Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Dressing-up Box: #1 The Roaring '20s

A dressing-up box

When finding your costume for a murder-mystery party, there a few issues with buying your outfit entirely from a fancy dress shop. Such 'fancy dress' is usually made of highly synthetic fabric and looks like it was designed to feature in a bad porno. Not really a good look, unless, of course, you want to get cast in a bad porno (not what this blog is about, in case you were wondering).

I recommend instead a dressing-up box, so you can gradually collect bits and pieces and then fit them together for each murder-mystery party. I say this so casually; of course, I don't have a box myself so much as a collection cotton bags under the bed. But when I grow up I hope to have a massive oak trunk to keep my costumes in... and a big house by the sea, french doors leading onto a rambling garden, shabby velvet armchairs etc. (None of the latter are looking terribly likely but I live in hope that the box, at least, will be mine.)

This week I seem to want 1920s-style things, and I've found them all over the place (the 1920s, apparently, are having a second wind) but mostly on my nemesis Asos (vortex of wasted time and money) and Etsy (much better as it supports small, independent sellers).

If you decide to do a '20s murder mystery, think decadence and glamour. Also think drinking too much and at least one guest accidentally incinerating your curtains with a cigarette in a long holder. Good times will be had by all.

Below are the main characteristics of 1920s fashion.

1920s fashion

* Drop-waisted dresses, just-below-the-knee in length. (If that looks as bad on you as it does on me, you can skirt around this issue - excuse the pun - by getting something with '20s fringing, sequins or feathers but of a shorter length.)

* Close-fitting hats or sequined caps or turbans. (Headbands, although popularly associated with the 1920s, in fact had their heyday in the early 1900s, and are more associated with art nouveau than deco.)

* Shoes with a smallish heel and gently rounded point, and often T-bar or with an ankle strap.

* Pearls, art deco jewellery.

* Lots of exotic beading, feathers and fur

* Clothes and jewellery inspired by ancient Egypt. (Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered in 1922 and piqued public interest.)

Some great 1920s-style bits and pieces around at the moment (January 2012): Sass and Bide ‘Winding Road’ feather and Battenburg dress, SOS; Detail of beautiful beading, vintage 1920s bag, Etsy; 1920s replica ‘Ritz’ shoe; Revival Retro; Faux fox fur stole, Wrap Me In Couture, Etsy; Black metallic turban, ASOS
1920s-themed murder-mystery games

A First Class Murder, Paul Lamond Games
Murder at the Four Deuces, Dinner and a Murder
The Chicago Caper, How to Host a Murder
Pyramids of Giza, Paul Lamond Games

I hope you enjoy being a flapper for the night, if you need a few tips on hosting a 1920s dinner party, click here. And if you want to check out my fun downloadable murder mystery dinner party games, click here.

Jessica xxx


  1. Wonderful post, especially like the linking of '20s fashion to what is available today. Excellent!

  2. Hi there, thanks for mentioning My Deadly Valentine in your list of 20s murder mystery dinner party games. We've put a link on our site to your blog so our customers can pick up tips and suggestions for their games.

  3. Excellent post...!!! This is one the best game to get a rid out from boring, silent family dinner parties. I love murder mystery dinner party, it is very existing and enjoying.


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