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It is very rare when a movie is made so stylishly that it compels you to take certain aspects from it seriously. When you do so, it’s probably because you loved what you saw, which is the whole point of making a movie in the first place.
There is, however, a thin line between the real and the reel. Sometimes, that line starts to blur when what you see on screen is so impressive that you want to bring elements from it into the reality.
The movie ‘The Great Gatsby’ is one such movie wherein the protagonist Jay Gatsby, a young millionaire, leaves a lasting impression on the audience. Women love him for his mysterious charm, while the men love his regal style and demeanor.
As challenging as imitating art is, it isn’t impossible. With a little effort and attention to detail, men looking to emulate the great Gatsby style of the 1920’s and intertwine it with modern-day fashion can do so easily and come out with flying colors.
In case you’re wondering how, read on for tips on how you can achieve this objective.
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Suits were an important part of the 1920’s style. They continue to remain one of the biggest fashion must-haves even today, albeit with a few modern twists to them. However, old is gold and I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought that the Gatsby clothes looked cool even today.
Consider a medium-brown, light-blue or grey suit in linen for wearing in the summer. These colors were extremely popular and have been worn extensively in the movie. Suits made of wool were worn in the winter.
You can choose between suits with peak lapels (wherein the bottom lapel is larger and pointed upwards) as well as notch lapels (a V-shaped cut between the collar and the lapel at the point where they join) as both the styles were widespread in the 20’s.
Back then, suits were tailored to size and worn with élan, unlike the readymade suits that most men buy today. You can consider doing so too. If you’re buying a ready-to-wear suit though, ensure that you find one that fits well and isn’t baggy.
A matching suit vest and pants were the style staples of Jay Gatsby’s costume. Suits were typically sold as three matching pieces, and if you want to rock the Gatsby style, you need to get this aspect right. Your vest can be single or double breasted with 6 buttons in the front.
Even if you do not have a matching vest, you could wear one in the same color family. Further, if you do not like wearing suit-jackets, you can go for a vest in any solid color, plaid, checks, or windowpane patterns on it.
Middle-class men could not afford the luxury of wearing a matching suit in those days. Jay Gatsby was wealthy and he showed it through his well-thought-out and coordinated clothes.
The 1920’s style meant that the suit pants would have flat fronts or single pleats. So it best you stay away from pleated pants. Another major feature included cuffed hems at the ankle, with the pants being held up by suspenders. Belts were slowly making their way in, but button-on suspenders were preferred.
In the mid-20’s the pant legs width grew increasingly wide. Those pants are obsolete today, with one of the primary challenges being the height of the waist band, which went as high as the rib cage. Modern pants sit low on the hip.
When emulating the 20’s look, try and buy a classic-fit, golf or formal pant as it tends to fit higher up. You could also buy a pant that is one size bigger and hold it up with button-on suspenders.
Do match the color of the pant with that of the jacket. If you’re unable to do so, wear a pant that’s one shade lighter than the jacket. In case you don’t plan to wear a jacket, wear it in one shade darker than your vest.
Working the Shirts
A dress shirt with French cuffs is a must-have for achieving Gatsby’s look. Pointed collars and round club collars were the two main options in that era.
You can also consider wearing a shirt in solid colors in white, pink, blue, yellow and green with a matching collar. Vertical stripes and checks were worn widely during summers.
Step in Style
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Give your everyday brown/black shoes a break and slip into two-toned brogues which scream vintage. Your Gatsby look would be incomplete without them. Jazz your feet up with shoes that became extremely popular with men in the 1920’s. You’ll see the movie’s characters sporting these kicks throughout the movie.
Whether you choose brown-and-white or grey-and-white wingtip shoes, make sure you coordinate the colors with your suit. And if you’re looking for something even more classic, try the cap-toe, lace-up oxford in medium orange and brown, or the fancy wingtip brogue in dark brown.
Hat’s the Way You’ll Like It
Wearing hats was common in the 1920’s. The reason why they haven’t been used prominently in the movie is probably because they hide the actor’s face, making it difficult to capture their expressions. Do make them a part of your personal Gatsby collection though. Gatsby wore a white newsboy cap in the 1974 movie.
Your hat should be in tandem with your suit like the fedora in light straw for summers, and the fur felt for winters. The classic bower or the derby hat was also very common in the 1920’s.
Ties that Bind
In the 1920’s, men wore neckties with wide diagonal stripes, polka dots, deco patterns, and paisley prints.
The bow tie was also commonly worn in the same colors and prints as the necktie along with a matching pocket square.
Whether you incorporate all of the Gatsby elements into your style or just a few of them, you’re sure stand out if you get it right. Pulling off a particular look from a movie involves understanding the intricacies of fashion from the era depicted in it. I hope the above tips will help you get a good idea of what fashion for men meant in the 1920’s. They should also help you put together Jay Gatsby’s vintage-yet-chic look without too much hassle.