The Roaring 20’s: Great Gatsby Costumes and Flapper Costumes for Women

This page is for all you who need a costume for a Great Gatsby, Flapper, or Roaring 20’s event.  You will see a brief overview of 1920’s costume ideas along with links to 1920’s fashion images and tutorials for hair, makeup, and 1920’s clothing.

When assembling a costume, I always consider 6 magic ingredients to make sure you look put together:

  • Hair
  • Clothing
  • Makeup
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Props

Here’s the breakdown for each of these 6 magic ingredients in a women’s 1920’s costume:

Hair: Bobbed or cropped to fit under the close fitting cloche hats, waved

Link to 1920’s hair styles

20’s Inspired Fashion 

Clothing: Straight-line chemise style, sleeveless, dropped waist or no waist at all, hemlines near the knee to make dancing the new dances like the Charleston easier, straight bodices with flattened chests.  Sashes, bows, lace, beads, artificial flowers, feathers, and fringe adorned the dresses. If you would like a bit more coverage, wear a cap sleeve layering tee or wide-strap tank camisole and bike shorts, spankies, or leggings underneath the dress, although that will alter the look some.

blue flapper dress

Click image to view in Amazon

beaded flapper dress

Click image to view on Amazon

Velvet flapper dress

Click image to view on Amazon

This velvet flapper dress from Amazon could easily be refashioned from a 1990’s style velvet dress that can be found a thrift store.  I see them there regularly.  Simply cut the sleeves off around the arm hole to turn it into a sleeveless dress, take in the side seams if desired for a slim fit or leave it loosely fitting, then cut a handkerchief hem into the hemline.  Instead of a handkerchief hem, cut it off closer to the knees, and add a row of fringe.  This is a simple look so you have multiple ways you can embellish the dress.  You can layer on multiple long beaded necklaces or go to town with satin bows at the shoulders, a low beaded sash at the hipline, a beaded lace collar, or a few large floral sequin appliques around the neckline.

Instructions for sewing a simple flapper dress with fringe 

Makeup: Cosmetics were new on the scene and the women loved to wear lots of dark eye makeup and plum or red lips.


Click here to view image on Amazon

Shoes: Low heels, t-strap style, Mary Janes,  or lace up oxfords.  Use ribbons, duct tape, or elastic to add strap detail to shoes.  Spectator shoes also started to become popular.  Click here to link to my post on making spectator shoes.

Accessories:  Headbands with feathers and/or jewels, gloves, diamond or pearl bracelets, long strands of beads or pearls, a small purse or clutch with or without a chain, and feather boas.

Excellent link to jewelry, hats, shoes, gloves, and purses of the era

Check out this Etsy link for image ideas on headpieces to make. The simplest to make is to attach a plume feather or large feather pouf (chop a piece from a feather boa) or to a stretchy elastic headband (the Goody kind).  If you want to add some bling, use a flatter short feather or peacock feather and glue on gems, sparkly buttons or old costume jewelry. I collect my odds and ends of sparkly items like broken earrings, brooches or single buttons to add to pieces like this.  I like this tutorial for it’s simple headband and peacock feather accent.

This tutorial shows how to make the feather piece for a baby headband, but it is the same process for your 1920’s headband. You may want to glue it to a headband of stretch sequin trim, or simply glue it to a hair clip to clip into your hair.

Props:  If you nail all the ingredients above, you don’t need to worry about any props–they turn into a hassle to carry around (such as a cigarette holder) and with all the details in your costume from feathers and bling you will look stunning!

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  1. The Roaring 20′s: Great Gatsby Costumes for Men | The Costume Resource

    […]  One that’s coming up has a 1920′s Great Gatsby Theme.  I wrote a previous post here on 1920′s costumes for women, but I neglected to write for the 1920′s men’s […]

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