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Gatsby Summer Afternoon Picnic 2017

The annual “Gatsby Summer Afternoon” (casually known as the Gatsby Picnic) at the Dunsmuir House in Oakland, California, had another lovely event recently! I finally got a chance to wear my original 1930s cotton organza dress and had a great time socializing with an impeccably dressed and fun crowd.


Photo by John Carey Photographic Imagery

I love how this is a versatile dress! I can change up my look by wearing a different color slip (which is also vintage). My hat is a vintage one that I retrimmed. I am wearing the beautiful Lillian heels from Royal Vintage Shoes.IMG_4075

It was a hot and sunny day, and my sunglasses were definitely needed! (They are not quite right, but close enough for an Amazon find).IMG_4074

Kelsey is divine in 1930s ensemble she sewed using a Wearing History pattern.IMG_4016.JPG

Natalie is lovely in a vintage 1930s dress, the navy version of the Lillian, and a hat she crocheted herself!IMG_4020.JPG

Here we three are again with Jess and Abby.IMG_4082

The event was full of vintage cars, amid the backdrop of the wonderful Dunsmuir House mansion.IMG_4068.JPG

In years past we always had too much food and leftovers, so we scaled back the food. You can’t see from the photo, but I think we had more beverages (especially delightful cocktails!) instead of food.IMG_4047.JPG

As always, the table was organized by my friend Kim, shown here wearing a handmade dress and waiting patiently in line with David.IMG_3991.JPG

I made my boutonniere using some vintage flowers, floral tape, and silk taffeta that I cut into a ribbon.IMG_3980.JPG

I made the belt out of a broken half of a buckle, more vintage flowers, and some silk taffeta.IMG_3966

We had a great time!  Elizabeth high-fiving with the American Duchess ladies included!IMG_4072.JPG

Can you count the number of Lillians in this post? They were definitely the hot new shoe people were sporting at the picnic! I can’t wait until next year!IMG_3993.JPG


About freshfrippery

Blog @ Instagram @freshfrippery. I believe costuming is about helping others so I post tutorials when I can. I am happy to provide all patterns and tutorials for for free on my blog. It is absolutely optional, but if you would like to donate towards my domain registration and the data costs of hosting the many photos on my site, consider buying me a “coffee”: Thank you!

12 responses »

  1. Wonderful outfits and beautiful pictures. I now have a new favourite shoe website. 😉

  2. Pingback: Gatsby Summer afternoon Picnic 2017–Fresh Frippery: | By the Mighty Mumford

  3. Your ensemble was perfection! I was glad to have seen it (and you) in person. 🙂 I’m looking forward to next year’s Gatsby as well.

  4. That looks like so much fun–and how elegant everyone looks! When I lived in the Bay Area I was very familiar with the Dunsmuir mansion, through my (then!) costuming career. Totally cracks me up how many pair of A.D. shoes there–those gals should be so proud. Did Abby and Loren think it was funny as well? Is this a private affair, or can you buy tickets? Might be a good excuse to visit friends in Berkeley! : )

    • I think Abby and Lauren are used to seeing lots of their shoes at costume events! The Gatsby Summer Afternoon is open to the public and tickets are about $50. Here’s their website so you can watch it for ticket announcements next year.

      • Ooo, thanks! : )

      • Oh my gosh, I just looked at their site and I am totally in love with the idea of doing this next year!!! I’m going to hit up my girlfriend in Berkeley and see if she will be up for it. Their menu suggestions are fab and it would be the perfect opportunity to meld my costuming past with my Cooking career. May I contact you when I have fabric, for authenticity? SO excited!

        • Hi Sharon, I’d be happy to give you my personal opinion about whether I’ve seen something similar at the picnic and might “blend in” with the other participants but I really am no expert about that era! There’s a few historical costuming groups on Facebook that might be a good place to get feedback as well. I am a member of “1920s-1930s Costumers Support Group” on Facebook and it is a friendly group.

  5. I really loved your outfit! Did you attend this year as well? I think I may have seen you. I really love the Gatsby summer afternoon. It makes me feel like I’ve traveled back in time.

    • Hi Jen, I did go this year! I just haven’t gotten around to blogging about it yet, but I have some pictures on my Instagram. Thanks for sharing your cute outfits and charming video!


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