I’m writing this column on a train to the Blue Mountains, where I am going to be attending a Roaring Twenties lunch to raise money for bushfire relief.
It is dress-up, obviously, which I loathe, so as I packed my overnight bag I texted my friend Charlotte Smith, who is also attending.
Charlotte owns one the largest collections of vintage clothing in the southern hemisphere, over 9000 pieces, many that were inherited from her godmother in America.
She always has something to wear. I however, do not have a dropped waist beaded flapper dress in my possession.
“ What am I going to wear?” I asked Charlotte. It’s not a great option when you’re a little more mature. I could end up looking like a worse-for-wear Tilly Devine, the notorious Darlinghurst madam.
“Just wear silk pyjamas and slippers and a feather in your hair.,” Charlotte texted back helpfully. Finally, some good news.
I had just the right things – a long black bias cut slip, and a beautiful jade green floral kimono robe from Queensland designer Chelsea de Luca. I went foraging in my wardrobe and discovered a long pearl and chain necklace by Chanel, ropes of chains actually, which was perfect.
Now I was excited. The idea of wearing a robe was heaven; I love pyjama dressing and think it’s awfully chic. But there are some tricks to it so that you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed.
Pyjamas worn as fashion need accessories, like a statement necklace, or ropes of pearls, and diamante earrings. Or a diamond bracelet, or stacks of Bakelite bangles.
They also look great with white ankle socks and platform sandals, very Hollywood a la Judy Garland with a martini. I already have a bob, so I grabbed some vintage diamante hair clips from the cupboard. Hair jewellery was huge in the 1920s, as were jewelled ribbons worn tied across the forehead.
Makeup! I called my son’s girlfriend, who just happened to be practising ’20s makeup in her tech class. She sent me a photo – red, red cupid’s bow mouth, powdered white skin, dark, heavily pencilled eyebrows, rounds of hot pink blush.
Women had emerged from the boredom of Victorian corsets and no makeup to the pure feminine drama of the jazz age flappers. Winning, because no amount of makeup is enough for me and if I end up looking like Clara Bow’s grandmother I am fine with that.
Back in the closet, I pulled out a small, vintage, bronze and black beaded evening purse that caught my eye at Rozelle Markets a couple of weeks ago.
Now shoes. This was going to be tricky. I do not have a low-heeled T-bar dance shoe in beige satin, although I would very much like to, thank you very much.
But I did have some Chinese slippers, which would do the trick.
I’ve now decided that maybe ’20s lingerie dressing is something I should be looking to do permanently, because I have all the pieces I need right now.
Better yet, I can also sleep in it.