Full disclosure, I help run FenCon. Our theme next year is "Jazzing Up 2020." The conchairs are calling it "Jazzpunk," which is a pretty good analogy.
Over the next few months, here and on Facebook, I'll be sharing some tips and resources on 1920's fashion. Of course, I'm working on an outfit that I hope will be totally awesome, and will be sharing out the build when I'm at a point where I'm fairly certain it's going to work. This one is a bit of a tech and creative stretch for me, and I'm anxious to see where I go with this!
At any rate, if you want to "punk" up the style and gadgets from any era, you need to first get a good handle on the style and gadgetry of that era. This is a rundown of a few television resources to get you started.
There are some really good television shows and films you can check out, in no particular order:
Downton Abbey, particularly the new film. Upstairs is the upper class fashion, and downstairs (out of uniform at least) gives some good examples of how the middle and lower classes dressed.
The Phryne Fisher Mysteries take place in 1929. The books are a treat, but the series excels at showing the high fashion of the time. The Hon. Miss Phryne Fisher, of course, is a fashion plate. But what about the rest of us? Dot is a good example of someone less ostentatious. She prefers autumn colors and dressing more plain, which makes anything dressy she does don really stand out!
Jeeves and Wooster - Ah, Bertie is one of my favorite characters. If you're looking for male fashion examples, it's hard to go wrong with this series. (And Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are icing on the cake!)
And I've saved one of the best for last: The Frankie Drake Mysteries
. This Canadian series comes from the same people behind The Murdoch Mysteries
(a must, if you're looking for Steampunk inspiration!). This is set in 1920's Toronto and centers around private investigator Frankie Drake and three other strong women. One thing I really like about this series is the diversity. Not just different ethnic backgrounds, but also people of different body types in leading roles. Like Phryne Fisher, Frankie is a military veteran and isn't afraid to wear non-traditional clothing. She also rides a motorcycle. Your starting point for this series is the CBC web site
. There are lots of videos, including a six-part web series that introduces the character. It also includes a couple of familiar "Murdoch" faces. You'll also find recipes for cocktails and "how to" videos for dances of the era.
One of the best things about that era in terms of women's fashion is that the drop-waist style looks good on a variety of body types. Women have ditched the corset and were using makeup. They were also free to dress in trousers for sports and other casual outings. What about the men? Things got a bit more casual for them as well. Not all suits were boring black, except in the still-staid business world. White suits were, well, suitable in the summer. This is the era when the tuxedo took hold. As in other eras, gentlemen need to watch lapel widths, ties, and trouser cut, but it's quite possible to put together a passable outfit out of modern clothing.
And yes, class was still a "thing," especially in England. As always, if you're putting together a character, be sure to create a plausible backstory to go with the outfit and gadgets. In America, Prohibition was the "thing." Even if you don't drink, your character might. How would they hide a flask? How could you disguise the water you keep for hydration in a 20's manner? Sorry, that Yeti cup isn't very period, even if it does keep your drink cold for a long time.
Women, hit the thrift stores! You'll likely find a lot of 20's inspired formal wear. In a pinch, wear a sheath dress and tie a belt or scarf around the hips. Instant 20's!
Anyway, I plan to share some resources over the next few months, so stay tuned!