Fabulous Flirty Flappers! Roaring Twenties!


White fringed flapper dress - Roaring Twenties
White fringed flapper dress

Hints for a fabulous Roaring Twenties costume….

One of my very favourite themes is Roaring Twenties – these parties are coming up regularly and are really popular themes for weddings, twenty first birthdays, really any occasion!  Girls love it because they get to be glamorous.  Guys love it because they usually get to wear a black suit and that is pretty much it!  We’ve supplied costumes for Roaring Twenties 21st parties, Twenties Tea parties, Twenties hens shows, and gorgeous Twenties weddings!

The popularity of this theme has really taken off since Baz Lurhman’s version of “The Great Gatsby” which had fabulous costumes by Prada, gorgeous!

It is really quite easy to get the look for this theme.   Some of my favourite costumes follow for a few ideas, then some hints on how to easily achieve this look yourself.

Roaring Twenties costume – Tunarama parade 1989
Black and silver fringed flapper - Roaring Twenties
Black and silver fringed flapper
Blue fringed flapper dress
Roaring Twenties blue fringed flapper dress, deluxe blue boa
Maroon and black day dress 1920's
Roaring Twenties flapper – maroon and black day dress
Peach Flapper dress
Peach flapper dress
Pink and white flapper
Twenties – pink and white flapper dress, white stole….

Start with the dress

  • The dress – lots of modern dresses suit this look so you may have a cocktail dress that is perfect.  We have lots of Roaring Twenties costumes, from elegant drop waist dresses to flirty fringed numbers.
  • Wherever you hunt and gather it from you want to look have a few requirements.  You want it to have a drop waist/shift shape, preferably with embellishment such as sequins, spangles and sparkles.  The more important part of a flapper outfit is the accessories so the dress can be quite simple, as long as it is the right shape which is a long, lean look.   Nothing waist cinching – back then the focus was on looking languid and long.   -Women even used to bind their breasts to achieve the flat chested look.
  • Add on some gloves..

  • The gloves – long, glamorous, slinky gloves are a must, in my opinion.  I like to throw on a couple of glittering bangles and over-the-top rings as well, cos more is….well, more!  (Plus as long as you leave them on you don’t have stress about a manicure – win, win!)

    long red gloves
    Long red satin gloves – sale $9.95
  • Long beads – long strands of beads, either looped if very long or tied in a knot at the bottom – a must have for any self respecting flapper!
  • A great option is fishnet legs or stockings – amp up the sex appeal, you are a good time girl!
  • Frame your face with headwear…..

  • Feathered headband/cocktail hat/jewelled snood or headpiece is the perfect match for a flapper.  I love beaded snoods and feathered headbands.  You can make your own really easily or there are some gorgeous ones out there on Etsy and eBay so the sky is the limit.   You can go simple or as elaborate as you wish.   Hair should be kept simple – the look is sleek, sophisticated and glamorous. 
    Black feather headband – sale $12.95

    Black and white feather headdress – Sale $14.95
  • Speaking of hair – back in the Roaring Twenties women started to cut their hair short for the first time.   It was a sign of a women’s liberation, to cut her hair and free herself from heaps of painful maintenance.   The “Marcel” wave, one of the first perms, came into existence and structured, heavy waved curls on short bobs were all the vogue.  With a headdress a short, simple style is easiest and achievable for a night with a handy wig!
  • I always get asked about shoes for a flapper costume.  The best sorts of shoes for this look are t-bar styles with heels but really it is okay to wear anything sparkly, glamorous and strappy.  As long as it goes with your dress and accessories and you can dance all night shoes can be a modern interpretation!  Metallics look good with most outfits and are easy to find.
  • Boa or fur stole?

  • Feathered boa or fur stole?  We usually offer customers one of these options.   Some don’t like feathers floating around the place, some like flouncing and playing with their boas.  It is always fun to have a fur stole too, highlight them with sparkly brooches!  These are handy to keep on hand when the night gets cold.   Boas are available in all sorts of colours – the most popular choices are usually black or red.
  •   red deluxe boaBlack deluxe boa
  • Cigarette holders – even though lots of us have now given up this unhealthy practice, back in the 1920’s it was too cool!  Cigarette holders are a great prop to wave around in the air as you expand on your theories of the universe!  We sell heaps of these in our shop every time there is a 20’s show.   They are also in our online store if you need!

    Beatnik Cigarette Holder with sequins – Sale $3.50
  • Make up – a pale face, pencilled eyebrows, smoky eye and bee-sting lips.   Nothing was natural about this make-up look so go all!  It is wise to experiment before the actual night, especially if you don’t wear make up a lot.   Then you will be able to see how it wears over time too so you can be careful of your make-up melting, bleeding around the mouth or settling into lines.  Lots of our customers use fake eyelashes for that huge eye effect.  These are a best-seller in our store!
    Lashes with diamonte liner $7.50
    Gold/Black lashes – $7.50

    Beaded bags…..

  • Beaded evening bag – if you are able to grab a beaded/fringed or sequinned bag, perfect!  Gorgeous evening bags were made in the Twenties, originals fetch huge prices today.  Some of the intricate work on original evening bags is truly breathtaking!  You can get the look with a modern reproduction and then you won’t panic about taking it out to a party too!

There you go, an easy peasy set of hints on how to dress up for your next Roaring Twenties themed Gangster and Flappers show – you know it’s going to happen!  So speakeasy fellow dress up fans!

Mwah!  Mandy

PS  The photo of me in the upper left corner is when I was about seventeen (way, way long time ago, like maybe 1989?) and we had a float in the annual Tunarama parade – yes, I said Tuna-rama!  Here in little old Lincoln we  have an annual festival that celebrates the animal that has allowed this place to become the weird and wonderful place it is today – the Southern Blue-Fin Tuna.


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