Now that we are heading into November it’s time to celebrate. In Melbourne we have the contrast of the autumn festival Halloween and the spring racing carnival. The Melbourne Cup is next Tuesday, straight after Halloween and lots of people like to dress in costume for both events.
We are not attending any racing or Halloween celebrations but a mutual friend is celebrating a major birthday at the end of November with a Gangster and Gangster’s Moll party theme. In the past we have made some elaborate fancy dress costumes for parties, but Ellie’s sewing machine is broken and needs mending. This will leave little time to do anything complicated so we will have to improvise.
Most of the female Gangster costumes available on line seem to be based on the 1920s flapper fashions, or on male gangster pin striped suits and felt hats. The well-made versions are quite expensive. As I am more of a fan of 1930s fashion I thought that it would fun to use Bonnie Parker as inspiration for a costume, because I already have suitable clothing in my wardrobe. The real Bonnie Parker favored dark colours, as opposed to Faye Dunaway’s pale clothes in the 60s movie. What I have put together could easily be used for a Halloween “witchy” outfit with a few adjustments. Ellie is still thinking about her costume but will wear something similar but with more colour.
I’m going for an overall 1930s look, not historical accuracy and will wear the following: a bias cut black skirt with uneven hemline; a black lace three quarter sleeve blouse; a long sleeve black cotton knit top; a black beret; black low heeled court shoes; a velvet bag originally found at the op shop; a vintage crystal necklace and a pair of Art Deco style black enamel and diamante earrings. It could be warm at the end of November so the outer top can be removed as necessary, although given recent Melbourne weather, summer is still several weeks away.
The buttons on the knitted top need replacing because these are too small and keep popping open. We have a collection of old buttons and have found some larger black cut glass ones that should do the trick and look more appropriate for the era. As you can see from the photos, I also have a wig. I might wear this but only if the weather is cold because I always end up taking it off when I become too hot. Otherwise I will go with curly hair.
I will try to imagine myself as a frequenter of a gangster run speakeasy during prohibition in the early 1930s. We have been asked to help with some group musical performances and can sing and play Bonnie and Clyde on the guitar, as well as All That Jazz. It should be a fun party and I’m sure there will be a lot of hilarity with plenty of potential for overacting our parts.
Don’t panic if it’s too late to order or make a costume for parties and celebrations. With some creative thinking you can use clothes that you already possess and come up with a suitable character for any occasion. If you are having problems there are plenty of last minute suggestions on the internet and below is a link to a website that has many helpful DIY costume ideas.