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.
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.
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.
- 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
- Evening wear, beaded gowns
- The "Untouchables" look -- fringed poly shift & feather boa
- 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!
Many thanks to my hosts Monica, Sam, Nat and Zoë. I had a wonderful time and can't wait until next year's picnic!