Modernizing the Lawn Fete

The place to see and be seen seems to be Governors Island in New York this weekend. For the seventh year, Michael and Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra are throwing a Jazz Age Lawn Party.

I’ve never been, but this party seems to be getting bigger every year — at least if New York Times and blog coverage is to be believed. This year there are actually two weekend-long parties on June 16-17 and August 18-19. So at least you have another weekend to join the fete if this one doesn’t work out with your schedule.

Lawn parties on Governors Island are nothing new. I found these lovely images from the 1900s in the Library of Congress’ online catalog.

Garden Party, Governor's Island, 1911 published by Bain News Service

Don’t you want to be friends with the bohemians above?

Garden Party Wear, 1920s, c. 1925, credit Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

So what should you wear to the Jazz Age Lawn Party if you are in or near NYC? Take a cue from the ladies and gents in the c. 1925 photograph above. A loose chiffon dress with a dropped waist paired with a wide brimmed hat or cloche will be lovely if you are of the feminine persuasion. A straw boater and a three piece suit is fitting for a masculine look.

Have fun and report back! Hopefully I’ll figure out a way to go next year.


  1. Jo says:

    Now I want to have a lawn party.

  2. Oh my god this is the stuff of fantasy, I tell you.

  3. Karen says:

    I would love to go too. Think of all those lingerie dresses in the collection….they would be perfect!

  4. Terri says:

    I’m so impressed by the amount of clothing that was worn to these events. It had to be sweltering…and yet, so lovely.

  5. Lizzie says:

    Those old photos are really something. I always look forward to all the blog posts and photos after the Lawn Party, though I’ve got to wonder if people don’t already have a skewed idea of what the Jazz Age was!

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