Fashion in “The Great Gatsby”
“My life, old sport, my life…my life has got to be like this…It’s got to keep going up.” ~Jay Gatsby
I don’t know about you all, but I literally had to watch The Great Gatsby twice, mainly because the first time I watched it, my eyes were glued only to the costume designs. The 1920’s were a revolutionary decade for fashion. After the war, women weren’t afraid to indulge in riskier and more provocative (at the time) clothing to symbolize their path towards freedom. Shorter skirts, pleats, and slits became consistent clothing characteristics. Sportswear was also one of the greatest changes in fashion since the war. Women donned sportswear as a representation for their newly active lives, while men engaged in athletic clothing by ditching suits for the slacks. Hats and folded handkerchiefs in jacket pockets were musts, symbolizing class and confidence.
If all this sounds appealing, then read on for 1920’s-inspired fashion inspiration.
Gatsby’s fashion sense screams “Oxford stereotype”—the type that I personally think is quite flattering on any man. For parties and other glamorous occasions, Gatsby’s choice remains the tuxedo. A tip about tuxedos and/or suits in general: it is highly polite if a man walks around with one jacket button closed, opening it only to sit down.
In the 1920’s, bow-ties were men’s “it” choice for high-end occasions, and Gatsby certainly participated in this trend. (The 20’s may be the only decade that contests our own in bow-tie popularity.) Cuff links are a necessary finishing touch to any outfit of Gatsby’s, even though it’s unusual to wear them with tuxedos. For those “off-peak” hours, Gatsby wear classis linen suits in pastel colors like ivory, yellow, and pink. He smartly contrasts his light-hued suits with ties and vests of contrasting or bolder colors.
Brooks Brothers featured an entire Gatsby collection in celebration of the movie, but their clothing is usually 1920’s-inspired even when unrelated to The Great Gatsby.
Carraway’s style mirrors the typical fashion of Ivy League-esque writers. He generally dresses simply, refusing to stand out through his clothing. His clothing consists of a brown or gray shaded suit, accentuated by a tie in either maroon or the same color as his suit. Carraway’s gray sports hat is the accessory that best portrays his character.
Argued to be the modern depiction of the 1920’s, Baker prefers a sporty style to complement her golfing hobby. She symbolizes the emergence of the independent women, whose interest in more masculine clothing represents an increase in the equality of men and women. Baker dresses in neutral hues that emphasize her silhouette, often opting for loose linen pants and long sleeveless shirts both in a pale skin color. Lined with heavy black, her eyes are the focus of attention.
Blinged out in diamonds and as the precise definition of glamour, Buchanan boasts the style that most people recall when thinking of the 1920’s. Usually dressed in frilly, sparkly dresses, Buchanan prefers to focus attention on her head with eye-catching accessories like big hats and feathery shoulder pieces.
Short hair was quite popular in the 1920’s, as showcased by Buchanan. But even if you have long hair, you can stimulate the short bob style by bobby pinning your hair underneath itself, or by tying all your hair in a loose ponytail and twisting the tail underneath with bobby pins…lots of bobby pins.
Make sure to check out The Great Gatsby, which has recently been released on DVD!