Men, women and children are dressing up for Hawke's Bay's Art Deco Festival.

Charleston Chic's Penelope Partington-Ffyes said dressing as women did in the inter-war years need not be an expensive exercise.

"The 1920s was your dropped-waist dress that she would have worn for the days," she said.

In the 30s, day dresses were below the knee, more tailored and often had a belt at the waist.


"They wore felt hats. Even though it seems warm, a felt hat was fully appropriate in a shade that matches your dress and also appropriate shoes of similar toning."

A matching leather handbag completes the period look, but only up to a particular time.

"That would take you right up till about 5 o'clock in the afternoon."

For the men, her partner Clarence Bertram St John Fitz-Montague, said white pants, striped blazer and boater were commin attire for promenading in the 1930s.

"This is what the man in the street would have worn on his day out in summertime up there in the crowds," he said.

A Panama gave a more sophisticated look, but the man in the street wore suits.

"Every man had a three-piece, blue, pinstriped suit."

"This is what you should be wearing for any occasion really, except the very most formal, we would wear your evening dress."


The military look was popular with both sexes. But clothes do not always make the man, he said.

"They dressed very smart but were also very mannerly - they were very polite. So nice and polite will go a long way and close shaven for the guys – no 5 o'clock shadows.

The 31st Art Deco Festival starts Wednesday, February 13 and runs to Sunday, February 17.

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