Suffice to get lost in the pages of “The Great Gatsby” or to have at least watched Baz Lurhmann’s vibrant adaptation of the same book to become instantly fascinated with the Roaring Twenties. Unlike any other decade, the 1920s have a fantasy quality to them that ended up turning the flapper into a romantic notion every woman wants a taste of. The years of 2007 and 2008 marked a short-lived revival of the 1920s fashion, but it was the fall of 2012 that reimagined the trend by steering clear of the cliches, a take that’s carried through to spring/summer 2013.

And while a fringed dress, a string of pearls, a bobbed haircut and a feather headband might sound like perfection in your head, having the outfit translated to reality would only make you look either like a costume enthusiast or a crazed movie fan at best. Having said that doesn’t necessarily imply that indulging in the revival of the era should be kept strictly at a fictional level.

There are plenty of ways that will allow you to live the fantasy while still looking modern and relevant, because this time around subtlety is key. Here’s how to make the 1920s trend your own.

how to style a flapper outfit

1920s inspired jewellery.

Anyone pursuing to recreate the modern version of the flapper girl must already know that the tumultuous decade was about more than just knowing how to dress. It was about attitude and a revolutionary spirit, as the 1920s opened up a plethora of possibilities when it came to jewellery. Elongated earrings became the ultimate style, alongside strings of pearls, Art-Deco inspired rings and fantasy brooches. Choose any of the 20s influenced styles to spice up your everyday looks and to complement your aesthetic with bits of old glamour.


From left to right, top to bottom: Del Gatto Diamond and Gemstone Drop Earrings at Forzieri; Valentino Vintage Bow Brooch at Farfetch; Juliet & Company Classic Long Necklace at Shopbop; Lanvin Art Deco Bangle at Farfetch; Judith Ripka White Sapphire, Mother-of-Pearl and Sterling Silver Ring at Saks Fifth Avenue

1920s signature accessories.

Making use of the right accessories gives place to another modern way of interpreting the 1920s fabulous fashion. By keeping your look polished and modern, invest in accessories that speak of the Roaring decade without looking like they necessarily belong in the past. Many designers re-envisioned the flapper girl’s signature shoes, purse or hair accessories by giving them a twisted edge. The secret is setting a perfect balance between the old and the new.


From left to right, top to bottom: Miu Miu Lizard-trimmed sequined clutch at Net-a-Porter; Mulberry Metallic brushed-leather T-bar pumps at Net-a-Porter; Vivien Sheriff Black Lace Lady Grey Headpiece at Avenue32; Dents Ladies cotton crochet gloves at HouseOfFraser; Filigree Me In Headband at ModCloth

1920s signature elements.

The cliche flapper dress might be a tiny bit costumy for the real world, but other than that it still looks pretty irresistible and incredibly flattering. By changing proportions and preserving the Jazz Age’s main elements, perfect your wardrobe with garments that are built on subtle beading, a drop-waist or playful fringes. Keep your looks toned down with modern accessories, including metallic heels and statement clutches.


From left to right: Alice + Olivia Nora Drop Waist Beaded Dress at Austique; Ralph Lauren – Piper Silk Embellished Dress at mytheresa.com; Stella McCartney – Melrose fringed dress at MatchesFashion

Flapper hairstyles.

Clothing and accessories aside, the easiest way of indulging in the 1920s trend while still retaining a modern aesthetic might just be by choosing a new haircut or trying on new hairstyles. If you think a short bob is a little too daring, try recreating a modern update on a tousled flapper (faux) bob or perhaps an authentic 1920s hairstyle like a finger wave. Let the hair do all the talking by keeping the rest of the look ultra-feminine, sleek, elegant or even edgy.


Tousled flapper bob at Mark Fast and short bob in Revlon’s Clandestine collection

1920s inspired make-up.

In terms of make-up staples of the 1920s, the dark lips and the kohl-rimmed eyes stood out most. Lips in the 1920’s were made up to represent a Cupid’s bow, while the eyes were accented with a thin line of black eyeliner traced around the eyes, often smudged at the ends. Needless to point out that today’s make-up must be kept relevant so it’s less about smudging, but other than that you can still borrow inspiration from the free-spirited flapper girl.

Pair the dark lipstick with equally dark eyes for a bold, dramatic look, or choose the smoky eyes and set them in balance with a delicate nude lip. Red lipstick and a natural toned eyeshadow also make for a great combo that’s both more subtle and statement-making. Don’t be afraid to experiment until finding the style that suits you best.


Gatsby Girls by Daniela Rettore for LADIES Magazine

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