Thursday, November 10, 2011

Puttin' on the Ritz

by Nancy DeWitt

If you're blue and you don't know where to go to,
Why don't you go where fashion sits,
Puttin' on the Ritz.


Winter has arrived in Fairbanks, which means that one can find a fundraiser or gala to attend just about every weekend in this busy town. We've noticed that several upcoming events, including a few booked in the museum, have a Roaring Twenties or Art Deco theme. If you're looking to be stylish, here are a few tips.

In general, women's fashion in the 1920s was characterized by loose, drop-waist dresses, short hair, cloche hats, nude hose and Mary Janes or t-strap shoes. What we call the Flapper style actually only lasted from around 1926 to 1928. During the Flapper period, some dress hemlines reached above the knees, but just barely. The ultra-short, fringe-laden 20s dresses found in today's costume shops would likely have been frowned upon, even by the most rebellious of flappers. The Art Deco era is said to have started as early as 1910, but is more typically thought of as the period of 1920-1939. This gives anyone attending an Art Deco-themed party a lot of options, including beaded, calf-length dresses, colorful chemises, or slinky gowns reminiscent of Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich.

Men wore 3-piece suits with narrow lapels throughout the 1920s. High waisted-jackets and tail coats were popular for formal wear. Trousers were straight-legged and often short enough so that socks were visible. Sportswear included knickers and sweaters (or sweater vests), while hats ranged from newsboy caps and boater hats to fedoras and top hats. During the 1930s, double-breasted suits with wide lapels, white dinner jackets (worn with black pants & bow ties) and blazers became popular, as did "Palm Beach" suits made from linen, silk or seersucker. Boldly colored and patterned "gangster" or "zoot" suits also appeared in the 1930s. These had pronounced shoulders, narrow waists and wide trouser bottoms and were usually topped by a colorful felt hat. Oxford and two-toned shoes were worn throughout the 1920s and 30s. More on 1930s fashion can be found here.

We've listed some websites below to help you dress the part. If you know of other resources for 1920s-1930s reproduction or vintage clothing, please add them in the Comments section.

Reproduction and vintage-inspired clothing
Leluxe Clothing Co. (Art Deco dresses)
The Vintage Dancer (men's suits, knickers & Oxford bag pants; ladies' dresses; shoes, hats, accessories for both)
Unique Vintage (flapper dresses and accessories)
Blue Velvet Vintage (beaded 20s-style dresses)
Revamp Vintage (men's and women's 1920s and 30s outfits)
Recollections (1920s dresses)
Men's zoot suits, zoot pants - pricey and less so

Wearable Vintage 
Adeline's Attic (women's dresses and shoes - Etsy)
Adored Vintage (women's dresses, hats & shoes)
Dorothea's Closet (women's dresses, mostly priced for the serious collector)

Patterns
Harper House (1920s dress patterns)
Eva Dress (1920s-30s dress patterns)





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