How to Throw a Great Gatsby Inspired Party

The 1920s, also known as the roaring ’20s, was an era of decadence and glee. Known for its iconic dances, outfits, and way of life, the people of the roaring ‘20s threw parties that are remembered to this day. With a bit of planning and preparation, anyone can throw a party as opulent as the Great Gatsby’s soirees out in the nouveau riche West Egg.

Throw a Party They’ll Remember

Whether it’s throwing an amazing welcoming party or having a good time with friends, nothing grabs people’s attention more than a themed party. While there are loads of ideas to choose from, like movie-themed parties or white parties, there is no doubt that everyone is a sucker for a glamourous 1920s themed party.

The Great Gatsby is a common source of inspiration for these types of parties. The story features an array of unique characters, from the mysterious and alluring Daisy Buchanan to the charismatic Jay Gatsby himself, upon whom you can take inspiration. From the descriptions of food, dress, and over-the-top characters, anyone can plan the right costume and activities for a memorable 1920’s party.

Dress Code

When people think of the 1920s, they tend to think of flappers, who wore dark makeup and short dresses that created a loose, square silhouette compared to the evening gowns of the previous era that often accentuated the waist. Born out of the Harlem Renaissance, icons like Josephine Baker and Esther Jones paved the way for fashion and art, transforming the way women everywhere dressed. While the goal of this silhouette came from a newfound sense of freedom for women, it wasn’t the only way women took on more androgynous fashion.

Marlene Dietrich, a famous German-American actress in the ‘20s, wore men’s suits to create a daring new style that hadn’t been seen at the time. The famous Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, also donned men’s suits from time to time. Needless to say, the lady in a suit is something of a showstopper for sure.

Meanwhile, men of the 1920s like Charlie Chaplin and Al Capone also played a role in fashion. With sporting suits, bowler hats, bow ties, and pocket squares, men were looking slick. The hair grease also helped.

To summarize: women should wear loose silhouettes, whether they are frocks or suits. Dark makeup was also typically worn so that it could show up on camera, a key "Hollywood" signature of the ‘20s aesthetic. As for men, they should wear suits, suspenders, bow ties, and hats. Hair grease is a must!


The ‘20s are known for their rambunctious parties, where people met in speakeasies. These were secret bars and venues where people could listen to loud jazz music, dance, and have a good time. Among the most popular 1920s dances was the Charleston, which is known for its hand crossing over the knees move. The Fox Trot and the Shimmy were also some popular dances.

People also went to speakeasies to enjoy other activities. Among the favored games was poker, which was played amongst flappers and wiseguys alike. It also makes a fun party activity to have for anyone who’s too shy to hit the dance floor and an icebreaker for guests who don’t know each other, because who doesn’t love a good poker face stare-down? For anyone unfamiliar with the rules of poker, the object of the game is to be the last one standing. It can be a good idea to print out the rules and a list of hand rankings at the table, so that those less familiar with these can still participate.

Besides card games and dancing, people in the 1920s also played games that are still enjoyed today. The only difference is that some of the names have changed. For example, “Think Fast” was their version of Pictionary. However, there were also party games invented during that time, like Exquisite Corpse, which was popularized by the Surrealists.


In the 1920s, people were infatuated with finger foods that are typical at parties today. Chilled foods were more en-vogue at the time, so they often served dishes such as shrimp cocktail and various salads. When it comes to drinks, mint juleps make a frequent appearance in the Great Gatsby, however high balls and champagne are also great options.

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