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How to channel the roaring twenties at 'The Great Gatsby' in London

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Are you ready to attend a little soirée? Pop open the champagne bottles and clink your glasses, as The Great Gatsby in London comes alive once more. Experience all the highs and lows of the roaring twenties, complete with Charleston dances, flapper dresses, and plenty of moonshine.

The Great Gatsby in London creates its own Jazz Age. The Great Gatsby is inspired by the seminal F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, with audiences able to schmooze with the epochal party host, Jay Gatsby. But the fun continues when Jay Gatsby isn’t in the room too, as Daisy Buchanan and guests encourage audiences to take part and be in the party.

Dressing up to the nines is heavily encouraged for all The Great Gatsby theatregoers. Forget current fashions though, you’ll want to tap into the 1920s looks for a striking Gatsby-esque outfit. So what are you waiting for? Secure your invite to Jay Gatsby’s hottest event.

Book The Great Gatsby tickets on London Theatre.

The Great Gatsby and 1920s fashion

The Great Gatsby is set in the 1920s in the United States, a celebratory era where communities were reveling in post-war bliss. This exhilarating time influenced the 1920s clothing styles; outfits were typically freer and made of looser, vibrant materials. Day to day, women began to show more skin than normal. Skirts became shorter with each fashion cycle, eventually showing off the knee by the late 1920s. For men, three-piece suits were still worn occasionally, but men were also beginning to wear softer fabrics and colourful argyle socks.

What to wear to The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is the place to wear 1920s evening wear. For women who want to catch Jay Gatsby or Nick Carraway’s attentions, we recommend wearing a flapper dress. A flapper dress is a sleeveless dress that cuts straight on your body, creating a simple silhouette.

Counterbalance this silhouette with plenty of fringing and beading on your dress, so that when you move, your dress will sway in the wind. Pair your flapper dress with your favourite heeled dancing shoes and a feather in your hair for the ultimate Gatsby look.

Want to rival Jay Gatsby in the fashion department at The Great Gatsby? We recommend wearing a white shirt and colourful tie, paired with a matching waistcoat and suit trousers. Shine your shoes too, so that they dazzle under the lights of the jazziest party in town.

If you don’t want to wear a tie, then why not unbutton the top two buttons of your shirt and tuck in a neckerchief. Or perhaps a scarf and trilby hat combo may be more to your liking. However you dress, you’ll definitely fit the (dollar) bill.

How to create The Great Gatsby hair and makeup looks

For an authentic 1920s hairstyle, why not create easy finger waves? To master the style, run your hands through wet hair and combing it in place with hairspray to finish off the look. If you’ve already got short hair, we recommend a sleek, straight bob, perhaps paired with a pearl hair slide or a feather. The Great Gatsby makeup is all about thin eyebrows, a fairly natural complexion but rosy red cheeks to look constantly blushed.

Men have it slightly easier here, as trilby hats were commonplace in 1920s outfits. However your hair looks, if you put on a black trilby hat that’s adorned with a white ribbon, you’ll immediately look the part.

The Great Gatsby cocktails

No visit to The Great Gatsby is complete without a tipple or two — it is the Prohibition era after all. While you’re at The Great Gatsby, you’ll be able to visit a fully-stocked bar where you can enjoy 1920s themed cocktails. Gin-based drinks are fitting with the 1920s theme, as many distillers would make their own gin away from the watchful eyes of the police.

Unsurprisingly, the champagne is free-flowing at The Great Gatsby too. At multiple times in The Great Gatsby, you’ll be asked to raise a glass. So make sure you’ve got your champagne at the ready to toast Jay Gatsby, celebrating a night to remember.

How can I prepare before seeing The Great Gatsby?

To get into the spirit of The Great Gatsby, we recommend watching (or rewatching) the 2013 Baz Luhrmann film adaptation. The recent film revitalised the F. Scott Fitzgerald story for younger generations, perhaps thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan.

The Great Gatsby also features a pop soundtrack infused with 1920s jazz with songs by Sia, Lana Del Rey, and Bryan Ferry. Did you know that director Baz Luhrmann also directed the Moulin Rouge! film. Moulin Rouge! The Musical is at London's Piccadilly Theatre.

For the Gatsby purists out there, re-reading The Great Gatsby before seeing the live show is a wise decision. As parts of the storyline are altered slightly, you may want to re-read the story quicker than you can say “old sport.” During the show, audience members are called on to join characters in their side stories, so if you’ve read The Great Gatsby, you can discover even more about what goes on inside the minds of those invited to Jay Gatsby’s latest affair.

Book The Great Gatsby tickets on London Theatre.

Photo credit: The Great Gatsby (Photo courtesy of The Great Gatsby)

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