A Gatsby Summer Afternoon

On a warm, sunny day in September, Pat and I headed out to a picnic. But this picnic wasn’t just any old picnic; it was a step into the Gatsby-era world.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

The Art Deco Society of California (which I previously mentioned in a post about their Deco Ball) hosts a “Gatsby Summer Afternoon” every year at the end of the summer season, at the historic Dunsmuir Hellmann estate in Oakland. The dress code calls for 1920s and 1930s day attire for men and women, and period-appropriate accoutrements… right down to real glasses and porcelain, wicker baskets – and even a gramophone or two!

Pat decked out in menswear to evoke the deco era.

Pat decked out in menswear to evoke the deco era.

A working gramophone at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

A working gramophone at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

And in keeping with my usual style, I decided against the straight silhouettes of the 1920s in favor of the somewhat more body conscious style of the 1930s. But finding a proper ’30s day dress isn’t easy, so I bought a vintage pattern and sewed one up myself!

My 1930s dress pattern (photo taken when I was working on the muslin mock-up).

My 1930s dress pattern (photo taken when I was working on the muslin mock-up).

The end result: decked out in a 1930s day dress.

The end result: decked out in a 1930s day dress.

Prepping for this event was almost as fun as the event itself… but nothing quite beats dancing outside on a beautiful day!

Dancing at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

Dancing at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

For those of you in the Bay Area, I heartily recommend checking out the Art Deco Society! In addition to this event and their annual ball, they host walking tours of art deco buildings and publish information about related events put on by other organizations.

What I wore:
Dress: made by me from a vintage 1930s Simplicity pattern
Hat: ModCloth
Bracelet: vintage deco-era silver bracelet
Clutch: a gift from my husband

[Photos by me except where otherwise noted.]

Additional photos available on Flickr, here.

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Swanky and Swingin’ at the Art Deco Preservation Ball

Once a year, the Art Deco Society of California puts on a fabulous deco-era ball. Pat and I went last year and had a fantastic time, so we just had to go again!

Everyone dresses up in deco-era-style formal attire from the 1920s through early 1940s. Getting dressed for it last year was super easy because I already had a vintage gown from the late 1930s/early 1940s (pictured here), but this year I had to figure out what to wear. I started thinking about it early and created a Pinterest board for deco-era formal wear several months ago. Then I stayed on the look-out for a formal gown that would fit the theme – and finally found a gorgeous Mikael Aghal chartreuse silk gown at The Outnet. The bias cut and waterfall pleats at the waist were reminiscent of 1930s gowns, while the beading and embellishments evoked the 1920s.

Arriving at the Art Deco Preservation Ball in a Mikael Aghal gown and vintage stole. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

Arriving at the Art Deco Preservation Ball in a Mikael Aghal gown and vintage stole. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

But before we headed to the ball, Pat and I had dinner at Albona Ristorante Istriano, an absolutely delicious Istrian restaurant in North Beach.

Pat looking dapper in a tux at Albona Ristorante Istriano.

Pat looking dapper in a tux at Albona Ristorante Istriano.

In pin curls at Albona Ristorante Istriano. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

In pin curls at Albona Ristorante Istriano. Photo by Pat Zimmerman.

And then we headed to the ball, held at Bimbo’s 365 Club – a North Beach nightclub founded in the 1930s. In addition to having a marvelous time dancing, enjoying the live entertainment, and sipping classic cocktails, we ran into Susan & Eric Koger from ModCloth. Events are always more fun when you get to share them with awesome people!

Clockwise from top left: with the lovely Susan Koger (photo by Pat Zimmerman); Eric and Pat share a laugh; the Deco Belles; the crowd at Bimbo's 365 Club.

Clockwise from top left: with Susan (photo by Pat Zimmerman); Eric and Pat share a laugh; the Deco Belles; the crowd at Bimbo’s 365 Club.

With Pat in the lobby of Bimbo's 365 Club. Photo by one of the lovely ball attendees.

With Pat in the lobby of Bimbo’s 365 Club. Photo by one of the lovely ball attendees.

Clockwise from top left: Susan with other glamorous ladies in orange gowns - a photo-op to commemorate the Golden Gate Bridge; Pat looking... debonair? mischievous?; Vienna La Rouge performing burlesque; a bouquet of orchids.

Clockwise from top left: Susan with other glamorous ladies in orange gowns – a photo-op to commemorate the Golden Gate Bridge; Pat looking… debonair? mischievous?; Vienna La Rouge performing burlesque; a bouquet of orchids.

If you’re in the Bay Area and love the deco era, definitely check out the Art Deco Society! They put on a few events throughout the year, including a Gatsby-themed picnic in September (I went last year and plan to go again this year). And they also host walking tours of art deco buildings and publish information about related events put on by other organizations.

What I wore:
Dress: Mikael Aghal Embellished silk-satin gown via The Outnet
Stole: vintage 1950s silver mink stole via Eons Fashion Antique in Pittsburgh, PA
Bracelet: Victorian mourning bracelet
Ring: family heirloom
Wristlet: brass mesh bag from the late 1910s/early 1920s (my great grandmother’s; when she gave it to me she said it was just the perfect size for lipstick and telephone money – all one needed for going out!)

[Photos by me except where otherwise noted.]

Additional photos – and full-sized versions of the collage photos – available on Flickr, here. More will be uploaded in the next few days!

Facts

1. This post was inspired by Amy’s post.

Rocky, my Boston Terrier, crouches down next to his water dish.

2. Rocky is super smart. He also drinks tons of water. When I don’t refill his water bowl quickly enough, he turns it over and crouches pitifully beside it.

3. Sometimes, Rocky is too smart. He’s learned how to put down the window in the car.

Jasper, my poogle (poodle/beagle mix).

4. I have a poogle named Jasper. He’s an absolute sweetheart, but he doesn’t come to work with me because he gets anxious.

5. Both my dogs are rescues.

6. I swear there’s more to my life than dogs!

Polka dot manicure.

7. Like nails. Santina recently taught me how to do polka dots!

8. Board games are awesome. Particularly Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Scrabble. Also Bananagrams, even if it’s not really a board game.

9. You know what else is awesome? xkcd. Nothing better than nerdy comics!

10. Speaking of which, nerds are TOTALLY awesome.

Pin curls.

11. My hair is in pin curls as I type. See photo above. Tonight: off to the Art Deco Preservation Ball! [UPDATE: photos from the ball are here: Swanky and Swingin’ at the Art Deco Preservation Ball]

12. Taking a decent self-portrait in pin curls, without makeup, is damned near impossible. Thank goodness for Instagram filters! And that trick of pinching cheeks for a temporary blush (learned from reading 18th/19th century novels).

So, how about you?