Great Gatsby Outfits: How To Dress For A Gatsby-Inspired Party

by John Griffith

As a teenager, one of my favorite books was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I was absolutely captivated by the opulence and the drama. But the thing that really got me obsessed with the book was the fashion of the Roaring Twenties. So, when I received an invite to a Great Gatsby-themed party, you can imagine how excited I was. However, this also meant I needed to find something appropriate to wear. I realllly wanted to capture the elegance and the charm of the era perfectly. So, I dug deep for inspiration. If you’ve also been invited to a party, or you simply love the timeless appeal of 1920s fashion, you’ve come to the right place. Today, I’ll share with you everything you need to know about the fashion of this era, as well as show you some gorgeous Great Gatsby outfits for inspo.

Jay Gatsby, played by Leonardo Di Caprio

Who Is The Great Gatsby? Unveiling the Iconic Character

SPOILERS AHEAD! The Great Gatsby is a novel written in 1925 by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. In this story, we are introduced to the magnificent and mysterious Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. Renowned for his lavish parties and unwavering love for his long-lost beloved, Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby is a self-made millionaire. Born James Gatz, he rebuilt himself to live the American Dream from modest origins. Fitzgerald delves into issues of love, ambition, and the often-illusory American Dream through Gatsby’s story. Gatsby is among the most intriguing and moving characters in literature, since his tragic end emphasizes the emptiness that may lurk under a surface of luxury.

The Great Gatsby is a classic novel

Exploring Life in the 1920s: A Glimpse Into a Transformative Decade

Often called the Roaring Twenties, the 1920s underwent considerable social and cultural change. According to The Smithsonian Institution, throughout this time, there was a revolution in social norms, a boom of new technologies, and growth in the economy. Jazz music, flapper culture, and speakeasies became emblems of the era. They represented the just-discovered freedom and rebellion against traditional thinking. Mass production and advertising sped up the spread of consumerism, which changed people’s daily lives by making things like cars, radios, and home appliances more affordable for the typical American. There was an upsurge in women’s participation in public and political life after the 19th Amendment granted them the right to vote. This energetic decade paved the way for modern American society, combining invention with a feeling of exuberance and change.

The 1920s were a revolutionary time

Roaring 20s Attire: Fashion Trends That Defined an Era

The daring and creative fashion trends of the Roaring Twenties are well-known for shattering the conformity of earlier decades. According to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), the flapper dress, with its knee-length hem, loose fit, and sparkly sequins and fringe accents, revolutionized the way women dressed in the 1920s. This style embodied the attitude of rebellion and independence that was prevalent during that era. Men’s fashion developed as well, with the popularity of Oxford bags and raccoon fur coats ushering in more relaxed styles. Both genders wore era-defining accessories, such as cloche hats for women and fedora hats for men. Reflecting the grandeur and modernism of the time, this era also saw a boom in the use of luxury materials and Art Deco designs. These trends all highlighted the decade’s embrace of liberty, inventiveness, and luxury.

Carrey Mulligan as Gatsby’s beloved, Daisy Buchanan, dressed in a typical flapper dress

carey mulligan as daisy buchanan, wearing a light cream, embroidered silk dress, with a cream tulle side bow, and t-bar shoes, sitting in an antique armchair, great gatsby outfits

Signature Great Gatsby Outfits: Iconic Styles From The Roaring Twenties

However, this revolutionary style change was not merely a quest for comfort – it was also a rebellion against the suffocating limitations imposed on women at the time. Members of the fairer sex wanted the whole world to know that they were a fully functional part of society, earned top dollar, and could dress however they saw fit. In turn, society responded by giving them the name flappers, meaning bright and independent, but flaky and hedonistic young women. There is no definitive explanation how the term “flapper” came to be, but some believe it had to do with a type of loose fitting rain boots, which were a fad among teenage girls, and “flapped” when worn.

Meanwhile, men’s fashion was also evolving. Brightly colored and boldly patterned accessories became increasingly popular, as did baggy trousers and sports sweaters. Hats and shoes, scarves, pocket handkerchiefs, ties and trouser suspenders became available in a mind-boggling variety of colors and styles, helping each youth find an original look, that underlined their individuality.

Three dapper gents sporting 1920s attire

three men in great gatsby outfits, grey three-piece patterned tweed suits, colorful ties and straw hats, two antique gramophones nearby

How To Dress For A Gatsby-Inspired Party

Although there are numerous sites which offer Great Gatsby outfits and party costumes, many are either overpriced or not very authentic. But fear not – recreating the glamorous roaring 20s style at home is, in fact, a lot easier than it sounds! For ladies, the key is having suitable hairdos, make-up and accessories. But how do you get them just right? Well, we have a comprehensive, 4 step process to get you started:

  1. First of all, you need to style your hair in a chic 1920s do. Although the iconic hairstyle associated with the era is the bob, you don’t necessarily need to cut your hair. Here is a nifty tutorial, explaining how to create a fake “finger wave” bob:

    And it’s easy enough to do at home!

     2. Now it’s time to do your make up! Remember: red lipstick, bold blush, and dark eyeshadows are a must!

    How to get that gorgeous (and historically accurate) flapper make up:

    3. Once your hair and make up are ready, it’s time to choose suitable attire. Any free-flowing, sleeveless midi or mini dress, decorated with fringed details, lace, embroidery or sequins will do. Strappy, slip-style models and LBDs also acceptable. As for the shoes – Mary Janes with straps, or t-bar shoes are most appropriate, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can also go for regular high heels or sandals.

    4. Finally, the most important touch – the accessories! To get the best results, you should get a flapper headband and an oversized knotted pearl necklace. Luckily, they are available at very affordable prices in most party and costumes stores, and shouldn’t cost you more than $20.

     Voila! Your Gatsby-inspired outfit is ready!

Great Gatsby Outfit Ideas For Men

Gents going to a 1920s themed event can either choose the classic dandy look, or go for something a little edgier, like a vintage gangster costume. In both cases, a quality three-piece-suit is a must. As with ladies, hair and accessories should not be underestimated. Those wishing to look as polished and refined as Gatsby, should opt for a slicked-back hairstyle, combined with a tie and a pocket handkerchief in bright, playful colors. The look can be completed with brogue shoes, and a straw flattop hat in summer. Those who wish to attend dressed as vintage gangsters, on the other hand, should generally try to stick to darker colors, and accessorize with a Peaky Blinders-style cap or a fedora.

Stylish 1920s gangsters – Tommy Shelby and his posse, from BBC’s Peaky Blinders 

Anabelle Wallis in a stunning embroidered 1920s gown

peach pink flapper dress, embroidered with white beads, worn with a cream satin coat, featuring a white lace trim, and crochet lace gloves, great gatsby outfits, annabelle wallis in peaky blinders


Great Gatsby Outfits Perfect For a Party

In 2013 Baz Luhrmann’s eponymous adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby hit theaters, reviving the public’s appetite for everything associated with the roaring 20s. Now, years later, Gatsby-themed parties are as popular as ever. There are 1920s style weddings, birthday celebrations, and even corporate parties. No matter what type of event you are going to, you should go in style. Here are plenty of ideas you can use for inspiration.

It’s hard not to love this indulgent, vintage glam!

room with three mirrors, gold details on its walls, three lit antique chandeliers, and an ornate carpet, with two women, dressed in great gatsby outfits, with furs and feathers

A flapper bride? Why not!

wedding gown in 1920s flapper style, featuring gold embroidery, and short sheer sleeves, great gatsby outfits, on a blonde young woman

Chic vintage preppy outfit for guys

great gatsby costumes, young man wearing a navy blue blazer, with rope-like trims, over white trousers, and a white shirt with a striped tie, brooks brothers label

Stylish, charming and energetic – the quintessential flapper

gatsby dress in off-white, featuring art deco-style, silver colored embroidery, with beads and a fringed hem, on a laughing brunette woman

Vintage photo inspiration

roaring 20s dress, on a smiling woman, with a fur shawl and a hat, sitting next to a laughing man, in a vintage suit, authentic antique photo

authentic vintage images, in black and white, of three women, dressed in flapper outfits, with large feathers and headbands, roaring 20s dress

models from the 1920s, posing in revealing flapper dresses, featuring sheer details and embroidery, roaring 20s dress, long necklaces and bob cuts

tulle hat in white and black, worn by a woman in black and white dress, smoking a cigarette, great gatsby costumes, in an antique car, next to a man smoking a cigar, what to wear to a gatsby themed party

black fringed dress, worn with long black satin gloves, decorated with diamante jewelry, on a woman with a black headband, featuring a red feather, great gatsby costumes, long pearl necklace

A gorgeous, and authentic-looking costume like this, can cost you $100 or more! (It’s totally worth it though!)

nude pink gatsby dress, featuring shiny silver embroidery, with art deco motifs, on a dark-haired young woman, wearing matching nude pink t-bar shoes

young men's great gatsby costumes, black trousers and shirt, worn with a striped vest, beige trousers and a pinstripe shirt, worn with a black vest, straw flattop hats

maxi dress in nude pink, with sheer sleeves, and gold embroidery, featuring art deco motifs and beads, worn by slim brunette woman, with a matching pink headband

If you’re looking for flawless 1920s style inspiration, re-watch Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (2013)

still from baz luhrmann's the great gatsby, featuring leonardo di caprio and carey mulligan, in great gatsby costumes, surrounded by white flowers

images from the set of the great gatsby, leonardo di caprio, tobey maguire and others, dressed in great gatsby costumes, three piece suits, trousers with suspenders, straw flattop hats

The ladies of Peaky Blinders

female characters from bbc's peaky blinders, wearing flapper-style attire, low-waisted dressed and wrap coats, roaring 20s dress ideas for parties

cillian murphy and two of his co-stars, dressed as 1920s british gangsters, standing in or next to an antique car, 20s mens fashion

elderly couple dressed in 1920s inspired clothes, kissing in front of a black antique car, red dress and black smocking

1920s Hair and Make Up Ideas

several chunky necklaces, and a black flapper headband, worn by a young woman, in sheer black lace top, and 1920s make up

close up of a woman's face, with cherry red lipstick, purple eyeshadow and fake lashes, and black hair, styled in a 1920s bob

How gorgeous is this cheery red lipstick?

wavy bobbed brunette hair, worn by a woman with 1920s make up, dark eyeshadow and red lipstick, backless dress covered with silver sequins

faux vintage photo, with a sepia tint, showing a close up of a woman's head, hair and make up styled like a 1920s flapper

feather in black, decorating the black headband, of a woman with 1920s flapper make up, painted eyebrows and smoky eyes, bright red lipstick

Her majesty the flapper!

digitally painted images, of two young women, with flapper style hair and make up, one wearing a brown dress, and the other a white slip

headdress in shimmering silver, on a woman with short black hair, and bold make up, wearing a beige and gold flapper gatsby dress, with pearls and beads

six young women, wearing evening dresses in different colors, decorated with vintage accessories, gatsby dress, feathered headbands and long gloves, a sheer lace shrug, and long pearl necklaces

Creative Suggestions for Couples’ Costumes


curly blonde woman, wearing a 1920s, art deco-inspired black dress, standing next to a man, in black trousers and white shirt, with suspenders and a bowtie, retro car in the background, great gatsby mens clothing

Vintage charm in white

beads and silver embroidery, on a nude pink maxi dress, worn with lots of jewelry, by a brunette woman, standing next to a woman, in a white gatsby dress, with lace and embroidery

smiling women posing for a photo, one dressed in a midi, black roaring 20s dress, with t-bar shoes, a headband and long pearl necklaces, the other is in a similar dress in pale pink, how to dress up for a roaring 20s party

Travel Back In Time: 1920s – An Age of Wild Parties and Glamour

mock-antique black and white photo, featuring laughing and talking young people, dressed in roaring 20s dress, and holding glasses

Authentic vintage flapper dresses

examples of roaring 20s dress, five gowns in brown and black, featuring low waists, fringe details and embroidery, worn by mannequins

collage showing three images of women, dressed in 1920s attire, cream embroidered dress, worn with a feathered pearl headband, white dress with pearls, carey mulligan with a pink flapper dress, how to dress up for a roaring 20s party

Now THAT’S what you call dancing skills!

hall with a retro ornamental carpet, and a decorated ceiling, people dressed in roaring 20s fashion, dancing and flipping int he air

ten women in formal dresses, inspired by the 1920s, and accessorized with faux fur shawls, long pearl necklaces, headbands and other items

trousers in black, worn with suspenders, a white shirt and a beige vest, and a brown bowtie, 20s mens fashion, on a smiling man with a cap, and forearm tattoos

Ready to party!

cream and white and nude pink, elaborately embroidered gatsby inspired dresses, on four smiling women, with 1920s hairstyles and accessories, how to dress up for a roaring 20s party

convertible blue antique car, with brown leather interior, driven by a young woman with bobbed hair, hugged by a man in a mauve blazer, roaring 20s fashion, another couple in the background

Designer fashion inspired by the 1920s

contemporary clothes in pale pink and white, inspired by roaring 20s fashion, midi dress with a blazer, floaty floral dress with a cloche, pinstripe suit with a fedora

greyscale faux vintage photo, showing a group of women, all dressed in gatsby inspired dresses, with feather boas, long pearl necklaces, smiling and posing for the camera

friends dressed in roaring 20s inspired outfits, smiling at the camera, and holding drinks, flapper dressed with hats and headbands, smart trousers with vests and suspenders

satin gatsby themed dress in brown, on a woman with flapper headdress, three young women in long 1920s gowns, close ups of models and actors in vintage makeup

Great Gatsby outfits don’t get any cooler than this

evening gowns in black and beige, decorated with gold sequins, and shimmering embroidery, gatsby themed dress, on two young blonde women, holding clutch bags

We hope you’ve found our tips useful! For more awesome style ideas, check out our fashion section. We have a great article on vintage wedding dresses, as well as lots of info on 50s, 80s and 90s clothing!

young women with flowers in their hair, wearing gowns inspired by 1920s fashion, low waists and lace, embroidery and applique, gatsby themed dress

John Griffith

John Griffith is a young, passionate journalist. Writing has been John’s hobby ever since he was a boy. He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful news portals over the course of his professional career but found his forever home at Archzine.