If you could go back in time to the Roaring Twenties for one day, where would you go and how would you spend the day?
What an excellent question! I thought about this a lot while I was writing The Flappers series, so I’m glad I officially get to answer it now! I've often imagined how thrilling it would be to spend a day as Clara living her old flapper life in New York, before she moved to Chicago at the start of Vixen. The rush of the city in the 1920's—the lavish parties, glamorous fashion, and rebellious adventures—is sure to make for a fabulous and memorable experience. Even the legendary Jay Gatsby’s 12-bedroom mansion rested along Long Island’s Gold Coast, so I would absolutely have to take a trek out there. With all of the possibilities, why would I choose to spend the day any other place?
I’d start my day by getting my hands on some glad rags and beauty essentials on Fifth Avenue (nothing beats Chanel early in the morning!). I’d buy a glamorous day dress and a new gown for the evening's festivities (I’m a redhead like Gloria, so I may indulge in a deep green number to complement the fiery hue—and I’ve always been a sucker for peacock feathers). Then, to truly pull off my new look, I’d have to take the plunge and stop by a barber to get the infamous, short bob hairstyle that flappers are so known. After applying some coal and cherry red lipstick, I’d be the Real McCoy, and ready to meet up with new girlfriends for mimosas and brunch near Central Park.
Once all the plates have been emptied (and the waiters winked at), it would be time to see the sights! Although I am a proud and well-seasoned New Yorker, being a part of the City in the Roaring 20's would be an entirely new world in need of exploring. One stop I’d have to make would be the New Amsterdam Theater to see Ziegfeld's showgirl experience, Follies, in the flesh. The theatrical productions were known for their elaborate and awe inducing costumes and their larger than life stars such as Gilda Gray and Josephine Baker.
Once the sun went down, I'd truly embrace the flapper spirit. Who wouldn't take this once and lifetime opportunity to crash a ritzy Fitzgerald-esque party, show off one's spiffy get-up, and dance the night away? I'd most certainly have to kick off the night with a visit to a swank speakeasy—possibly The Back Room in the Lower East Side or Jack and Charlie’s 21 on 52nd Street, but definitely a classy joint—where I could scope out the pack for a worthy dance partner.
When it comes to dancing, I might have to pull a Lorraine and simply improvise the steps. However, if I picked it up quick, I love to learn the Charleston, the Black Bottom, and the Varsity Drag! I’d dance until my feet hurt before giving my lips a fresh coat and a blot or two, crowding into a cab with glamorous socialites, and charming my way into a hotsy-totsy, nouveau riche bash to munch on baby quiche and sway to the rhythm of the top-notch jazz band dressed head to toe in white on the far side of the ballroom.
Once even the most notorious flappers have called it a night, I’d take to the city’s streets one final time. After picking up a rich cup of coffee and a sticky pastry, I’d find a cozy bench to nestle on as I watched the sun peak over the New York skyline.
After 24 hours of imitating an authentic flapper, I know I’d be posilutely exhausted! I’d probably have to sleep for an entire day to catch up. The Clara's, Gloria's, and Lorraine's of the 1920's could go out on the town night after night with energy and ease, proud to be young women taking charge of their own lives. As for the flapper lifestyle, all I'd need would be a little taste—a chance to dance like Louise Brooks and dine like the Fitzgeralds. It would truly be a dream come true.
Don't forget to check out Jillian's Flappers series!