Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Countdown to Gatsby: Neo Flapper

A sneak peek of things to come...

"Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered "Listen," a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour." 
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby hits theaters in less than 2 days. Are you ready?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

6 Fashionable Ways to Channel Your Inner Flapper

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed that the whole world seems to be coming down with Gatsby fever. Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic book hits theaters on May 10th and its release is inspiring wardrobes everywhere. Normally, cinema-inspired fashion trends seem to arrive in the blink of an eye and burn out just as quickly, but flapper fashion has been in vogue for almost a year, and will (thanks to confirmation from Fall 2013 Fashion Week runways - see here and here) likely be in style quite a bit longer.

Going full garçonne is quite a feat if you've never dabbled in the iconic style before, but it doesn't mean you have to miss out on one of the most timeless trends to come down the runways in the recent past. Adding just one element of flapper to your wardrobe can give a satisfying nod to your inner Deco era starlet, without turning you into a full-blown raccoon eyed Clara Bow look-alike.

Here are six ways to easily usher the trend into your wardrobe, and show up to your local premiere of The Great Gatsby Charleston ready!

Four Deuces in the boudoir.

 Nucky Thompson and the ladies of The Four Deuces in HBO's Boardwalk Empire
The Great Gatsby isn't the only recent cinematic work that takes place in the 1920's. While HBO's Boardwalk Empire tells the tale of bootlegging in Atlantic City, some of the loveliest outfits are worn by the ladies of the Four Deuces, a bordello and casino in Chicago. Flappers may have been considered risqué by Edwardian standards, but today, their lingerie is sweetly sexy. Don a gorgeous, kicky Honey Cooler Handmade Moonshine Chemise and channel your inner bad girl. To complete the look, pick up a pair of black patterned tights and cut them off at the thigh. Keep 'em up with elastic garters - a trick I learned from my talented stylist, Dominique Guillen.
Ukushu wears the Petunia Moonshine Chemise at Trick Dog

Contemporary, but vintage inspired.
 Clockwise from top left: Daisy (wearing Prada) flanked by Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan in The Great Gastby |
Since flapper fashion is such a hot ticket right now, designers spanning all styles and price points are using the garçonne as inspiration. Whether your budget is more Nina Ricci or more H&M, there's something out there to suit your inner flapper. Look for drop-waist cuts, heavy beading and pleats. Remember that 1920's era dresses depended on their loose shape to ignore a traditionally feminine figure, so stay away from structured pieces and those that emphasize a high natural waist.


 From left to right: Tiffany Great Gatsby Collecrtion Headpiece, $200,000 | ASOS Flapper Headband, $24.95 |
The ultimate flapper accessory. Tiffany has just released the same headband that Daisy Buchanan wears in The Great Gatsby. At a cool $200,000, it's out of most of our reaches, but there are countless alternatives out there. From a simple sequin band to a big crystal headpiece right over the forehead, this was probably the most iconic part of true flapper fashion. And better yet? A headband goes with just about anything, so even if you don't feel like adopting an entire wardrobe reminiscent of Jay Gatsby's flame, you can still indulge just enough to make a statement.

 Finger waves.

 From left to right: A partygoer at Myrtle Wilson's New York apartment in The Great Gatsby | Actress Bebe Daniels
Probably the cheapest (yet most complicated) way to indulge in Deco era style. Finger waves and bob cuts were an essential part of the flapper look. YouTube is teeming with tutorials on how to achieve an authentic finger wave. The undulating style is hard to perfect, but it's work of art to be sure. Got long hair and don't feel like chopping it off for the sake of a trend? Not to worry - just roll styled ends underneath at the nape of your neck and pin securely to fake the look.
One of the best finger wave tutorials out there!

The tantalizing t-strap.

 Clockwise from top left: 4birdsvintage Antique 1920's Shoes, $128 | Pleaser Bordello Strap Pump, $34.95 |
The t-strap is a classic sartorial component of women's 1920's fashion. Straps and buckles ensured a secure fit for quick tempo dancing. Look for sumptuous satins and metallics, slightly rounded toes with a moderate heel. If comfort's your main concern, tango shoes are a great way to go - snag some at your local dance supply store and spray paint them gold for an extra boost of glamour. For exquisite examples of the real (vintage) deal, check out this incredible Pinterest board.

Original vintage.

As is true with most things in life, nothing beats the real deal. For true Deco devotees, vintage is the way to go. Original 1920's dresses can be hard to come by, and many are in less-than-ideal condition. Extant beaded dresses are often so fragile that they can't be on hangers, so count yourself lucky if you (1) find one in great condition, (2) can afford it, and (3) can fit into it! I find some excellent vintage pieces on Etsy and local vintage shops, many at reasonable prices. But as you might expect, the loveliest specimens boast the highest price tags (see above). If you decide to take the plunge and buy true vintage, remember that a little damage is par for the course, and few relics make it almost 100 years without some wear and tear. Treat your find with care and it can last 100 more.