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Thursday 23 May 2013

Sluttishly Vintage: Let's Party Like It's 1925

So have you seen it yet? I'm obviously talking about Gatsby, the film we've been eagerly awaiting since ... oh probably since gin first touched our lips. Today is the bright new dawn of a dedicated vintage column on Domestic Sluttery (Hello! Please do bombard me with all things vintage!), so we're tipping our cloche hats to this mysterious new genre called 'Gatsby style'. Gatsby/1920s/flapper/Jazz Age/Art Deco: whatever I call it, you know what I mean. It's sequins and sparkles and gin rickeys a go-go.

Original 1920s pieces can be very expensive, especially the ornately beaded dresses. But luckily it's one of those styles which is so popular, it's always popping in and out of fashion (I wrote this post about flapper fashion a couple of years ago, and even The Great Gatsby film is dressed using reworked old season Prada), so you can pick up cheaper pieces that still have the right look. The style had its biggest revival in the 1970s, thanks in part to films like Cabaret and, oh wait, the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby, which means you can pick up 70s Deco-inspired pieces at fractions of the price of the originals. If, like me, you've been obsessing over Daisy's headscarf, this 70s scarf available from Love Miss Daisy for only £8, does the job perfectly. After a few glasses of champagne, who'll notice the difference? Let's play dress up!

I love this style for an excuse to pile on the glamour. These are dresses that were made to go dancing in. However, at prices like £1600 for this (admittedly gorgeous) flapper dress, unless you are Kate Moss, you completely wouldn't dare. The original dresses can look quite unflattering to modern eyes thanks to their emphasis on the hips. Revival Retro are stocking a 1920s-inspired range that's easier on today's figure. Their Gatsby dress (see what they did there?) is pictured at the top of the post but, even that, at £395 is hardly an everyday buy. For better value, go for the jewels instead: this Art Deco ring is £75 from The Old Cinema, while the earrings shown in the top image are £125 from Linda Bee at Grays Antique Market. I also like all the sparkles available from Hannah Peters.

Gorgeously impractical, this metal 1920s purse is more affordable, available for £21.99 on ASOS Marketplace. The silver shoes in the top image are another Revival Retro special and are full on Gatsby - one of the "hundred pairs of golden and silver slippers" described as "shuffling through the night" - but are £189. For better value, here's where you go Seventies. These snakeskin shoes from Absolute Vintage are exactly the right shape but only £35. Don't forget to pick up a book of Modern Dances too, to brush up on your moves.

Daisy isn't the best example, but in the 1920s women started to do stuff. Tennis and sailing stuff, as well as languishing. As this post points out, it's Jordan Baker, the golfer, who is far the cooler female character (this fabric from Donna Flower is a fab 70s Deco take on the 20s golfing craze). I bet Jordan Baker wore some awesome clothes. I'm picturing neat knitwear, white flats and some great culottes. I'm also now seriously lusting over Levi's dusty pink 1920s chinos to wear on my next round of crazy golf.

I bet Jordan would set off her brown bob with an oh-so-fashionable cloche hat, like this 1920s original available on Etsy for £61.43. And she'd definitely accessorise with something fun like this Ric Rac brooch, available for £95 from London-based Smokey Pearls on Etsy.

More fun jewellery. The discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 sparked off an Egyptian craze seen right across designs of the period, as can hardly be missed in these amazing 1920s Egyptian earrings, again from Linda Bee. This was the era for exotic adventures, when the rich could really afford to travel in style: take a look at this jewellery travel case for a reasonably priced example. This Bon Voyage vintage compact is a charming take on the trend. For inspiration, pick up a copy of the new book World Tour, the collection of luggage labels collected by Gaston-Louis Vuitton, the famous Louis's grandson. From Raffles to the Riveria, it's envy-inducing stuff.

As is the concept of loungewear. Silk jackets or pyjama pants, I love the 1920s concept of lounging in style. This 1920s silk jacket is gorgeous, with a price tag of £265 to match its scarcity. Too expensive? Asking a silly question? Don't worry, we've got some modern lounging alternatives.

If you need some more style inspiration, take a look at the La Gazette du Bon Ton range at Easy Art. La Gazette was a luxurious magazine published between 1912 and 1925 and featuring the work of some of the best illustrators of the period to showcase the latest couture fashion, like this image from 1924. A reproduction print starts at only £19.95. There are some wonderful original posters available from Dodo Posters at a whole range of price points too. And I'm rather taken with this photograph of a golfwear model, available as a print from Museum of London. Surely Jordan Baker would approve.

Phew! So I hope that sorts out Gatsby fashions for you. Do tell us about your sparkliest vintage finds, or any vintage topics you'd like us to cover in the comments, or on Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, I'm off to do some lounging.


  1. I wish I could wear flapper dresses. Dropped waists and hippy hips are not friends. Instead I'm just going to have to buy all of the Deco jewellery.

  2. Have you seen my Gatsby-style capelets? Loved the divine ones in film. See also great vintage pieces like these which are perfect Gatsby accessories...


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