The Great Gatsby Party

It happened.  On Saturday, December 1, 2012, we partied like it was 1929!  These are the pictures from The Great Gatsby Party, hosted by Drink Eat Play in Los Angeles.  My party pals are Kristen & Kristen and I think if we had shown up at Jay Gatsby’s mansion, even Daisy Buchanan might have envied our decadent frocks.  As one of the lovely Kristens stated most wisely, “We need to dress up more than five times a year.”  I second that!

Great Gatsby Party photo booth

The queens of the speakeasy.


Unless otherwise captioned or clearly a photo booth picture, all of the photos in which I appear were taken by Kristen Suszek — check her out at Neurotic Tendencies.  We did all of these photos with our iPhones and a healthy dose of Instagram… Ah!  I’m glad we have mobile technology in 2012 and they probably wished they had in the ’20s.  Thank you, K!

I wore my Great Gatsby Dress with sequins and satin from JoAnn Fabrics and accessorized it with a faux fur coat by Coldwater Creek, red suede Mary Jane heels from ShoeDazzle, pearl rope necklaces from the local party store, real pearl earrings from my own jewelry collection, and a peacock feather in my hair.

The Gatsby Party dress made by School of Moxie

The Great Gatsby party dress by School of Moxie

Speaking of my hair, I had it done professionally by the only person I have ever truly trusted with my hair.  Vanessa of Styles by Vanessa created this look based off some pictures I found and I think we achieved the perfect 1920s look!  I fashioned a headband out of some scrap satin lining fabric and Vanessa secured the peacock feather in the asymmetrical curly chignon.


Hair by Styles by Vanessa

Hair by Styles by Vanessa

There were mobs of people, just as you would read about in The Great Gatsby novel.  The Kristens and I navigated our way around through the VIP lounge, where we enjoyed open bar pours from multiple liquor brands and finished off the evening with complimentary cigars.  I think I connected with Mae West on a spiritual level when we got to the cigars.

Ladies of Prohibition


Gatsby Party speakeasy

New Amsterdam bartenders

Photobooth at The Great Gatsby Party

New Amsterdam shave lounge

VIP lounge shoe shine chair

I am so glad that I wrestled with those sequins!  My dress was unique and unfortunately for many ladies, they found themselves wearing the same frock as others, having purchased their dresses from the same vintage-look retailers.   The best surprise of the evening came when one of my newest readers noticed me and we had a lovely, albeit short, conversation and I am now shooting myself in the foot for not taking a picture together.  So, when she reads this, I’d just like to say a huge THANK YOU because you made me feel like a rock star!

The Great Gatsby Party and School of Moxie

Channeling Mae West with Kristen

Channeling Mae West with Kristen

I think we, as a society, really need to make more effort to dress up like the days of old.  The men looked fantastic (I’m such a sucker for a man in a good suit) and you know what else, they were total gentlemen.  The women were elegant ladies with just the right amount of party kick!  There was still plenty of debauchery and loose flowing liquor, but there was also a noticeable decorum that took over the event and it was so refreshing.  So this is me, the girl who sews retro clothing, saying that the next time you wonder if you should take a little extra time to dress up a little more… this is me saying YES, you most definitely should!  Invest in that suit and own fewer pairs of ratty jeans.  Get your dress impeccably tailored and own a smaller number of really great dresses instead of a closet full of cheap ones.  You’d be surprised how much the world smiles on you and you smile on it when you look and feel like a million bucks.

School of Moxie arriving at The Gatsby Party

Photo bomb at The Gatsby Party!

Photo bomb!

After the party, Kristen S. and I went to the historic Roosevelt Hotel for some food.  (I did not go to bed until 5am, in case you’re calculating time.)  People stopped us to compliment our looks and in the middle of Hollyweird, I daresay we brought some class to the neighborhood!  Kristen snapped this picture of me next to the Christmas wreath and I think it’s a great segue into the Holiday Season.

Happy Holidays from School of Moxie!

Kick up your heels!  2012 is going out with style!

All smiles at The Great Gatsby Party!

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  • "E" - How fun!! You look amazing!! So happy for you!! xoxoxoxoReplyCancel

  • Emily - You look fabulous and I love your musings about the party the impact more tailored clothes have on people’s behavior! XxReplyCancel

    • Mary Ann Williams - Thanks, Emily!! We missed you so much on Saturday. Did you see? They are already planning another Gatsby Party for August. We should try to go again… 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - SUCH a fun night!!!ReplyCancel

  • Tessa - You look amazing!!! And your hair is so perfect. I love it all.

    P.S. I thought of you yesterday when I say a lightening deal on Amazon for a Singer that does computerized stitches on sale for only $250. Which is my christmas present. I will tell you ALL about it when I try it out 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Madelyn - All three of you ladies look fantastic! You should tell the Kristens that until this post, I actually thought they were 1920s event models that just sat in the photo with you! I would love love LOVE to come out for a reprise if they do one in August 🙂 I’m sure it wouldn’t take much convincing to get A+ on board 🙂

    P.S. My fave photo is the photo bomb… your cocked eyebrow is PRICELESS!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah B - so cool!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Daisy - Hi Mary! I’m the reader who saw you in line at the photobooth and told you I had been following the progress of your dress on your blog! It turned out so great and you looked lovely. It was so surreal to see it in person after having read about it. And I agree, we should have taken a picture together :).ReplyCancel

    • Mary Ann Williams - Hi Daisy! Oh, my goodness, you have made my week! Hopefully I will see you sometime again in the not-too-distant future. If you go to 80s Prom I will see you there in a bubble skirt. Cheers! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Wow, you look fantastic—great job on the dress! I’m always interested in things Gatsby, but it was actually your hair that brought me to your blog.. it is incredible. My long hair gives me trouble with ’20s and ’30s style, so I hope you don’t mind if I’m a copycat.. 😉ReplyCancel

    • Mary Ann Williams - Thanks, Sarah! I owe my amazing hair to my seriously talented hair stylist. I would love to see your pictures whenever you try the style yourself! Cheers to you, ~mawReplyCancel

  • Monthly Food Issue: December 2012 : School of Moxie - […] end of the year certainly didn’t disappoint!   From the Great Gatsby Party at the top of the month to Christmas with family at the bottom of the month, there was a lot of […]ReplyCancel

  • ’80s Prom Preview : School of Moxie - […] February 2, I’m headed to another Drink, Eat, Play party.  We’re leaving the ’20s behind (sorry, Jay Gatsby!) and fast forwarding to the era of Aqua Net, fingerless gloves, and […]ReplyCancel

  • First Fridays, Part Deux : School of Moxie - […] was joined by The Kristens after the lecture (sadly, the room reached capacity when they arrived and weren’t allowed in) […]ReplyCancel

  • Change is good : School of Moxie - […] this seamstress cut off all her tresses.  So. Much. Better!!  I also had a lot of questions after The Great Gatsby Party because so many people liked my hair, so it’s a bit overdue to introduce you all to my […]ReplyCancel

  • #100 : School of Moxie - […] bless Mother Nature!), but also because my personal schedule has calmed down a bit.  There was the Gatsby Party and then the Holidays and then 80s Prom…  and in between all of that, there was a […]ReplyCancel

  • Part Deux : School of Moxie - […] I’m going to do it??  You know, it’s really a miracle that I wasn’t naked at the Gatsby or 80s Prom parties when I was still living in Los Angeles.  Special costume parties aside, I sort […]ReplyCancel

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