Fun and Easy – Make a 1920s Costume from Vintage & Thrift Store Finds

I'm ready for my close up, Mr Demille

We were recently invited to a Roaring Twenties Party which gave me the opportunity to come up with a 1920’s costume for my hubby and myself. I did not want to wear authentic vintage 20’s clothing, as they are much too fragile for a night of partying.

It’s really fun and easy to do using items you can find at your local thrifts or second hand stores. Accessories can be purchased at local party or costume stores or bought on line on ebay or other sites.

I’m gonna tell you how I made ours. So, here goes.


My costume started with a beaded dress from the 1980’s era found at a Goodwill. One of those “made in India” types that are so prolific in the thrifts now days. Fully beaded on sheer silk with a lining and with sheer 3/4 length sleeves. Here’s what it looked like before – basically a straight cut dress with scoop neckline and a feathered hemline.

I cut off the sleeves just below the seam and then took some of the cut off fabric and made about 2″ wide strips with were placed around the shoulder strap area and pulled the strap up in a ruched style. Made a slit up one side to above the knee “to show a little leg”. And that’s basically it. Then you just add accessories like long beads, a sparkling headband made from a piece of sequined braid available at any fabric or craft store. Pop a feather in the band – peacock feathers were a favorite of the era. Dangling earrings in a deco style found at a yard sale, black or fishnet hosiery and a long cigarette holder bought on ebay. Feather boa from my costume stash, but you can buy them online or in a costume shop.

Oh, a wig is great to, but not necessary if you can style your own hair. I used a blonde curly wig that I already owned.

So, here’s the after:


Sorry about the pink shiny face, but it was quite warm at the party.

I decided to do hubby’s costume in the “Gatsby” style instead of the standard gangster, because I knew it would be warm and a suit would be a little much. We started with a pair of light slacks with a thin pinstripe, by Liz Claiborne from a thrift store. These I turned up the hem at the legs and made a cuff. Buttons were added to the inside of the waist band to accommodate the button on suspenders.

Gatsby Style

on suspenders, which also were found at a thrift. The blue and white shirt with white collar and french cuffs was made by cutting the collar and cuffs off a white shirt and sewing them onto the blue stripe shirt. Both shirts, again, from a thrift. Hat was a cheap light weight summer panama that I removed the madras band from and added the black silk band. Finish off with a light color wide tie. This one a light silvery gray a thrift store find.

And what about shoes?

Both our shoes were modern shoes found at a thrift. Mine are a T-Strap with low heel. They were originally beige, but I spray painted them with that wonderful Meltonian brand shoe spray dye that I bought on ebay. Hubbys shoes were a pair of oxblood wing tips. Again, re-colored with vanilla and light brown shoe spray dye to make them into spectators. This is a bit tricky, as I had to tape off the white area first and spray on the brown. Then removed the tape, and hand painted the white area.

Well, that’s about it. We all had a grand time. Here are some of the other guests in their costumes. Enjoy!


"STAR" hostess and owner of the Starlite Lounge

"LUCKY" the host and owner of the Lucky Dog Speakeasy w/ Gatsby

The mysterious "MADAME DIVINEA" who gave Tarot card readings

"MISS SUMMER BREEZE" daughter of Star & Lucky


3 Responses

  1. What a great blog, love the ladies outfits and the guys arnt that bad either 🙂

  2. Great post! We always love to see the vintage finds.

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