It’s 2020, and you know what that means: a decade full of Gatsby-themed parties.
Bring on the fringe. The Flappers. The bold pearl necklaces, the feather headbands, the long white gloves that go up to your elbows. Bring on geometric sequin patterns. Bring on the drop waist, jeweled hair pieces, (fake) cigarette holders, faux fur shawls. A little party never killed nobody, but I do anticipate that the 1920s party theme is going to be done to death this decade. We are here to make sure you’re dressed well for it.
I (Kathryn) have a Gatsby-themed gala to attend in a couple of weeks, so Summer and I picked a few Amazon options that we thought might fit the theme to try out!
1. Beaded Fringe Flapper Dress: Plus Size (XXL-5X), Straight Size (XS-XXXL, with beaded sleeves)
This dress is quintessential Gatsby, in my opinion. I love the gold beads and the fringe skirt details, especially because it looks like the fringe goes past the knees. This dress looks like it will be so fun to dance in. If you’re not a fan of the sleeveless look, you can order a different version of this dress with beaded illusion sleeves. Both dresses come in 8-12 different colors—I’m just partial to the black and gold look. I loooove it! There are a few iridescent mermaid sequin strips on it (hard to tell with the lighting below) that I was very happily surprised with. The length is great, and the fringe at the bottom will make me want to twirl all night! I’m wearing a 5X.
2. Floor-length Mermaid Evening Dress (S-XXXL)
Summer found this dress on Amazon and it called her name. While it might not be what you think of as a “classic” 1920s look, it does have some vintage vibes, and with some accessories, it could be perfect.
/ Summer: I really dig this dress because it can be made more vintage with a head piece but could still work as a regular evening dress with more modern touches. When worn with the cowl neck you can wear a regular bra, and the material is slightly stretchy so no worries about a mermaid waddle. You can also scoot those sleeves to your shoulders for a more boat neck style a la Meghan Markle. I would wear this dress for any evening event, it is so comfortable and flattering. The only drawback? I’d have to wear shorter heels (I’m 5’8″ so this may not be the case for you) /
3. Beige Beaded Fringe: Plus Size (XXL-5X), Straight Size (XS-XXXL)
Another classic 1920s dress, complete with the fringe and sequins. I love the way this one moves, and it’s a good length—long enough to cover me while I dance, but short enough that it still feels fun. Ideally, I’ll wear a midi or floor length dress to my gala (which is why I’m holding out hope for the 1st option or the 7th, whenever they arrive), but this is currently my favorite back-up option! I’m wearing a 5X, which is probably akin to a 22/24 in this Amazon brand’s sizing.
4. Sequin Lola Sheath Dress (XS-XL)
I saw this dress on Rent the Runway and it called to me. Unfortunately it doesn’t come in plus sizes, so it’s not an option for my party, but it might work for you! The best part is that it’s the cheapest option on this list: you rent it for your occasion and then return it after, easy peasy.
5. Bead Illusion Blouson Dress (14W-24W)
This is another one of those dresses that called my name. It’s an Adrianna Papell, so it’s a little pricey, but if you’re feeling like splurging, I think it fits the 1920s theme perfectly. It comes in burgundy, dark grey, and emerald: any of these colors would work, plus you could wear this gorgeous dress to any wedding or black tie occasion in the future. Because it’s Adrianna Papell you know it’s good quality, and the beads should not fall apart after one wear.
6. Art Deco Fringe Dress (XS-XXXL)
I love the look of this dress, and I’m obsessed with the fringe! I ordered an XXXL which, I found out the hard way, is closer to a US 18/20 than a true “3X.” Ah, the joy of plus sizes on Amazon. The dress fit on my body, but it was dangerously short on me, especially in the back. I am already likely to make an ass of myself with the open bar at my gala, I don’t want to show my ass to everyone, too!
/ Summer: This dress didn’t work for Kat which is a real shame because it was great for me! It feels a bit heavy due to all the beading (I didn’t mind that but something to consider). This is another one I can wear a regular bra with, it had good length, and the fringe was so fun! This dress has everything you could want for a 20s party: sparkle, fringe, and an almost-flapper-but-not-shapeless fit. If I were at this gala, you’d have to drag my flying fringe off the dance floor. /
7. Sequin Evening Dress (2/4-20/22)
/ Summer: I thought this dress looked great when I pulled it out of the package; the beading and sequins were well attached and it was definitely sparkly. When I put it on, I noticed that the lining doesn’t extend all the way to the floor so you’re left with a bit of sheer fabric along your shin—bummer. It was also a little too short for me to wear with heels, and I can’t sneak any flats under because of the sheer panel. If that doesn’t bother you, this is a lovely option for a more formal event, and comes in tons of colors. /
I ordered a 20/22 in this dress–the largest size they had–and it was a huge fail for me. It was super tight and short in the body, so the sheer part that fell at Summer’s knees came up dangerously short for me. I love the sequin details and chiffon material, it just runs a bit small, so it’s a fail for me.
Honorable Mention: Mermaid Illusion Sleeve Evening Dress in Plus Size (16-26) & Straight Size (2-16)
I received this dress from Amazon by mistake—it’s the wrong size for me, but I love it. I found it in both straight and plus size, but unfortunately the plus size version isn’t prime, so it’s not guaranteed to arrive in time for my gala. (If it was prime, it would already be on its way to my house.)
If All Else Fails—Accessorize!
Of course, no 1920s look is complete without the accessories. Check these out, all available on Amazon Prime! Some are very quintessentially roaring twenties, while a couple of them can work for future occasions (who doesn’t want to rock a cat magnifying glass necklace in their everyday life?)
I bought both of the headpieces (1 & 7) to try out. The Rhinestone Cap Head Piece is gorgeous, super extra, and reminds me so much of Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby. It doesn’t have any way to stay on my head, but it did come with a few bobby pins, and I’m pretty confident I could secure it if I do choose to wear it to my gala. The Vintage Rhinestone Drop Headpiece is okay—my head is too big for it to fit comfortably, and it’s not adjustable so there was nothing I can do to make it work. However, if your head is smaller than mine, it’s an excellent $10 option to make you feel more 1920s.
The Faux Fur Wrap is a great way to dress up any simple dress or outfit and bring it all together! It comes in small or large—I got the large, and it was a pretty decent size! I would have liked it to be a bit longer in either length or width, just because I feel like it might stay on my arms a bit better in that case, but either way, it works for a party!
I also purchased the 1920s Accessory Set. This is a pretty comprehensive set of costume pieces, including a necklace, feather boa, gloves, headpiece, and fake cigarette holder. I put everything on together and it made me feel a little more glamourous. It’s only $12, so a great choice if you want to really lean into the theme!
If none of the dresses above speak to you, find that little black dress in your closet. Grab a few accessories from the above ideas, and accessorize your outfit! You’ll fit right in. Summer and I did this with our LBDs last year: the first time we wore these dresses together was in 2017 for a banquet (awww, baby bloggers), and the last time we wore these together was in 2018 for my company holiday party. We both scoured Amazon for hours trying to find some good 1920s looks for that party, but came up short. (Clearly, Amazon has since upped their game!) Instead, we each bought a headband and some jewelry, and fit right in at the party. Never underestimate the power of a good thematic accessory!
Cheers to the 2020s!
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