COVID 19 update – not off to a party? Check out our online Charleston dance classes
Off to a 1920s party and wondering what the devil to wear? Or perhaps you’re going to a wedding and looking for something unusual, elegant and sparkly. Because our Charleston dancers are often out and about performing at the hottest Gatsby parties and events, clients often ask me for 1920s costume ideas or places to source outfits.
Well, unless you’re lucky enough to have and original 1920s dress from your Great Auntie Tallulah… here are my top 5 online places to pick up 1920s reproduction dresses. I’d always say reproduction dresses are best for dancing in and letting loose on the dancefloor. Nothing makes me gasp more than an original 1920s dress, but when I tried some on for my wedding at the Hammersmith Vintage Fair, they felt far too delicate and precious to dance in. My favourite danceable 1920s beaded dress, pictured above and below, is actually from Miss Selfridge a few years back! I wore it for my evening wedding party and went for it on the dancefloor!
Forget tacky costume shops, go for something sequinned or floaty or tassled and feel like a stylish jazz age debutante or a 1920s starlet for the day. Book our 1920s hair and make up to set off the dress perfectly.
1. Frocks in Swing Time
An friend from the swing dance circuit who used to live near me, now runs this rather stylish little independent shop in Exeter. They have a fine range of beaded and sequinned 1920s style flapper dresses, great for any occasion where you need some vintage sparkle. You can mail order, or try them on in their shop in Exeter if you’re local. Molly (above centre) is my favourite for the unusual Plum colour, a rather authentic swinging hem, and ornate egyptomania style beading, and the Annette is also lovely (above left with tassles). Beatrice (above right), has a lovely scalloped hem and elegant shape with a v neck and sunburst beading. And the Peacock Dress (below) is special for the handkerchief hemline, and if you love teal. Price range £99 – £119
2. Rock My Vintage
I’m impressed with Rock My Vintage 1920s dresses for shorter styles you can dance in. There are some well made, stylish beauties on here, from the marvellous red Edith dress (above left), if you’d like a deep Downton Abbey style colour, to this lovely jade green one and this black and silver beaded flapper dress. Not all the dresses are authentic looking, and there are some beaded maxi dresses with a nod to the 1920s. Price range £75 – £180
2. Frock and Frill
Frock and Frill ‘s flapper dresses are still amongst the best for a 1920s look updated to contemporary fashion tastes. What’s more, if you’re booking one of our party dance classes or our dancers, we can offer a 25% off discount code for you and your guests. You could wear these to a Gatsby themed party or ordinary unthemed wedding. It’s also a wonderful ethical company. The scallop hemmed Zelda, in an array of colours, has been popular for a long time. Ziegfeld (below) has intricate beading in pastel shades and Ireana is a cami style tassled dress with an unusual v shaped hem line. Price range £85 – £145
3. The House of Foxy
Another lovely independent, the House of Foxy have two rather original 1920s style dresses with handkerchief hemlines. A nice authentic looking green velvet for an evening party, and a lovely ditsy red one – great for a tea party or tea dance. It’s hard to find repro 1920s day dressses so this one gets my vote, with a lovely sailor style necktie. And it looks so comfortable for a sunny day out or tea and cake.
4. Nataya Dresses – an overseas dress maker
If you’re happy to wait for shipping from overseas, Nataya do an amazing range of wonderful floaty 1920s Downton Abbey dresses and flapper style dresses, and Victorian Titanic style dresses. Very special, light and chiffony. I’d love to own one of these as they are so different to everything else on the market. Great for a mother of the bride, a special dress for a vintage or 1920s wedding, and they even have a bridal range.
5. Little Black Dress
For a big range of Gatsby Lady dresses, have a look at this stockist based in the UK. There are midi and maxi dresses galore. I like the unusual and striking black and gold Florence Flapper Dress, and the Zoey embellished flapper dress which has a slightly goth, Morticia Addams vibe about it if that floats your boat. Price range £50 – £120
If you’re looking for something made to measure and bespoke, see @tammytwinkletoesnz on Instagram makes the most incredible bespoke 20s and 30s dresses that I have ever seen, if you’re looking for something truly authentic and unique and have time to wait. They are simply perfect. Indian Summers eat your heart out. Here is her etsy shop
For inspiration, please check out @halseyandthehihats on instagram, she restores original 1920s dresses and has the most incredible collection.
Now, don’t forget to have a Charleston dance class at your party, because no party in the 1920s was complete without dancing! Check out our vintage venue in Cheltenham if you haven’t yet found a gorgeous vintage place to hold your event.
And see also 1920s party decor ideas
And Vintage Hen Party Planning tips