There is something absolutely fabulous about vintage dress. The glamorous femininity, the change from the modern garb to a unique silhouette is like a breath of fresh air. When you look in the mirror and see your hair fingerwaved to perfection, your makeup bold and different, your dress a fine silk with delicate lace trimming emphasized by the fine pearl ornaments that drape around your neck; you feel a different kind of beautiful. It’s as if you’re a part of history, playing a particular role during a ravishing time.
On the other hand, it’s just fun to dress up.
There are so many different kinds of vintage inspired parties and event that you can throw. Each decade provides numerous themes that can be transformed into fantastic occasions. Below is a very brief summary of these themes, which I will later delve into.
1900-1919: Edwardian era Tea party, Garden Party, Grand Ball, Large dinner party
1920-1929: Roaring Twenties, Jazz Age Flapper party, Dinner and a Murder, Masquerade Party, New Years Eve, Speakeasy party, Gangster Party, Movie Icon Party
1930-1939: The Great Depression, Pre-War Era Hollywood Party, Masquerade, Gangster Party, Movie Icon Party, New Years Eve
1940-1949: WWII, Post War Era Big Band party, Pin-up Girl Party, Movie Icon Party, Gangster Party, Dances, Dinner party, Christmas, New Years Eve
1950-1959: Cold War Sock hop, Rock n Roll party, Dinner party, I Love Lucy, Movie and TV Show Icon Party, Cocktail Party, Elegant Cocktail Party, Las Vegas Party, Rat Pack Party, Pin-up Girl party, Garden party
I will go through each decade and give as detailed “how-to’s” as possible. Note: All of these themed parties would also make fun and memorable wedding themes as well.
1920’s fashion has for nearly 80 years been defined by the “flapper”- short bobbed hair, fringed formless dresses, excessively long strands of beads, and a flask held in place against the thigh by a garter. Jazz music roared through the city streets and money flowed like wine, as the gorgeous girl danced the night away in pretty sparkles and pearls.
There was much more to this era than just the flapper and Al Capone. Throughout the years much of the history has been lost to the stereotype that we know today. The chinsy dresses we buy at the cheap costumes stores cannot begin to emulate the elegance and glory of the time. Designers such as Coco Chanel, Jean Patou, and Jeanne Lanvin redefined the sophistication of couture.
As women rose in the power spectrum, having won the right to vote in 1920 and entering the workforce in unspeakable numbers, fashion took on a more masculine look. The soft flowy lines of the previous decade had stretched to straight, dropped waist designs, with fabulous fur coats and cloche hats. The corset was gone. Skirts were getting shorter. And the hair…. the hair was a statement all on its own.
The “bob” look sparked the greatest hair controversy of the twentieth century. The hair was bluntly cut at the jaw line or ear line, and many times formed into finger waves or curls. With the flapper craze came silky straight bobs, with a shingled shape at the nape of the neck. Parents complained that they could not immediately tell if it was their son or daughter walking in front of them. Men divorced their wives because of their too manly of an appearance. Many employers even fired all their female employees who had bobbed locks.
Things began settling down by the end of the decade, however. The new trend sparked economic booms in the hairdressing industry, and opened up countless jobs for women across the nation. Designers were creating beautifully luxurious and chic ornaments to adorn the hair with, along with the lovely cloche hats on the market.