How to Dress for the 20s: Finding the Perfect Flapper Dress!

January 17, 2019




This article is the first in our series of tips, ideas & inspiration helping you to achieve an authentic 20s look for one of our upcoming 1920s speakeasy events!


When you think 1920s it's difficult not to think of the flapper, the young, forward-thinking, fun-seeking women of the jazz age! They dared to do so much: to shed the restrictive and uncomfortable tight-fitting dresses and corsets that their mothers and grandmothers had worn; to embrace the straight cut, short (reaching knee-length by the mid-20s!) glitzy frocks and accessories that we still love today; and perhaps most importantly, to reject and rebel against the restrictive social and political customs and 'morals' of previous generations, amongst other things! So, with more of our 20s Speakeasy events coming up in Newcastle and Leeds, we thought it would be fab to give you some tips, guidance and recommendations on how you can achieve an authentic flapper look for our event! We’ll be trying to cover options for all budgets – from the low cost option of finding and adapting a dress from your wardrobe (or from a charity/second-hand shop), to the slightly pricier but stunning ready-to-wear 20s dresses and accessories that we've handpicked as our favourites! Whichever you decide to go for you’ll look and feel amazing!


PS - For each of our Secret Speakeasy events we'll be awarding some amazing prizes for the best dressed flapper & the best dressed gent, so don't hold back on the glitz, glamour or detail! 


Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, which may result in Experience Vintage Ltd receiving a commission in the event that you click through and make a purchase.  


The Perfect 20s Dress: What to Look For!


Whether you're looking to buy a ready-to-wear 20s style dress or fashion your own, there are a few key typical characteristics that you'll need to look for!



The 20s saw the arrival of straight cut (often sleeveless) dresses with drop-waists, and a scoop (or v-neck) neckline. The drop-waist meant that they were free-flowing, allowing free movement, perfect for dancing! One of the most important elements of a Flapper's dress was the eye-catching decoration: They were incredibly elaborate, adorned or embroidered with decorative beading and sequins (and not just the front, as your back would be on show whilst dancing, the back of the dress was just as elaborate and detailed!) The hemline reached it's highest point - to the knee by the mid 20s, so if you're looking to go super authentic don't be tempted by a dress that's shorter than this!



Creating your Own Flapper Dress


If you’re looking to fashion your own 20s dress check your wardrobe or check your local charity shops for a loose fitting, drop waist, straight cut dress that's around knee length, sleeve-less and ideally with a scoop neckline! Don’t worry if it’s plain, it’s amazing how different it will look by adding some interest and decoration to the overall look by wearing pearls and long bead necklaces and a sequined headband with feathers! You could also add some long white evening gloves too to complete the look!  


Buying the perfect dress, ready-to-wear : Some Recommendations! 


If your budget allows there are some stunning 20s-style dresses out there and most are very close replicas to the dresses that would have been worn by the flappers of the day! (we say 'style' because original 20s dresses are extremely difficult to find!). Here are 5 of our favourites! (Please note that the price listed here was accurate at the time of publishing this article, but prices may have changed since, so make sure you check before buying!)


1. Mint Green Flapper Dress - £50 (Use code: FLAPPER for free UK delivery!)


"This is a mint green sheer flapper dress with underslip featuring scalloped hem line, drop waist, round v-neck and sheer, scalloped cap sleeve. The dress boasts a gold embroidrerd floral and ornate frame pattern to bodice, hem and cuffs."


Complete the look with this glamorous emerald style headband!


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2. Black Flapper Dress with Silver Bead & Sequin Detail - £98, was £140! (Use code: FLAPPER for free UK delivery!)



"This is a black 1920s style flapper dress featuring a drop waist, scalloped hem and cut out back section. The dress is decorated in gorgeous silver bead and sequin design."


Complete the look with this Vintage Silver Deco Headband



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3. Black Embroidered Gold Thread Flapper Dress - £50 (Use code: FLAPPER for free UK delivery

 "This is a knee length flapper inspired party dress with scalloped hemline, drop waist, round neck and sheer scalloped sleeves. The dress has a wonderful embroidered, floral and ornate swirl pattern in gold thread decorated with round black glass beads."


Complete the look with this elegant black & gold headband


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4. Black & Silver Flapper Dress - £78 (Use code: FLAPPER for free UK delivery)


 "This is a short black beaded flapper dress featuring a drop waist and high scoop neck with racing back and spaghetti straps. The beadwork on this Gatsby dress is amazing with layers of triangle, elongated hexagons, floral, chequer board and diamond shapes in shimmering silver and clear beads and sequins."


Complete the look with this Pearl Gatsby Headband


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5. Nude Sequinned Flapper Dress - £69 (Free UK delivery with Code: FLAPPER)



"This is a drop waist, knee length flapper dress in nude, featuring underslip and sheer over lay with black bead and sequin work in floral, leaf and arc pattern; sheer scalloped cap sleeves and a scalloped hemline."


Complete the look with this black and gold headband


View Product Page





Thank you for taking the time to read this article, we hope you've found it useful in your search for the perfect 1920s dress for our one of our speakeasy events, we'll be publishing more articles in the coming weeks in this series to provide you with more tips, ideas & inspiration on getting the perfect 20s look with articles on shoes, makeup, accessories & some clothing tips and inspiration for gents! 



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