Congratulations! You're going to the Gatsby! Dress requirement? Yes, dress requirement. The Gatsby Summer Afternoon is a time travel event and everyone needs to participate for it to work. Fortunately for a man this is comparatively easy. No one is asking you to find seamed stockings.
Every man should have at least one dark suit. If you don't, go buy one. Not for Gatsby, but for life - weddings and funerals happen to everyone so you might as well be prepared.
Menswear from the 1930s
Let's start with the pants of your dark suit. Dress pants tend to be fuller than casual pants so this is where we begin. Check for any other pants you may posses that might be as full or dressy. If you have anything full with both pleats and cuffs we have a winner. Because this is warm weather dressing the lighter color the pant the better. A glen plaid or window pane (see image lower left)? Even better!
Now you have pants. How about a matching coat? Perhaps a coat that coordinates? A navy blazer works with nearly anything save charcoal gray and dark brown.
No coat? Try a vest. A vest can match the pants or contrast, but no near misses, meaning do not try to put dark and dark together. Dark goes with medium or light. Medium goes with light and dark. Light goes with medium and dark. Classic combos: navy and tan, brown and camel, charcoal and light gray, charcoal and darn near anything (except, as mentioned, navy and dark brown). If you haven't got a suit vest, try a sweater vest in plain or argyle.
Dress shirt: long sleeve white cotton is classic and correct. If you have softer colors, like that pink shirt some lady in your life gave you but you haven't worn yet? Perfection. French cuffs are fantastic if you've got cufflinks as well.
Tie. Gentlemen do not go without so wear one. Try a rep stripe. Nearly every man has one. Foulards, polka dots, paisleys are all great as well. Bow ties are brilliant. If you posses one, but can't remember how to tie it, don't fret. Someone at the picnic will be happy to help you.
Braces (suspenders to you firefighters). If you are wearing a vest you do not need these charming accessories as no one will see them. Keep in mind they will help your trousers drape better. If you are trying to get by with a pair of nice khakis, a white shirt, and a tie, braces can be had for not too much and gives a basic outfit a little vintage flair.
Shoes. Leather classics: wingtip, loafers, oxfords. If you have a pair of anything that looks like something in the image on the left wear it. The image lists men's shoes from formal to casual top to bottom respectively.
Hats, like ties, are a must. Check out the men's overview for styles.
Be sure to dig around for any of the following to add some flair: cufflinks, tie pin, collar pin, lapel pin, boutonniere, braces, round eyeglasses, walking stick, ascot, scarf, vintage automobile, vintage portable bar, knickers, plus-fours, megaphone, flask . . .
Now tidy up your grooming. Men of the 20s and 30s were clean and well groomed. Pomade was popular. Pomade is basically petroleum jelly used to slick up the hair. No fancy-boy blowed dried nonsense for the vintage man.
Observe, Cary Grant, slicked hair, pinned collar, boutonniere, glen plaid suit. Best not try the knit tie, it's an advanced look (and not a favored one).
From LULU'S BACK IN TOWN
Where's that careless chambermaid?
Where'd she put my razor blade?
She mislaid it, I'm afraid,
It's gotta be foun'!
Ask her when she cleaned my room
What she did with my perfume;
I just can't lose it,
I've gotta use it,
'Cause Lulu's back in town.
Gotta get my old tuxedo pressed,
Gotta sew a button on my vest,
'Cause tonight I've gotta look my best,
Lulu's back in town.
Gotta get a half a buck somewhere,
Gotta shine my shoes and slick my hair,
Gotta get myself a boutonniere,
Lulu's back in town.
Ad from the 1920 UC Berkeley Yearbook
The look in the image above (and other images of the time) are of a period in the very early 20s when the pants were narrow and rather short, paired with a slightly long jacket. The "long and short" suit didn't stand the test of time.
The Fashion Salon Team is and has been: Kimberly Manning Aker, Sara Klotz de Aguilar, Karen Geer, Alice Jurow, Derek Kerr, Cherie Oliver and Maria Rivero care to join us?