I never did get into the Halloween thing much as a kid. But for some reason, dressing the part for the Latism13 Gatsby-themed awards gala became a personal mission. Maybe it was the fact that the 1920's were not exactly a decade known to be kind to women with hips and ass, what with the straight-style drop-waist dresses that were all the rage (or maybe it's today's designers screwing it all up, but we can save that for a Girl Body Pride post). I tried on so many dresses. Some were a nightmare and stopped at my hips when they should have flowed freely to my calves. Others were maybes that didn't fit the image of the flapper girl I imagined I would have been. Photos like this one at the Clarion Hotel in Portland, Maine (where I stayed on my way out of town and back), served as the perfect inspiration for getting into the #ElGranGatsby spirit.
I live in the boonies. This is not an exaggeration. There may be a Walmart in town, but the closest Target (and Starbuck's) is a two-hour drive south to Bangor where Stephen King lives. It's probably worth noting I used to be impressed by the idea of living in Bangor and roughing it writer style, but then I moved to Maine and blew past Bangor (and my trenta iced green tea with four honey packets, mind you) so I now figure I get to say I've got one up on Mr. King for where I live sounding bad-ass on the book jackets of my future works of awesome.
But I digress. The point to that whole living in the boonies thing was to simply emphasize why I went straight to the internet to dress myself virtually for the gala. Because I was shocked into a permanent grin from all the compliments I received on the authenticity of my look that night, I thought I'd share how it all came together.
I started with a vintage-look drop waist dress made for my curves that I found on DressBarn. Having shopped enough there with the BFF in Tucson before packing up for the Great White North, I knew I could order online without having to worry. What I didn't expect was that the dress would be so perfect. Just change up the accessories and it goes from Gatsby to contemporary in a snap. That fit with my Dress Buying Rule: If I can't think of three other ways to wear it other than for the intended event, I keep looking.
I started with the cloche. That's fancy for hat and yes, my kid reads a lot of Fancy Nancy. Anyway, my short and kinky curls weren't going to do a feathered headband any justice, so I combed through Etsy stores trying to find the perfect cloche -- and then I spent hours I should have been sleeping searching for one I could, yaknow, afford.
(Note to self: add vintage in front of any item and good fucking God on the price, y'all.)
Just when I was about to give up, I stumbled across Elsewhen. The name made the writer in me smile. And I found the perfect cloche, which I wore the hell out of while in New York. Minus the pretty flapper feather, it's pretty damned awesome with jeans and a simple tee and, of course, boots.
In case you were wondering, yes, I'll be buying from Elsewhen again.
The flapper feather was The Husband's idea. Jeeze Louiseto the rescue. You're welcome.
The purse was a handmade piece of art I found because I'm dedicated, y'all. I searched through hundreds of vintage and vintage-inspored 1920's era purses and almost all of them made me cry when I saw the price tag. This one from A Bit of Luxury not only fit my iPhone, it also was real people affordable and it's gorgeous. Win!
And of course, the shawl. I'll admit I'm self-conscious about my very non-Jada Pinkett Smith arms, so a cover up was essential. But it had to work with the authentic look I was working for. At this point, all the research I had done on what real flappers actually wore and how Halloween totally has it all wrong, so it was go big or go home. I went big and landed on the Trove Vintage Boutique Etsy shop.
The best part of all the compliments at the gala had to have been the utter shock that I committed to this whole thing from head to freaking toe. Thank you and You look great, too's were part of the conversation but shut UP....THE SHOES just made my fucking day. Yes, they are fantastic. Thank you, ModCloth, for getting them to me on time for departure.
I had a blast. I want to do wear it all again. It might be a bit over to top for Walmart, but the time will come. And I'll be ready.