Wearing the 'high life' of the 1920s

Days of The Great Gatsby celebrated

Seattleites tired of casual Northwest ware can trade out khakis and T-shirts for sleek silhouette dresses or tailcoats and cummerbunds of the '20s, '30s and early '40s at the upcoming "Great Gatsby and Friends" event.

"Great Gatsby and Friends," organized by the group Somewhere in Time Unlimited (SITU), offers a chance to step into a different decade with costuming, antique cars and of-the-time entertainment.

"There are hardly any events, social or otherwise, in Seattle where people have to where any particular type of clothes. This is an opportunity for people to express their individuality and be artistic, in a way they don't get to in their regular lives," said Magnolia resident Kimberly Brangwin, president of SITU.

From long gowns to fancy hats, the event allows for an "extravagance" not usually accessed in day-to-day life Brangwin notes. Since 1979 SITU has transported folks into times' past, with events like "Titanic-The Survivors Ball" earlier this year and "An Afternoon in Bath" in 2007.

The theme for SITU's summer event, "Great Gatsby and Friends" on Aug. 16, was partly chosen for the accessibility of the era, Brangwin explained.

"It's an era people are more familiar with because they have it in the movies, and it's also a fairly easy era to put a costume together for," Brangwin said. "I also think many people are familiar with the story so that sense of living the high life that's expressed in the novel is something fun for people to relate to."

The "high life" at this event includes antique cars of the '20s and '30s brought in from the Horseless Carriage Club and Northwest Speedsters. Participants will spend the day picnicking at Volunteer Park, where they'll be encouraged to play games of the era, like backgammon and croquet.

Despite the costumes though, the event doesn't involve acting in character necessarily.

"There is a desire for some people to get out of their regular every day lifestyle and do something a little different so there's that appeal for some people, but it's not role playing; it's really just an opportunity to dress up," Brangwin said.

SITU is not the first group to host costume parties, Brangwin noted. "People have had costume events for centuries. The desire to dress up in a different manner than you wear every day is a frequent human desire, so this is just an opportunity we create for ourselves."

"Great Gatsby and Friends" costs $10 for SITU members and $12 for non-members. A trip to the early 20th century is from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 16, at Volunteer Park.

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