SMART SPENDING

Pepper your wardrobe with 'Gatsby' glitz for less

2013-05-25T00:00:00Z Pepper your wardrobe with 'Gatsby' glitz for lessThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Baz Luhrmann's big screen adaption of "The Great Gatsby" is shining a spotlight on Roaring Twenties glam fashions, from drop-waist dresses and headscarves to crisp bow ties and spectator shoes. But you don't need a wallet the size of Jay Gatsby's to get the look.

There are plenty of choices if you want to dress head-to-toe or just spice up your wardrobe with a few accent pieces like a retro print headscarf.

Several big-name brands that made costumes or accessories for the Warner Bros. film, such as Brooks Brothers and Fogal, are offering some interpretations for sale to shoppers. But to replicate the style of Gatsby or Daisy Buchanan, just mix and match, using items from a variety of stores like H&M and online marketplace eBay.

"Watch the movie, and then pick out items that evoke the era," said Amanda Hallay, professor of costume history at LIM College, a fashion business college based in Manhattan. "Don't be shy to get them secondhand."

Hallay cautions however, to avoid buying overly beaded dresses that look like you're wearing a costume if you plan to keep them for a while.

Some men may not want to buy the pale pink three-piece suit - the kind that Leonard DiCaprio wore for one scene in his role as Gatsby - but they could still find a pink vest, pants or jacket to evoke the era, fashion experts say.

Here are four strategies to get the look without feeling like you came off a Hollywood movie set.

MOVIE'S FASHION PARTNERS

Brooks Brothers made more than 500 men's costumes for the movie, and from those inspirations, created 50 styles to sell to shoppers.

They're not cheap: Prices range from $60 bow ties to $996 for a suit. Fogal, which also created hosiery for the movie, offers for sale several styles. The collection goes from $40 for knee highs to $125 for lacey stockings.

The advantage? They're designed to look good together. "There isn't a single item that looks out of place," said Arthur Wayne, a spokesman at Brooks Brothers. "They are really classic, iconic pieces for us. It was really important they didn't look like costumes."

And you don't have to buy a whole wardrobe worth. The company is selling suits as separates so rather than spending as much as $1,000 for the whole suit, men can buy just the pants or the jacket to get the look

MIX AND MATCH

You can pull together plenty of fashions and accessories that reflect 1920s glamour by just searching the racks of less-expensive clothing stores. Half the fun can be in the treasure hunt.

For example, plenty of fashion stores offer such looks as drop-waist dresses and headscarves, Hallay says.

Looking for a strand of faux pearls? Shop at low-priced jewelry chains or discounters. Women can turn to moderate-price shoe stores to get T-strapped shoes with small heels.

SEARCH ONLINE

Search the Web for such terms as "retro print scarves" or "Great Gatsby fashion."

Some online retailers like Evesaddiction.com do the work for you. Evesaddiction.com pulled together 60 different accessories styles like feather brooches that it's marketing as "Great Gatsby" looks.

The items start at $26 for a faux pearl necklace for women; for men, the items start at $29 for stainless steel cufflinks.

You should also turn to eBay, which has seen the number of searches for terms relating to Gatsby more than double since 2011. The average selling price for a flapper dress is $56, while the average selling price for "art deco" jewelry is $91. Shoppers can get "spectator" shoes for $63.

SECONDHAND STORES

Your local secondhand or consignment shop can be a treasure trove.

Clothes actually made in the era will cost you. Hallay says a basic dress in good condition that's not made by a designer would be at least $200.

In fact, she recommends staying away from the real thing since it will look too much like an historical costume and go for secondhand clothes made in later years, from the 1940s and up.

"Unless you are a collector of vintage clothing, secondhand is the way to go," Hallay said. She noted that 1920s fashions have received nods in the fashion world ever since.

Not sure where to go? Go to www.thethriftshopper.com, which offers a directory of secondhand stores.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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