Example of something I've learned through blogging: several months ago I bought a lovely hat which a vendor had told me was from the early 1930s. I had seen similar hats in my 1930-31 books and magazines, so I felt it was a reasonably accurate dating. However, when I first had encountered the hat, it had been placed on a hat form with the low brim in front, making it look more like an eyebrow-hiding flapper chapeau. Still, trusting her judgment, I took it home and resolved to try it on with my various vintage dresses.
Now, the non-purists among us would say "who cares?" and the fearless "try-er-on-er" in me says, "Hm! Interesting! Never knew that! Oh well! Live and learn!" HOWEVER, after poring over the elaborate rules and regulations set forth by the hosts of the annual Gatsby Picnic on their website, I thought I would mention this story because, apparently, had I sallied forth in the above ensemble to such an event, wearing an early 30s hat on backwards (gasp!) and with a mid-30s dress (double gasp!), I would surely have been refused entry to the festivities. Possible textual proof, from the Art Deco Society of California's "How to Gatsby" fashion and accessories pages: "1931 Sears Roebuck Catalog - This illustration is a 1931 dress and what looks like a 20s hat. There was a brief transition between the flat figure of the 20s and the tailored 30s where you could wear a cloche (or cloche-ish) hat with the 30s silhouette. You may never wear a 30s hat with a 20s dress; the look didn't phase out that way." NEVER? Um, okay, fashion police. Sorry about that. Well, at least I didn't actually ever do a 30s hat with a 20s dress and in the case of my early 30s hat-mid 30s dress post, I could claim mild ignorance, but you get the idea. Some people are fussier than others about this kind of stuff. Personally, I have always found the 30s so fascinating and frustratingly difficult to mimick because rather drastic changes occur in almost each year of that decade. Anyway, I guess one of the morals of this story might be that if you are attending the Gatsby event, make sure to do your fashion homework or there MAY be fashion fusspots ready to accost you!! You think I'm kidding, don't you? :) One thing is for certain, you may find yourself being "classed" into one of the listed groups "beginner, intermediate, or Deco Diva," so if you want to be a "Deco Diva," be sure to check your ensemble before you Charleston your way out the door (disclaimer: I've never been to this event, so I am being cheeky here and going solely by the tone of the web info).
There you have it. For all my baronial aspirations, I fear this faux aristocrat still has MUCH MUCH more to learn about the sartorial rules of yesteryore! Hey, that's okay! Right? Below is a photo of the hat that I believe is now worn the right way forward and with a more appropriate type of dress. I say appropriate because the capelet-ed dress I had worn it with was not only from the mid-30s, but it was more of a sporty spectator style frock, better worn with a MID-30s swagger type hat, whereas this early 30s straw hat seems better suited for wear with a similarly summer-y EARLY 30s dress like the one below. Whew... now if I could just get better at taking indoor photos....and if I could figure out WHY the fonts keep changing in this post. GA!
Early 1930s brown straw hat: Christie's Antique Fair
Early 1930s sheer cotton dress: eBay
1960s Etienne Aigner shoes: etsy