'20s party: What to wear

Jazz Age clothing reflects the Art Deco emphasis on geometric lines, according to Cindi Ryland, owner of Retropolitan in Annapolis, who shared her tips for what to wear.

Women should look for dresses with pronounced dropped waists with no darts in the bust line.

When checking the condition of a 1920s dress, pay attention to the shoulders, which might show damage from years of storage on a hanger. This need not be a deal-breaker; sometimes repairs can be made.

No zippers for men or women; buttons, please.

Don't forget long strings of beads, which can be wrapped around the neck and then allowed to dangle. Dances of the time were "vigorous," and beads were meant to bounce against a woman's body.

No synthetic fabrics. Look for cotton, linen, and silk. Beading is a good thing, but ruffles are not. 

For men, bow ties are the best, but if a fellow opts for a four-in-hand (what we think of now as a traditional tie), it should be shorter than the modern-day equivalent.

As for shoes, spectators and wingtips look spiffy.

Drew Vanlandingham, an event planner in Ellicott City, advises setting up a vanity at your party and stocking it with red lipstick and vintage perfumes.

Vanlandingham has two final words for men: hair gel.

 - Barbara and Ken Beem


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