, or feathers. In addition, accessorize it with a pearl necklace and a headband.
Make sure you wear the right type of shoes to complete your Gatsby look. The most iconic shoes from the 20s are T-strap heels that will give you a vintage feel and add to the Gatsby outfit. If heels aren't your thing, then opt for low-vamped, pointed-toe Mary Jane pumps. They are comfortable and can be paired with almost any outfit. Choose from satin or velvet materials to add texture.
This outfit is perfect for dancing to jazz music and swinging your way through the night.
The Gangster Look
Why not portray the villain for a change? This 1920s style pantsuit outfit will make you stand out from the crowd.
If you prefer this look, your style icon is Marlene Dietrich. Take your fashion inspiration from the German-American actress' signature androgynous style, and go for high-waisted trousers and suspenders to get the look.
Opt for a Chanel-inspired design with a fitted, straight-leg trouser and boxy jacket. Make the outfit pop with a bright blouse under the jacket, which can be tucked in for a chic, formal look. For accessories, opt for drop earrings and heeled pumps.
Alternatively, wear a double-breasted suit with a vest, a fedora hat, and oxford shoes. Accessorize with a pocket watch and a cigar to give that menacing look. You can also add a Tommy gun prop to complete the outfit. This look is perfect for women who want to show off their confidence and swagger while mingling with the crowd.
Take inspiration from Marlen Dietrich and her 1920s women's suits. Madonna and Cate Blanchette reimagined the iconic look with a modern take.
The Hollywood Glamour Look
This outfit is for those who want to dress to impress. The Hollywood glamour look is all about luxury and elegance. Wear a long gown made of silk or velvet with a high slit or a low back. Accessorize with long gloves, a fur stole, and a beaded clutch. Pair it with strappy heels or peep-toe pumps. You can also add a sparkly headband or a tiara to complete the outfit. This look is perfect for those who want to command the attention of the room with their stunning and sophisticated outfit.
For a more glamorous and high-end option, an Art Deco gown will do the trick. The sleek and fitted silhouette is perfect for highlighting your curves. Choose a gown with a drop waist and geometric patterns to immediately transport you to the women's fashion of the 1920s. For accessories, opt for long gloves, a sparkly statement clutch, and a pair of kitten heels.
With the Hollywood Glamour look, your style icon is Gloria Swanson. Take inspiration from the legendary actress' dramatic makeup look, including defined eyebrows, bold red lips, and defined cheekbones.
A Great Gatsby-themed party offers an opportunity to bring out your inner flapper and enjoy a night of dancing and glamour. The perfect outfit will help you channel the Roaring Twenties and radiate confidence throughout the night. Flapper dresses or two-piece sets are an excellent choice, paired with T-strap heels or pointed-toe Mary Janes. Don't forget to accessorize with pearl necklaces, headpieces, and gloves. Now that you've got the scoop on Gatsby fashion, go and turn heads at the next Gatsby party!
Whether you're a fashion lover or a fashionista, embracing these timeless looks from the 1920s is sure to add a touch of vintage glamour to your wardrobe.
What trend of the 1920s did you like the most? Let us know in the comments!