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Make Your Gatsby Party Great

Channel your inner Zelda when you throw a twenties-themed bash to end all bashes.  Make it a genteel picnic or a barely-contained swankfest, but before you start anything, spend some time getting inspired by pressing play on Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a madcap visual feast that will have you rolling up your skirt and rolling down your nylons in no time.

Easy 1920s Decor

An elegant day or evening party a la Gatsby won’t need too much in the way of decor.  Just head outdoors, and bring the inside with you: create seating areas with your real furniture and rugs (classic styles in wood are best), or if your furnishings are too mod, throw down pillows and go for an exotic eastern feel – very popular at the time.  Also light candles (tapers, not tea lights) and string party lights, the more the better.  Place palm-like plants and silver accents strategically to fill in gaps.

Deco Delicacies

As with any theme party, a Gatsby-inspired fete needs appropriate food.  Take a minute to google what was popular at the time – classic, upscale beef and seafood appetizers and of course plenty of champagne, the latter flowing not into modern flutes but into the stemmed bowls that were favored at the time.  For serveware, load this party up with silver, if you have it.  If you don’t, buy some of that fake, plastic stuff from the party store.

Jazz Age Jingles

The key here is to get specific; you’ll want songs from the twenties, not big band favorites. Choose melodies with warbley vocals along with some instrumentals, many of which can be found on compilations like the Ken Burns Jazz set or from old movie soundtracks. And none of this “remastered” nonsense, either – the scratchier and tinnier, the better. Consider cranking the treble on your player to enhance the effect.

Fashions from the Roaring Twenties

Guests of your Gatsby party will play a fantastic role in transporting you all to another time and place. The time of day and mood of the party will determine the exact directions attire takes. Organza dresses and linen suits (or approximates) are nice for an afternoon affair, while an evening soiree may call for all-out costume rentals.  As always, make sure you let them know what not to wear as well as what will help bring the fantasy to life; steer revelers away from the mob-inspired threads of later years. Instead, encourage them to check out illustrations by Tom Tierney, whose super-detailed paper dolls might even make a cool enclosure in your party invitation.

Photo: glastonburyus.org

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