Feb 28, 2018

Those frivolous flappers — Kandy Shepherd

This past weekend, I stepped back in time to the 1920s to a Roaring 20s Festival and had the most fun I’ve had in ages. Along with a group of friends, we dressed up in 20s inspired outfits, listened to live jazz, watched a parade of exquisite vintage clothing from a private collection and even tried a few steps of the Charleston.

With author friend Cathleen Ross (left)

The  “long lunch” was held at the glorious Hydro Majestic Hotel in Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. The Hydro opened in 1904 as Australia’s first health retreat but many of the current buildings were built later in the Art Deco style when it became known as a party hotel for the well heeled.

We knew we were in the right place when we saw the car!

The Hydro has had its ups and downs over the years, but was recently magnificently restored and has become an entertainment hub for residents of the mountains and visitors from Sydney—about an hour and half drive or rail ride away—and beyond. The hotel is sited on an escarpment with breathtaking views to the Megalong Valley below and the surrounding mountains. The Hydro is known for its restaurants too. The lunch was fabulous, showcasing food from the Blue Mountains region.

Blue Mountain cheeses

Afterwards, I found myself wondering why I enjoyed myself so much and realised it was because I whole-heartedly joined in the fun. Usually when it comes to a themed party, I don’t bother getting dressed up in costume. Too old, too heavy, too past that kind of thing I mutter.

Elegant vintage outfit from the 1920s

This time I ordered online a glittery flapper style dress from a company that was advertising on social media. It came in plenty of time for the event but a size smaller than I had ordered. With the aid of some industrial strength control underwear I managed to squeeze into it! My friend, author Cathleen Ross (Harlequin Escape; Entangled) organised our table for the 20s event—thank you Cathleen. Without realising it, we ordered the same dresses, she in silver me in gold which made it all the more fun.

The same dress - one in silver and the other in gold!

All our party dressed up and so did nearly every other guest at the lunch—several hundred by our count. Everyone made the effort and I was so glad I had too, even though at first I felt a tad self-conscious in a squeezed-like-a-sausage into a too-small dress kind of way. I even sashayed down the catwalk when all guests who had dressed up were invited to parade.

I won a door prize of local jams

Everyone laughed and admired each other’s fabulous costumes and chatted to strangers about where they got their headdress or their suit or their ropes of fake pearls. The men were dressed with as much aplomb as the women and totally entered into the spirit of the event. The experience wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t overcome my inhibitions and dressed up. The only down side was the most unflattering headband I wore that kept sliding down over my forehead with a wayward pearl button dangling into my eye. No wonder they went out of fashion!

Do you throw yourself into the spirit of  costume party or prefer to fade into the scenery like I usually do? What’s the most memorable costume you’ve ever dressed up in? What’s the most fun dress up party you’ve been to?  Any dress up disasters to share? I’d love to see your comments!


  1. I've never participated in a costume party. I do, however, enjoy dressing up for Halloween. One year I took large green garbage bags, taped decorations to it, and wore it to my mom's place half an hour away. I was a Christmas Tree. My brother was hosting his own party nearby (to which I was not invited, I might add), came to my mom's, saw the costume, and requested that HE wear it back to his own party. He returned to his home and stood in the corner of the living room, never saying a word. People wondered if it was him, but his wife said it couldn't be, as he didn't own a pair of green (knee-high) socks like that! Too funny.

    1. That's hilarious, Laney! What a great idea for a Halloween costume - I might pinch it myself some time now that I've decided to enter more into the spirit of dressing up. That image of your brother standing in the corner of his living room pretending to be a tree (in your costume!) made me laugh.

  2. Hi Kandy

    You look gorgeous and that smile on you face shows how much fun you had (Cathleen looks fab as well) and fancy ordering the same dress two great minds think alike :)

    I am not one for dressing up although at work years a go we had a 70's Christmas party and that I did seeing as that was my best years and it was fun. We are cruising in a couple of weeks and they always have great themed nights Gatsby White Night Back to School and a formal night depends on how long you are cruising as to how many themed nights there are in the past I have really enjoyed the Islands nights.

    Have Fun


    1. Thank you for those kind words, Helen. A cruise has good opportunities for dressing up, doesn't it. Your island theme sounds fun.I've only ever been on a cruise once. I dressed as a black cat. Now that I recall, when I was young and very slim I usually went to costume parties as a cat! Enjoy every minute of your cruise.