What with the imminent release of the much-vaunted Great Gatsby film, I can reliably forecast that 1920s inspired looks are going to be everywhere this winter. But the 1920s is one of the hardest fashion eras to pull off if you're anything but tall and willowy. It's that lowered waistline - for most women a horizontal line across the widest part of their body isn't exactly the most desirable look. So, what to do when you want to rock the 20s but it doesn't "fit" your body shape?
Choose your style carefully
If you feel a dropwaist flapper frock is just a step beyond but still want to work a 20s look, there are still styles from the era you can choose from. The "la garçonne" look in a tailored shirt and tie with glossy trousers or slim skirt can work on a variety of figure types. Beach or lounging pyjamas are both very 1920s and very forgiving. You could even opt for golfing tweeds!
La garçonne style of the 1920s (more photos from this collection)
Add a belt
Some garments can be worn belted to add waist definition where there would not otherwise be. Certain styles lend themselves better to belting than others - dropwaist frocks are probably a no, but feel free to get belty with sacque dresses or those long 20s cardigans and tunic sweaters.
Go for the details
If you admire the styles but are reluctant to stray into potentially unflattering territory, there are ways to incorporate elements into your ensembles. A modern bias-cut dress worn with a cloche hat or turban perfectly encapsulates twenties chic without having to resign oneself to a dropwaist sacque.
My mother channelled 1920s elegance for my sister's wedding, pairing a modern bias-cut dress with vintage pearls and a flapper style turban-tied scarf.
Gorgeous Margaret of Penny Dreadful Vintage at the Chap Olympiad in a jersey dropwaist dress with a fab Chinoiserie kimono and 1920s style shoes.
Embroidery patterns from the 20s can be used to embellish modern clothing.
Mitigate the circumstances
When you really just want to be a flapper for a day and hips be damned, careful planning can still minimise the unflattering aspects. Dresses in fabrics with a fluid drape (silk is the best) will flow over your curves rather than completely concealing them.
Note the figure-skimming bias seaming in the example on the right.
There were even styles back then which didn't completely obscure the waist - though the waist is de-accentuated, the gently shirred waistline detailing in this pattern adds figure definition.
If you can sew, it's possible to alter a pattern so that the waistline sits at the waist - though for a more authentic look, avoid making the top half too fitted. You can even create a dropwaist effect by adding a long peplum.
Wear it anyway!
If you love the dress, go ahead and wear it regardless of the "rules" - if you feel great and own the look, no-one will question it!
See also: 1960s with curves.