If you have decided to hold your own costume party, have you considered a 1920s dress up party? With the popularity of the Downton Abbey series on TV, costumes from this era have become equally popular, and the series gives you plenty of inspiration for creating your own costumes.
You might already have some of these elements in your own wardrobe, but it’s also a good idea to rummage through your local charity shop, as you are sure to find a few key pieces at really affordable prices. So if you are getting ready to host your very own 1920s party and are dying to wear an iconic flapper costume, here are 7 ensembles you can easily pull together at home.
- Lady Mary Downton Abbey costumes – simple daywear
Lady Mary was often seen in a simple daywear costume that was highly reminiscent of the loose-fitting drop-waisted blouses and narrow below-knee skirts with a slight kick on the bottom. At first, you might think that this style will make you look rather shapeless, but if the drop waist sits comfortably on your hips, it can be very stylish – after all, Lady Mary wore it! To top off your Lady Mary’s daywear classic, you need a long necklace and a pair of T-strap shoes and you have the perfect Downton Abbey fancy dress!
- Downton Abbey – traditional daywear dress
This must be even simpler to recreate than the example above because it’s just a lovely floral sleeveless cotton dress. Ladies in the 1920s often wore these traditional dresses during the day, just as often as the blouse and skirt ensemble, so it really reflects what women wore in the day. All you need is a simple V neck sleeveless dress with an elastic waist covered by a wide belt. Add a pair of white cotton gloves, narrow brimmed sun hat, strappy sandals, and a small short-handled purse, and you are ready to WOW everyone at your party.
- 1920s flapper costume ideas
As women in the 1920s found their freedom, they started to embrace a very loud and exciting lifestyle, wearing clothes that were deemed as immoral and scandalous! These flapper dresses are an absolute dream to wear, and are very easy to pull together – and if you can actually find a flapper dress that’s covered in swaying fringes, then you have hit the jackpot! For your flapper costume, all you need is a tight-fitting sleeveless dress (black is fabulous) and yards of the same colour fringe (easily found in fabric stores), which you can glue around the dress. Match it with a bandana and feather, long necklace, feather bower and t-shoes, and you have the perfect Downton Abbey outfit – one of the easiest 1920s flapper costume ideas ever!
- Menswear-inspired 1920s costumes
During the 1920s women’s clothes started to be influenced by male fashion, most probably as a way to exert their freedom and independence. Their clothes started to incorporate neckties, collared blouses, vests, and male tweed materials, giving you plenty of options for your costume. An easy example is a collared blouse with tie, tweed vest and a tweed pleated skirt or you could team it with a pair of loose trousers with wide legs. Another option is an Oriental-inspired outfit, which was also becoming popular in the 1920s, composed of a pastel-colored singlet over white loose wide-legged trousers in a silky material and matched with a white long-sleeved loose jacket with a mandarin collar, also made from a silky material.
- Downton Abbey fancy dress – evening wear
If you love vintage clothing with beads and lace, then the 1920s sophisticated evening wear was designed for you! You want a long narrow silky dress down to your ankles, without a waist or sleeves, preferably with a lacy component. Another option is an ankle-length silky dress with a dropped waist. Add a scarf of a similar colour that’s draped around the front of your neck so that the ends drape down your back, long necklaces, and silky elbow-length gloves, and you have a modern 1920s outfit for the perfect evening amongst the nobility.
- 1920s sportswear for women
It wasn’t until the early 1920s that women started to play sports actively, but they didn’t have any sport wear. So they adjusted their own clothes and incorporated men’s styles to come up with something that would work for them. So if you love tennis, team a below the knee white pleated skirt with a long-sleeved shirt, sailor tie and white long-sleeved cardigan (don’t forget the tennis racket).
For golfers, you can team loose wide legged tweed pants or below knee culottes with a short or long sleeved top and a small brimmed hat, reminiscent of the cloche (don’t forget the golf club). If you love riding horses, do your best to find a pair of dark-colored jodhpurs that bulge out above the knee, teamed with knee-length riding boots, a long-sleeved sweater, and a riding crop.
- 1920s costumes – swimwear for women
By the 1920s, women were starting to flex their muscles and wanted their clothes to represent their new lease on life. Swimwear was the one area where they fought long and hard, but it wasn’t until the mid-1920s that modesty rules were eventually lifted and women were no longer fined for showing too much bare skin above the knee! If you want to put together an easy 1920s dress up swimwear costume you need a long singlet that goes down to your mid thighs over a pair of swim shorts or a shorter singlet and a pair of swim shorts, but you need to wear a short mini skirt over the swim shorts. Some women wore simple above knee sleeveless dresses, but they still needed to wear knee length shorts underneath. Add a pair of flat street shoes or a pair of lace up boots to above the calf, which were worn by the more fashionable 1920s ladies by the pool or on the beach. Finish with a narrow brimmed 1920s cloche hat and you have your very own 1920s swimwear!