Traditionally modeled after supernatural figures like ghosts, monsters, witches, vampires, and devils, Halloween costumes have expanded over time in the United States to include a variety of characters from fiction and several popular archetypes.
One such costume would be the Gatsby Girl costume, because no matter how funky or experimental people get with Halloween dress-ups these days, almost everyone will agree that it’s a safe bet to dress retro.
However, that doesn’t mean that the Gatsby Girl costume is any less adventurous than its modern brethren.
In fact, it was all the rage in the Roaring 1920s, when the United States of America was enjoying unprecedented prosperity following the First World War, and a way for a whole generation of women to shrug off the constraints of Victorian society.
WWI had given women unprecedented independence as they aggressively joined the workforce to take the place of men who were off fighting in the war.
Once the war was over, both men and women found it difficult to return to their pre-assigned societal roles.
In many ways, the Gatsby girl flapper costume (“flapper” being a term used to refer to rebellious young women or any impetuous older woman in the 1920s but now simply meaning a fashion statement) symbolized liberation for women.
The flapper got its name from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, which is constantly a contender for the title of “The Great American Novel.”
The Gatsby Girl flapper costume has a few distinctive features:
- A shapeless shift dress that just ended around (above or below) the knees, low compared to the gowns of the Victorian era
- Short, close-cut hair often styled compactly into waves or curls
- Makeup (customarily heavily applied compared to the lighter “au naturale” applications of today)
- A long cigarette holder for smoking
- Most importantly, the exposure of limbs in the costumes, which not so many years before WWI would’ve been considered indecent,
Easy To Customize
The great thing about the Gatsby Girl costume is that it’s relatively simple and highly customizable.
This is why middle-class women in the 20s were able to enjoy high fashion just as well as upper-class ladies and why it remains so popular even today.
For Halloween, ladies have a vast variety of Gatsby Girl costumes to choose from.
One excellent example of a Gatsby Girl costume would be the White Gatsby Girl costume, which, as the name suggests, consists of a white flapper dress.
The edge of this effortlessly sexy and sleek costume is trimmed with sequins, and it comes with a matching sequin headband to boot.
It is an elegant contrast to the Black Gatsby Girl costume, which, with its feathered headband and fingerless gloves, is comparatively bolder.
Suitable accessories, such as cigarette holders, a feathered headband, colorful beads, pearl necklaces, wigs, matching stockings, and high heels, can be used to embellish the flapper dress for a completely authentic look.
If you’re willing to go the extra mile and stress your purse just a bit (the accessories are relatively cheap), the effect will pay off.
Adorable and Less Sexy Version
For those who’re looking for something on the less sexy and more adorable side, the Puttin’ on the Ritz Halloween costume line
The bodice is form-fittingly black with a deep V-neck, while the bottom of the dress features a skirt (of customizable color—gold, blue, etc.) that manages to be sassy and elegant at the same time, attractively leaving the legs exposed from the knees down.
A simple diamond-shaped design rests on the torso, and a stylishly long pearl necklace finishes the ensemble, which is best worn with cute short heels and an elaborate headdress.
Whatever other Halloween costume crazes come and go, this retro number, although not as “shocking” today as it was in the 1920s, is here to stay.
So try out a Gatsby Girl costume and revel in the feeling of being immersed in the 20s this Halloween.