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Ever since I stumbled across the Jazz Age Lawn Party hashtag, I've wanted to attend a Great Gatsby Party a little closer to home. Turns out that my colleague Zoë--of the smashing blog Cycle Vintage--had an extra invitation to the social event of the season.

Delicious tea sandwiches and deviled eggs.

Delicious tea sandwiches and deviled eggs.

Dahlias and champagne.

Dahlias and champagne.

The Gatsby Summer Afternoon Picnic is hosted by the Art Deco Society of California at the historic Dunsmuir Mansion in the Oakland Hills on the second Sunday in September. I thought that I knew a thing or two about planning a picnic. But this "picnic" was fancier than any wedding I've been to.

ONLY VINTAGE CARS ALLOWED ON THE LAWN!

ONLY VINTAGE CARS ALLOWED ON THE LAWN!

The Gatsby Summer Afternoon is all about immersing yourself in a stylized version of the past. Consequently, this party had an extensive list of rules, all in the spirit of keeping anachronisms at bay. No plastic containers. No cans. And no visible bra straps. 

Zoë of Cycle Vintage

Zoë of Cycle Vintage

Period dress (generously, we could choose any style from the twenties to the early forties) was required in order to attend. Even though I loved my fashion history courses in college, I was intimidated by the idea of meeting the Society's tough dress codes.

Do's

  • Dropped Waist
  • Light, soft natural fabrics (silk, georgette, chiffon)
  • Hem just below knee (longer for early '20s)
  • Soft colors, pastels, muted prints
  • Cloche or cloche brim hat
  • Seamed hose, tights
  • Hose rolled at knee
  • Neat grooming
  • Accessories: shawls, clutch bag, parasols, wrapped head scarves
  • Shoes: Lower heeled pumps, louis heels, small strap
  • Try a "character shoe" from a dance shop
  • TIP: Don't ruin your vintage shoes on the lawn; bring modern backups for walking
  • Long hair: pulled back into knot at neck, marcelled into waves around face
  • Shorter hair: curled like Clara Bow, or straight bob with bangs

-from "How To Gatsby: Ladies

Don'ts

  • Evening wear, beaded gowns
  • The "Untouchables" look -- fringed poly shift & feather boa
  • Miniskirts
  • Sequined headband
  • Fishnets, jet black hose
  • Bra straps showing
  • Cell phones, water bottles
  • Sandals, bare legs
  • Spike heels, pointed toes
  • Fat rubber wide soles
  • Long flowing hair was for little girls only
  • Perky Meg Ryan flips

 

And once our outfits passed inspection, we had to hide our cocktails from this guy!

Period correct in every way, all booze was confiscated by the coppers.

Period correct in every way, all booze was confiscated by the coppers.

Only old-timey cameras allowed.                  Oops.

Only old-timey cameras allowed.                  Oops.

An oil lamp bike light and vintage French bidons.

An oil lamp bike light and vintage French bidons.

Flappers cavorted scandalously in bathing costumes, but this dapper swain only had eyes for tender vittles.

Flappers cavorted scandalously in bathing costumes, but this dapper swain only had eyes for tender vittles.

Even I have to admit that those vintage cars look OK. I guess. If you like that sort of thing.

Even I have to admit that those vintage cars look OK. I guess. If you like that sort of thing.

Revelers at the Great Gatsby Party.

Revelers at the Great Gatsby Party.

The trifecta: bike, socks, and oxfords.

The trifecta: bike, socks, and oxfords.

Ice Cream Tricycle Party!

Ice Cream Tricycle Party!

The cutest chain ring ever.

The cutest chain ring ever.

A trio of vintage cyclists. Cycle Chic circa 1927.

A trio of vintage cyclists. Cycle Chic circa 1927.

Many thanks to my hosts Monica, Sam, Nat and Zoë. I had a wonderful time and can't wait until next year's picnic!

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