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Jazzing from Morning to Night: Women's Great Gatsby Dresses

The 20's only happen once a century, though many enjoy celebrating the style and decadence of those of the twentieth century -- an era that was said to roar. Whether you have a sibling or spouse who loves the aesthetic, consider gifting them with authentic costuming of the time. Flapper dresses are perfect for Halloween, costume parties, and special events. These dresses are often inspired by The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic tale of the Jazz Age. They are characterized by drop waist silhouettes and glamorous embellishments that pair well with modern and classic accessories for a truly inspired party ensemble.

What Are the Major Characteristics of Flapper Fashion?

In the Roaring Twenties, many American women gained more rights. They responded by raising their hemlines and ditching their corsets. The modern flapper dress tends to follow the fashion trends set during this decade, which include:

  • Knee-length hemlines: The flapper dress usually falls to the knee or slightly higher. The women of the Great Gatsby decade were willing to push the envelope, but mini-skirts were still several decades off.
  • Loose silhouettes: The vintage flapper dress is loose and shapeless. This makes these dresses easy to move in, and enabled flappers to dance freely.
  • Drop waist styles: The drop waist dress isn't fitted at the natural waistline. Instead, these dresses loosely skim the body from the shoulder through the midsection, and the skirt begins at the hip. These skirts are often gathered or pleated.
  • Bias cut styles: With this style, the dress is cut at a 45-degree angle to all major seam lines. This creates a beautifully draped silhouette still used by makers of the movie's Great Gatsby dresses.

What Are the Decorative Elements of the Great Gatsby Dress?

No Great Gatsby party dress or costume is complete without some glitz and glamour. The essential 1920's dress rarely disappoints in this regard. It's often embellished with:

  • Fringe: Flappers turned to fringe because of the way it moved on the dance floor. The modern flapper dress is often fringed, as well. A dress may have a touch of fringe attached at the hem, or it might be fringed from top to bottom.
  • Beads and Sequins: The flapper dress is often encrusted with beads and sequins. Sometimes these beaded embellishments are used to create Art Deco patterns. They may also be used to add a dash of sparkle to a dress.
  • Pearls:: The flapper dress is often embellished with artfully applied pearls. The technique used to apply them is similar to how sequins are applied.

What Materials are the 1920's dress typically made out of?

The vintage 1920's dress is made out of lightweight, breathable materials that allow for draping and easy movement. These fabrics include silk, chiffon, satin, and rayon. This is because these fabrics were all soft yet breathable. Modern flapper costumes use an even wider range of materials. While it's possible to find a replica flapper dress in silk or chiffon, many flapper costumes are made of polyester.

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