What is a Flapper Gatsby Costume?

The Great Gatsby book and movie evoke a glamorous time during what is known as the ‘prohibition’ era where all alcohol was banned from making, transporting or selling in the United States between 1920 till the mid-1930s. As a result of this, there was a huge black market and gangsters were involved in the sale and transportation of alcohol. Young women at this time were called flappers, meaning they were free-spirited and disregarded social norms.

20s flapper feather headband

The Great Gatsby was written about this time and it depicted a time for women in particular for arising social independence. The classic Flapper Gatsby Costume for women is a mid-length straight dress, falling from the shoulders to the knees, with no intake at the waist as had been popular during most eras before and since.

The style of dress for women was due in part to the wastage of young male lives in western countries after World War 1, followed by the pandemic of Spanish influenza. It was clear to many that life was short and that women need to carve out lives on their own terms as there were simply fewer men to go around.

Mens Gangster Costumes

Women were starting to demand the vote and to have freedom apart from what men would ‘allow them’. The main characters of the famous novel about this time, The Great Gatsby is Jay Gatsby who made his money as a bootlegger (transporting illegal alcohol) and he was in love with a flapper, Daisy and these are the fashions that are depicted in the movies.

Because Jay Gatsby was a gangster, this 20s men’s costume and flapper dress have become iconic of what gangsters dressed like and can be used for characters such as the flapper and gangster Bonny & Clyde who made their money in transporting illegal alcohol at this time.

Gatsby Flapper Costumes

Along with the loose long lined suit and flapper dress, accessories to complete the look include close-fitting hats, a long string of pearls and bob wigs for women, with a trilby hat and gun for a man.

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