JULIE FINDS IT FOR YOU: A Flapper Party Look That Doesn't Scream Costume

So you can wear it again, duh!
Publish date:
November 16, 2011
dresses, The Great Gatsby, flappers, Midnight in Paris, Office Party

I just got the invitation to my company's holiday party and the theme is the ever-original Roaring 20s! Flappers! Jazz! Art Deco! The stock market crash! Participation in company-wide events is very high around here, and most people will dress up (and I want to, too!). However, I'm not ready to drop a bunch of money on a flapper costume when I'm sure there are some really cute "flapper-inspired" dresses out there that are a) obviously 20s influenced, especially if I accessorize properly b) awesome enough to wear to a bunch of other parties/for a few years and c) within budget (say, $200). Any chance you could help a girl out??

Fancy! Our holiday party is at this Brooklyn bowling alley near my apartment, and I sort of WISH a costume was required. I totally get off on having the best costume in the room (who doesn't?) so I want to make sure that your flapper look is spot on, and of course multi-purpose.

The key to a convincing costume is choosing someone to channel. For your roaring 20s look, I'm thinking Marion Cotillard in Midnight in Paris. You don't need to copy one of her on-screen looks, just keep her character in mind.

Next up, identify a few key features of flapper style. Go for beaded embellishment and fringe; a headband and opera gloves, or a long cigarette holder. Just two or three of these elements will get the point across.

Since you want your theme party costume to work at normal holiday parties too, I've rounded up some pieces that riff on the flapper trend rather than interpret it literally. Here's what I found:

H&M Dress, $40: This sexy little number offers a modern take on flapper-style fringe and says I'm down to fool around with a co-worker. It also comes in a lovely champagne color. Top it with a fur-trimmed jacket to start, then take it off once you've loosened up.

ASOS Shift Dress, $166: The most Midnight in Paris of the lot, this party frock has the beaded embellishment and the modest neckline. It's on-theme without looking too "costume," and could just as easily replace a boring LBD on New Year's Eve.

Kimchi Blue Daisy Dress, $129: I love how this dusty blue dress incorporates fringe so effortlessly. From the drop-waist to the floral embroidery, the details make for a really authentic look that could pass for a vintage find.

Sue Wong Feather Bottom Sequin Dress, $185: If you're looking for major attention, go with this one. You've got the key elements of flapper style, fringe and embellishment, updated with a plunging neckline and slightly shorter hem that make for a party dress you'll want to wear again.

Topshop Embellished Crop Blouse, $90: This piece is for the reluctant theme-party guest who wants to observe without going too crazy. Pop this beaded top over a little black skirt or slip dress and you're just flapper enough. And once the party's over you can wear it under a blazer or leather jacket for an easy night-out look.

Now, how is your place of work celebrating the holidays? And what's the craziest thing you've ever done at a company holiday party? Bonus points if you were in costume. Go!