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How to dress for a Great Gatsby Party in 2024

by Katie B 19 Jul 2023

10 Decades have passed since the fabulous roaring 1920's, however the dress code remains as glamorous today as it did 100 years ago. Without doubt the roaring 20's is the most popular dress up theme for any party or event..

Why ‘The Great Gatsby’ theme so popular for parties and events

The driving force behind the roaring 1920’s modern-day popularity is Baz Lurhrmann’s 2013 movie re-make of the 1920’s best-selling novel ‘The Great Gatsby’. Even more granular, the most memorable scenes of this film feature extravagant, grandiose and seriously fun evening parties with guests dressed to impress. In particular, the ladies exude elegance, beauty and empowerment like we have never seen before. Its these scenes alone that have set the tone for the resurgence of the roaring 20s and Great Gatsby themed events.

What is Great Gatsby Dress Code

In short, Great Gatsby Dress code is formal. However, its formal with immense glamour, extreme style and serious levels of sexiness. A perfect reference to the dress code can be seen in this 5-minute you-tube clip.

Before we go any further, we do want to address 1 thing. We strongly recommend avoiding any Great Gatsby clothing that is referred to as a costume. This is for both men and women. Gatsby costumes are cheap and nasty solutions, they are not formal, and they don’t look the part. In most cases they cost the same as an authentic Gatsby dress does or for men, what is already available in your wardrobe. In other words, don’t get caught out wasting money on a product referred to as a costume!

Great Gatsby Dress Code for Men

For men it starts with being well groomed. This includes:

  • Being clean shaven.
  • Hair at medium to short length and styled with a part.

Next, we move on to the outfit. If you refer to the you-tube clip, this does not need to become a complex exercise. The most common Gatsby outfits for men primarily consist of 4 core garments.

  1. A black suit
  2. White button up collared shirt
  3. Black or white bow tie
  4. Black dress shoes.

Jay Gatsby wearing suit in party scene taken from The Great Gatsby Film

In a little more detail, we have created a few popular combinations that really should do the trick:

  • Combine with grooming a black suit (pants and jacket) white button up collared shirt, white or black bow tie, black dress shoes and a matching pocket square (aka pocket handkerchief).
  • Combine with grooming a black suit (pants and jacket), white button up collared shirt with pleated front, cuff links, black or white vest, black or white bow tie, black dress shoes and a matching pocket square (aka pocket handkerchief).
  • Combine with grooming a darker style jacket (possible pin stripes or gold buttons), cream colored pants, white or light-colored button up collared shirt, bow tie, dress shoes, boater hat and a matching pocket square (aka pocket handkerchief).

Fortunately, most men would already have some of these garments in their wardrobe. If they do not, they could try their local suit hire shop, their local shopping mall where nearly all these items would be available or see if their friends have any of the garments.

In summary, the best Great Gatsby outfits for men should consist of being well groomed, dressed in a nice suit and accessorized with items like bow ties, pocket squares and boater hats.

Now that we have address what they men should wear, lets move onto the ladies!

Great Gatsby Dress Code for Women

The Gatsby Dress, which is also referred to as a Flapper Dress, is your first stop when piecing together an outfit for your Great Gatsby party. Fortunately thanks to the world wide web there is enough information and retailers online to source a quality Gatsby dress.

Here are a handful of questions and answers (from the experts) that are worth giving consideration whilst planning your outfit.

Q. What colors are Gatsby Dresses available in?

A. Gatsby Dresses are made in most colours including black, red, blue, white, silver, green and gold. The most popular colours are black and red (more specific maroon or a darker red). We also feel these 2 colours have a broader range of accessories that compliment the dresses. For example, headbands and long black gloves. The other colour we highly recommend is Green. Green Gatsby dresses are limited in design however they exude an energy full of glamour and elegance. Which is exactly what this theme is all about.

Q. What Length are Gatsby Dresses available in?

A. Gatsby Dresses are made predominately in 3 lengths. Short, knee length and floor length. The most popular length is knee length. The knee length dresses provide comfort whilst maintaining their elegance. The hem of these dresses sits above the knee however when factoring fringes that run around the hem, they become knee length. We find the shorter Gatsby dresses are perfect for those in performing arts and the floor length perfect for the more formal occasions like proms, weddings, gala balls etc.

Q. What are the most popular Styles of Gatsby Dresses?

A. There are a handful of different styles however for the purpose of this article we will focus on the 2 most popular which are referred to as vintage and fringe style dresses.

  • Vintage Flapper Dresses - feature stunning art deco patterns of hand beaded and sequin detail. They are extremely glamorous whilst exuding an energy of female empowerment. This style is the most popular. When referring to the film it’s this style of dress that is worn by most female guests at Jay Gatsby’s parties.
  • Fringe Flapper Dresses - generally feature tiers of fringes that run around the entire dress from neckline to hem. Some of these dresses also feature under lying patterns of delicate sequins that really give the dress some shimmy…especially on the dance floor! When referring to the film, think of Gilda Gray making her entrance on the party dance floor in her silver fringe flapper dress.

Product image with reference to Fringe Flapper Dress and Vintage Flapper Dress

What sizes are Gatsby Dresses available in?

A. The short answer is they are available in most sizes from XS through to 5XL. It is important to note that one must refer to a retailer’s size charts (more so when buying online). Take the time to apply your measurements to the size charts as all dresses have different cuts. You may find that a medium in one style fit you, however in another style you may need the large. This is even more important once you start getting into the Plus Size Gatsby Dresses (2XL and above). Your homework becomes even paramount. Shop around, ensure to refer to measurements noted in size charts and if in doubt contact the retailer for some advice.

Q. What Gatsby Accessories do I need?

A. Once you have decided upon your dress, the next stop is to accessorise yourself. This should not be over complicated or made to be an unnecessary expense. The reason being is with most Gatsby dresses there is generally a lot going on and by accessorising we want to make sure we compliment the dress rather than take away from it. With this is mind we almost always recommend wearing a flapper headband, some jewellery, and possibly long gloves.

  • Flapper Headband – depending on your style of dress you could opt for a simple headband that consists of sequin style band, attached motif and feather. One of the most popular styles is a jewellery style flapper headband with rhinestones and faux ivory pearls.
  • Jewellery – Think gems and pearls! As mentioned above, with most Gatsby style dresses there is a lot going on. We really do not want to take away from the dress, so our advice is to keep it simple and try and use what is already in your jewellery box. With earrings our recommendation would be drop style earrings featuring faux gems or pearls. Necklaces in most cases are not required. Reason being is most Gatsby style dresses these days either have a high neck or v neck cut with beads and sequins running all the way through the neckline. If on the other hand your dress is a fringe style dress with a plainer pattern, then a faux pearl necklace (strands of beads or lariat) would complement the outfit. Bracelets, in our opinion they are not required, and rings think anything featuring gems, pearls and the odd diamond.
  • Gloves – there really are only 2 options here. Long black gloves or long white gloves. Black will compliment nearly all coloured dresses (the exception being white) and white gloves will compliment white dresses. If the style of dress you have chosen has sleeves (short or long), gloves are not required.

We also give a notable mention to other Great Gatsby accessories like shawls, feather boas, cigarette holders and pearl necklaces. Whilst these are somewhat popular, they are not entirely necessary and in most cases their practicality is void. In some cases, can be a detriment to an outfit.

Q. How much should I budget for a Great Gatsby outfit?

A .For a glamorous and authentic Gatsby outfit combining what you already have in your jewellery box we estimate that an outfit should cost anywhere from $60 to $140 AUD. Or $40 to $90 USD, 30 to 75 GBP, 35 to 80 EURO and $65 to $145 NZD.

If we reference www.flapperboutique.com, on average a typical outfit that consists of a vintage flapper dress, headband and long gloves will cost around $100 AUD. Or $65 USD, 52 GBP, 60 EURO and $105 NZD.

Shipping for Australian customers is free over $50, for customers in the US, UK and Europe around $10 AUD and for customers in NZ around $5 AUD

In summary, this theme is all about fun and having a really good time. If you are lucky enough to get invited to a Great Gatsby theme party, then one should embrace it. Make sure you piece a glamorous outfit together and get excited. You just never know who you will meet at one of Jay Gatsby’s parties!

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