diy, fashion

HOW TO: 1920s Gatsby themed costumes on a budget

The weekend saw my friend K celebrate her Hen’s Night – the “traditional” last night of craziness with her ladies before she marries her fiancé this weekend coming. Guarantee it won’t be her last night of fun, just because she is tying the knot doesn’t mean she’ll never leave the house again, haha! I guess a Hen’s night is just a fun way to let loose before the anxiety of the big day kicks in. Weddings are beautiful, but I assume when you’ve been planning something for 58492 days the pressure builds up!

The theme of the night was “The Great Gatsby” and I wanted to share my tips on how to achieve a 1920’s look on a budget. It’s easy to go all out with these types of parties, but when you are busy and don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on an outfit you probably won’t wear very often you just need to remember a few keys items to turn a regular outfit into an outfit perfect for throwing back to the past.

Hair Accessories

The number one item you need to create a Gatsby themed look is head wear. The 1920’s was all about jewels and feathers adorning your crown, and choosing the perfect hair piece will change your look from every day to flapper goddess in seconds. Both Lovisa and Colette by Colette Hayman have stacks of feminine hair bling at low prices, and according to my friend the staff will happily let you try on the items before you buy just to make sure the piece is right for you. If you’re unsure of what is considered “Gatsby” just think feathers, pearls or jewels, usually in a headband or hair clip style. My hair piece was a Lovisa find at on $19.99 and to complete the look I chose to pin my hair up in a vintage inspired style, which worked well with the headband. Curls are also a good choice for hair, or if you’re hair savvy pin curls look beautiful and are very on theme.

Make Up

You have two choices with makeup when it comes to the 1920’s. A smokey cat eye or a bold red lip. Or if you are gutsy enough do both! Dramatic make up is the perfect way to become a character without having to spend a bunch. Being the eye make up failure I am I opted for a matte red lip as my make up feature and loaded up on the mascara and eye liner. Make up tip for a night out on the town – load up on that primer before you start your face, you don’t want your hard work smudging off mid way through the night! The bride K (see above) had her 1920’s make up look done by Perth MUA Aimee Smart of Allure Beauty Couture – how amazing does it look! 

The Outfit

Our party kept it very simple with our outfits for the evening, staying away from the fringed dresses and feather boa’s you’ll find in a costume shop and opted to wear black (and the bride to be wore white). This is a great way to keep your outfit cheap as everyone owns at least one little black dress. There were plenty of different styles to be seen on the night, but lace was happening in a big way (an easy throw back to the 1920’s), the plunging neckline made an appearance or two (sexy), and heels were out in full force. I went with a Dangerfield leatherette skater dress featuring a lace cut out pattern on the neckline and skirt. Simple black peep toe heels completed my look. Even though we all wore dresses that can and will be worn in usual nights out they all became very vintage inspired with the addition of dramatic make up and hair pieces. Simple!

There you have it – an easy way to get glammed up in a 1920’s fashion without having to blow the bank balance. Avoid the hire shop next time you have an event requiring a costume and focus on the details of the theme. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find in your wardrobe that’ll work perfectly for the evening. 

Have you been to a 1920’s themed party? What did you wear? Are you one to hire a costume from a costume shop or do you DIY?

E x


  1. Love your looks! I adore a theme party or opportunity to get fancy dressed. I attended a 20s themed ball a few years ago – I had a “modern” dress with a drop waist and lace detail, long gloves, opaque tights and heels, curled hair, jewelled hair band and my makeup artist sister in law working my face . . . I was super pleased with the results! There was plenty of fringing and boas at the event but I felt like I teamed to the theme nicely.

    • I love costumes – as long as they aren’t going to cost a million bucks! Your look sounds gorgeous hun, gloves are a great idea x

  2. twenty says

    You look beautiful . Love that head gear. Bride to be’s makeup is wonderful too. Trust you all had lots of fun !!

  3. Laura x Loves says

    You all look great. Gotta love a 1920s themed party that doesn’t break the bank! xx

  4. Pingback: So long ’16! | The Illusive Femme

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