Friday, May 13, 2011

Alicia Silverstone in Clueless (1995)

Yesterday Alicia Silverstone had a baby boy yesterday and named him Bear Blu. She is a bit of symbol for my generation - kind of like a Molly Ringwald for the 1990s. I was obsessed with her in The Crush and the obsession grew with Clueless -- a film that I consider to be The Breakfast Club for the 1990s.

Everyone I went to high school with was in love with this movie. We would have slumber parties just to watch it together. This is also one of the first places that we see Brittany Murphy (as the geek madeover by Alicia's Cher character) and Donald Faison, who is most famous for playing Chris Turk on the TV show, Scrubs, which I am likewise obsessed with. This is a great example of a "modern" classic film. Even though this was made in 1995, the film has had a tremendous impact on culture and is still funny/relevant/watchable today.

This film started so many trends, but when you watch it, the fashion is really over-the-top and mostly un-imitable. but this movie brought back knee high schoolgirl socks LONG before Britney Spears hit the scene. And that is the look that I chose to re-create today.

Here is my interpretation: (Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view.)

Shirt: Land’s End Canvas, The Heritage Oxford Shirt in Bayshore Blue, $34.50
Vest: New York and Company, Argyle V-Neck Vest, on sale for $17.99
Skirt: Land’s End Canvas, Women’s Cord Mini Skirt in Maplewood, on sale for $19.99
Socks: Macy’s, Hue Soft Opaque Knee High Trouser Socks in Espresso, $6
Shoes: Sofft Florence Chocolate Suede Mary Janes, on sale for $76.97 via Zappos
Total: $155.45

This outfit seems pretty complicated with lots of pieces to coordinate but it came in really inexpensive because I was "virtual shopping" off-season. Almost everything was on sale. Great basics from Land's End Canvas and then picking up on the Argyle pattern in the sweater, also on sale. Then some brown Mary Janes that are from a really comfortable brand with some basic brown knee socks. Only a little over $150 total. If you were purchasing in-season you would have a lot more choices for the sweater and pattern but you would probably pay full price.

I think this look is academic and very classic. I don't think this will ever look dated. The short length of the skirt keeps it very Clueless and prevents the frump factor from creepy in. What do you think? Any other wearable looks from Clueless you can think of?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lady Cherry Loves and Double Indemnity

Lady Cherry Loves is the cutest little blog about vintage style and vintage living from across the pond. Lady Cherry has wonderful thoughts about the intersection of film, fashion and the royal family. Hollywood Fashion Vault recently had an exchange with her to discuss her favorite (or favourite) style movies for our blogger interview series! If you are enamoured with vintage fashion, you should add her to your reading list immediately! Thanks Lady Cherry for sharing your thoughts with us!

Hollywood Fashion Vault (HFV): What are your favorite style movies?

Lady Cherry: Definitely from the film noir genre. My favourite, which I blogged about recently, has to be Double Indemnity - Barbara Stanwyck takes my breath away in practically every scene. I also love Rita Hayworth in Gilda (no doubt will be subject to a post soon!) Then again, I squealed with delight when Grease was screened on tv a couple of weeks ago - so my fashion tastes stretch from the twenties to the sixties really, although I the forties are my favourite!

Double Indemnity (Universal Legacy Series)HFV: Can you remember any specific pieces or outfits you wore that were inspired by a film?

Lady Cherry: I bought a high waisted skirt after watching Double Indemnity. It falls just below the knee and it is one of my favourite pieces. I wear it with cap sleeved jersey tops that have a little detail (a bow or a ruffle or two), and with shirts. I always feel amazing in it when I wear it, and it is hugely flattering to me pear shaped figure....if you don't have one, you need to get yourself one!

HFV: How do you incorporate retro and vintage elements into your wardrobe?

Lady Cherry: I wear *something* with a vintage or retro element every day. I don't feel right if I don't. I usually go for a key piece that gives it a vintage feel, then compliment it with accessories - t-bar shoes are a staple! I also wear seamed tights or stockings on most days....of course, it depends on the outfit. I nearly always wear dresses and skirts, trousers are reserved for very cold days! I enjoy the celebration of femininity that wearing vintage clothing brings for me. Particularly when inspired by the forties. It was a time when women wanted to still feel feminine, and it was important to them to feel that, but they also demonstrated that they had just as much strength of character as any man, could work like a man, be just as resilient......amazing times. They did much more for woman's status than any bra burning activities, in my opinion.

HFV: Do you have a style icon? Who is it and why did you pick them?

Lady Cherry: I have several style icons. One of them is Princess Margaret (see below for more info); I love the way that her style changed with each decade but she remained at the cutting edge, a trend setter rather than a follower. I also love Grace Kelly in the fifties. I think Grace was the perfect name for her, it just seemed to exude from every pore and really shone through in her personal style. I also love the fact that even though she was a high profile Hollywood princess, then a real life one, she always insisted on doing her own hair and make up when she could; she wouldn't have anyone do for her what she could do herself. I am still searching for the perfect pair of gloves to finished any outfit!

HFV: What’s on the horizon for Lady Cherry Loves? What are you excited about?

Lady Cherry: What's next? I am really looking forward to the numerous vintage inspired events coming up over the summer, and to meeting more like minded bloggers. Later this year l will be moving my blog to a different host, and will be launching a small online vintage boutique - l am always coming across vintage clothing that doesn't suit, or fit me, or isn't quite my style, but is too lovely to leave behind. So l have been hoarding it to sell on. Eventually l hope to make vintage style pieces to sell, too - love to sew, but right now l am making things just for me! So there is lots to be excited about right now - and the sun is shining, too!

HFV: Also, being from Britain, what is your take on the royals and how they impact style? Have you ever copied a look from a member of the royal family?

Lady Cherry: What a question! I think that Britons have a love-hate relationship with the Royals. There certainly have been some style icons...going back to Queen Victoria, surprisingly. Queen Vic is the reason why white wedding dresses are 'traditional' - until she wore a white once in a lifetime dress in 1840 to marry Prince Albert, brides usually just wore their Sunday best. (In Britain, one would save their best outfit to wear to church on a Sunday, hence the term 'Sunday best'). Princess Margaret was a big style influence between the fifties and seventies. In fact, the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress was more like Princess Margarets' when she married in 1960, than Princess Grace's. For some people Diana was a style icon, but not for me - she was more like a clothes horse for me (sorry!) Now it looks as though the latest addition to the Royal family is the newest style icon - the dress that she wore when she and Prince William announced their engagement, and for the official engagement shoot, both sold out in days. I cannot say that I have ever copied a look from a Royal, but I will admit that I bough a dress in a similar blue to the one that the Duchess of Cambridge had on when they announced their engagement! to be honest, I am not one for copying outfits. Inspired by, yes; copy...I will leave that to others!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Norma Shearer in The Women (1939) Take 3

The Women is one of the most fabulous films from 1939 -- that landmark year in the history of film! This is my fourth outfit from this film (one from Joan Crawford and three from Norma Shearer.) You can see all of my posts from this movie here.

In The Women, Norma Shearer's happy marriage disintegrate because of her husband's adultery with Joan Crawford. The outfit above appears when Norma is watching home movie reels of her happy honeymoon with her young daughter. She is melacholy over what she has lost. In the film reel, Norma's character has been fishing on a boat wearing sandals, sailor pants, and a nautical striped crop top. (To me, the crop top is a visual manifestation of her vulnerability at this stage in her life. Her happiness and openness becomes a liability later when things fall apart.)

While she is wearing a crop top, her tummy is still covered. I personally am too modest/self-conscious for a crop top. So, I wondered how I could re-create this great nautical look and still use a crop top?

Here is what I came up with: (Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view.)

Top: Michael Stars Riveria Stripe Cropped Pocket Tee in Black, $29 via Revolve Clothing
Bodysuit: American Apparel, Cotton Spandex Jersey Basic Bodysuit in Red, $26
Pants: Loft, Marisa Sailor Pants, $20.99
Shoes: Aldo, Sarhemilie Flip Flop in Red, on sale for $18.74
Total: $94.73

This look is anchored by the sailor pants. These are pretty popular these days and nice looking ones are easy to find at good prices. I like these khaki ones from Loft for only $20.99. I then utilized a bright red bodysuit from American Apparel to make the crop top modest/flattering enough for most women to wear. Then I selected these somewhat dressy flip-flops to match that color. From there, I searched for a slouchy striped crop top and this one from Michael Stars was perfect -- it looks casual and comfortable for only $29.

The entire thing has great lines, a delightful color scheme and is very wearable. The whole thing came out under $100. Wouldn't this be a perfect look for a barbeque at the beach or a 4th of July picnic?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Clara Bow in It (1927)

It is an amazingly entertaining film for being silent. Clara Bow has undeniable charisma and proves that really you don't need to talk to be captivating, in fact she may prove that words are a hindrance to her kind of mesmerism. This film is where we get the term "It Girl" and Clara Bow was the original. She seems to be utterly natural and un-self-conscious in the film but I would venture to guess that this ease was actually contrived. She has an almost Lolita-ish appeal as the shop girl who lands the handsome rich boss.

The 1920s are a difficult era to re-create outfits from, because most of the looks focus on the dropped waistline popular with flappers. This silhouette produces a boyish look for most women, something we do not find flattering today. Therefore it is difficult to find pieces like this. I did however, find a couple of looks that seem applicable today.

Clara wears this look above when she goes out on a date with her romantic interest to Coney Island. She wears t-strap pumps, a pleated skirt, a diamond print sweater with a printed scarf and a beret.

Here is my interpretation: (Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view.)

Hat: American Apparel, Unisex Wool Beret in Raspberry, $24
Scarf: Chevron Print Scarf, Pink-Blue, $45 via Robin Dira Unsworth
Sweater:, Hayden black cashmere Argyle boyfriend sweater, $118.99
Skirt: Urban Outfitters, Sparkle & Fade Knee Length Pleated Mesh Skirt, on sale for $19.99
Shoes: Urban Outfitters, Kimchi Blue, Wingtip Heel, on sale for $39
Total: $246.98

Starting with the basics, I found a gauzy pleated skirt and t-strap shoes from Urban Outfitters. Both pieces were perfect and on sale. Building from there, I found this argyle print cashmere sweater, which mimics the diamond pattern on Clara's top. It is a bit pricey since it is cashmere but two things really put this piece over the top for me: the fit is a boyfriend fit which will hit at the mid-hip area when worn over the skirt (echoing the flapper silhouette) and there is a thin line of fuchsia in the argyle pattern (which will coordinate with the other accessories).

Then I needed to finish off with the scarf and beret. Taking my cues from the fuchsia in the sweater, I decided to go with a very cheeky "Raspberry Beret" -- the kind you find at a second hand store. I think if Clara Bow lived today, I could totally see that Prince song being one of her favorites.

The last piece had to be a chevron striped scarf which played off of the raspberry/fuchsia colors and had the right scale of a print to work with the argyle in the sweater. This one is a bit pricey for a scarf but it meets all of the criteria I had to make this look work well. I think mixing the two seemingly clashing patterns (chevron and argyle/diamond) is a bold lesson from Clara Bow.

This look could work for a casual Friday at the office and easily transition into a date night "pizza-and-a-movie" kind of look. Although it is a bit pricey, the cashmere will make you feel so luxurious and that sweater will last forever. It's an investment piece that you will be able to remix for years.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kate's Honeymoon Look

Sorry for the silence this past week. My husband is trying to launch his photography business here in Mississippi and we have had several events and jobs this past week. If you are interested, check out his artwork and portait work with the links in this sentence.

One more Kate Middleton post and then I am done with royal, I promise! I guess I should start calling her the Duchess of Cambridge now, huh? This look is what Kate wore the morning after her wedding leaving Buckingham Palace. This look is so simple and chic and stylish, I just had to try my hand at re-creating it.

Here is my interpretation: (Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view.)

Dress: Mod Cloth, Frozen Lake Dress, $54.99
Sweater: Macy’s Charter Club Cardigan Long Sleeve, Black, on sale for $29.99
Belt: New York and Company, Skinny Braid Belt, on sale for $9.97
Shoes: Bandolino, Dyani Espadrille in Black, $69 via Piperlime
Total: $163.95

This is another lovely blue look from Kate. This dusty blue offset with black neutrals looks so simple but chic. This little dress from ModCloth is inexpensive and has the same color blue with pleats and a modest neckline, just like Kate's dress. Instead of a black jacket, this structure cardigan with a similar neckline suffices. The belt is simple and cheap too and makes the entire look hang together. Kate's wedge espadrille is matched by this modestly priced one from Bandolino. What an awesome casual outfit!

Kate seems to be becoming a new paragon of modest, elegant style. It's about time we had a style icon that shows us that modest doesn't have to equal dowdy!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Look for Less: Kate's Bridal Style

The royal wedding this morning was incredibly satisfying and I am so glad that I got up to watch it live. It just would not have been the same to watch it on Youtube later today. Kate Middleton really pulled it off! She was poised, elegant, demure, regal -- just everything she needed to be. Her gown was even a bit sexy! These two really seem to be striking a balance between youthfulness and tradition, between having an intimate family affair and understanding their roles as representatives of the state.

Kate's wedding dress was rich with symbolism. The lace was stitiched by the Royal School of Needlework which is housed at Hampton Court Palace and contains the images of flowers representing all four of the areas of the United Kingdom. This includes English roses (England), thistles (Scotland), shamrocks (Ireland) and daffodils (Wales). The symbolism of flowers also played a big role in the decoration of the royal wedding cake. 
This dress strongly echoes another "commoner": Hollywood actress, Grace Kelly. She became Princess of Monaco in 1956 and wore a lovely gown with a cinched waist and pleated full skirt with long lace sleeves and a veil. ABC interviewed Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame about the comparison and he noted that this is a huge compliment for Kate. He also said that Kate went more modern with a tasteful v-neck and not the high neck that Grace wore. This look shows deep respect for the occasion and recognition that is not merely "your wedding" but also an investiture into the role you are assuming. It hits all the right notes.

In a few hours, dozens of knock off reproductions of Kate's gown will flood the marketplace. However, I think that you need not go with a direct knockoff, you can take notes from Kate's (and Grace's) style but not have to purchase a "Kate-in-a-can" look. To that end, I found a few pieces that could easily re-create the "gown-of-the-century" look.

Here is my interpretation: (Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view.)

1. Bolero: Long Sleeve Lace Jacket, LSLACE, $129 via David's Bridal
2. Gown: Oleg Cassini, Satin Ball Gown with Dropped Waist Style and Sweetheart Neckline, $750 via David's Bridal 
3. Veil: Two Tiered Pencil Edge Veil by Etsy seller arielj, $75
4. Tiara: Rhinstone Jewelry Corporation, Graduated Tiara, $42
5. Earrings: Rhinstone Jewelry Corporation, Victorian Heart Flip Earrings, $53.52

This dress from Oleg Cassini is sleeveless and strapless but has a couple of key elements: the full pleated skirt, the cinched waist and the sweetheart neckline, all of which match Kate closely. To add that modest and lovely lacy touch, add a bolero or lace jacket like the one pictured above.

Accesories are delicate and modest. The tiara is simple and feels antique with a simple two layered veil so you can actually wear it and be covered front and back to the fingertips. The earrings are simple and small drop earrings just like Kate's (which were a present from her parents). Shoes are elegant and dressy with a low heel.

I would be sure to pair this with a small round boquet of delicate flowers, like both Grace and Kate did. Nothing flashy to distract from you and your face. I would also take care to wear appropriate hosiery and undergarments as necessary to carry off this look (since we are not all blessed with a gorgeous princess figure like Kate's, right?)

You can do all of this for under $1,500, with the six main pieces totaling just a little over $1,100. Wow! Princess (or rather Duchess) style for less!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Budget Chic and the film A Kiss Before Dying (1956)

Hollywood Fashion Vault was thrilled to see Budget Chic (another fashion blogger) trying out a great look from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as a work outfit. Doesn't she just look fabulous?
This outfit made me want to find out more about Budget Chic and her style inspiration. She graciously answered my questions and gave me a few more leads on great style films. Here is the interview and an outfit from one of her favorite style movies: A Kiss Before Dying (1956). Enjoy!

A Kiss Before Dying
Hollywood Fashion Vault (HFV): What are your favorite style movies?

Budget Chic: Sex and the City: The Movie (SATC 1), A Kiss Before Dying (1956) and Confessions of a Shopaholic
HFV: Can you remember any specific pieces or outfits you wore that were inspired by a film?

Budget Chic: I dupe a look from Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and searched for a hot pink pencil skirt and colorful leather gloves to imitate a look from Confessions. I'm also looking from some 50s flare skirts and dresses from several classic movies that have inspired me, A Kiss Before Dying being one of them.

HFV: How do you incorporate retro and vintage elements into your wardrobe?

Budget Chic: I love anything structured from the 40s and 50s so I do a lot of peplum jackets, pencil skirts and plan to do more faux fur to get that luxe 50s vibe. I try to mix retro with more current pieces so it doesn't look like I'm always in costume or stuck in a time warp.

HFV: Do you have a style icon? Who is it and why did you pick them?

Budget Chic: Absolutely love Patrica Field the stylist for SATC, Devil Wears Prada and Confessions. Icons are Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP) and a new favorite Kerry Washington.

HFV: What’s on the horizon for Budget Chic? What are you excited about?

Budget Chic: I don't know what direction this blog will take me it, I'll just keep doing what feel right and hoping opportunities will grow from that.

Many thanks to Budget Chic for sharing her thoughts and insights. Particularly, I appreciate the recommendation of A Kiss Before Dying. It is available on Netflix to Watch Instantly. I caught this flick and re-created one of the outfits from it. Here is the companion post to this interview.

Virginia Leith in A Kiss Before Dying (1956)

This film was recommended to me by Budget Chic as being a great source of vintage style inspiration. And it certainly was! Joanne Woodward and Virginia Leith play sisters and they both dress wonderfully. However, I was also pleased to find A Kiss Before Dying to be a very entertaining film too! (Read my entire interview on style movies with Budget Chic here.)

This movie was like a cross between Marilyn Monroe's Niagara and A Place in the Sun (Elizabeth Taylor). It has at the heart of it a murder mystery, complete with much duplicity and greed. Like Niagara, it has all of the satifying dramatic music and murderous intrigue. Like A Place in the Sun, it features a man desperate for upward mobility who might be held back by a pregnant girlfriend. Robert Wagner is utterly convincing as both seemingly devoted boyfriend and unrepentant murderer.

This recommendation also introduced me to Virginia Leith, who I had never heard of before. She is actually a very appealing and believable actress, who began her career as a model. Her resume, however, seems filled with campy cult classic titles such as Fear and Desire, Black Widow, Violent Saturday and The Brain that Wouldn't Die. It seems to me with a little luck her career could have taken a different track and she could have been a household name.

The outfit I chose to re-create first was a simple, casual look that Virginia Leith wears when preparing for her engagement party.

Here is my interpretation: (Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view.)

Shirt: J. Crew, Perfect Shirt in Linen, Lemon Twist, $79.50
Capris: Ann Taylor, Curvy Cotton Twill Capris in Black, $68
Belt: Forever 21, Wide Everyday Belt, $4.50
Flats: Rocket Dog Memories Ballet Flat in Black, $39.95 via
Total: $191.95

Ah, simplicity! Basic black capris with a basic black belt and basic black flats. The surprise is a gorgeous bright yellow linen shirt worn cinched around the waist with the wide belt. This is a lovely look and so easy and casual. This could be worn just running errands, going to a party or barbecue, or to work on a casual Friday. I love the combination of the black and yellow, like a pretty honeybee. Black and yellow together are a very classic and retro color combination. The shirt and pants are both quality pieces that could be endlessly remixed to make lots of other great outfits. And the price came in under budget! How chic! (Thanks Budget Chic for the tip!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Royal Look from Kate Middleton

Well, I just couldn't help myself from putting together one more look inspired by Kate Middleton before the royal wedding on Friday. These two outfits seemed similar to me and taking bits and pieces from both of them resulted in a very demure but interesting garden party or wedding guest outfit. See my first Kate Middleton post here for more "soon-to-be-royal" fashion inspiration.

The three elements I wanted to pursue in this look were 1) using navy to accesorize a periwinkle or light blue look, 2) mixing in an unexpected floral pattern and 3) utilizing a clutch for a daytime look. Here is what I can up with: Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view.

Dress: Jessica Simpson, Jersey Shirred Dress Night Shadow Crepe Jersey, $128

Jacket: Anthropologie, Cropped Wisley Blazer, $118

Hat: (Optional) ModCloth, Ophelie Hats, “Up the Antique”, $107.99 (Currently sold out but restocking.)
Clutch: Jessica McClintock Large Rectangle Navy Clutch, $21 via Designer

Shoes: Target, Mossimo Pearce Pump in Navy Patent, $29.99

Total: $296.99 (without hat) $404.98 (with hat)

This jersey dress from Jessica Simpson reminds me of Kate's general style. She likes comfortable but structured jersey dresses with some lovely drape to them. This one happens to be in a periwinkle color like inspiration outfit #1 above. Since it has no sleeves, I wanted to use a blazer and found this one that coordinates color-wise but has a unique floral pattern.

Then I added in a basic navy pump and clutch. Both of these are inexpensive items because the two main pieces were over $100. The clutch had to be kept simple and elegant and not be too shiny or over-the-top in order for it to work for daytime wear. With these four pieces, I was pretty pleased with the result. The navy really looks great with the pattern and the periwinkle, one of my favorite colors.

And then I found this hat! This straw hat has a tilted fascinator style to it and would fit right in with this look which has a garden party kind of feel to it. Again, it is very Kate and very British to wear large or tilted hats to semi-formal or formal events. This hat is very unique and elegant and would make a statement without drawing the wrong kind of attention to you. Adding the hat does drive the final total for this look up above $400 but I felt that I would show it to you anyway, since it does add to the final look.

Currently, this item is sold out at ModCloth but they are restocking presently. In fact, all but a few of their hats like this and their fascinators are sold out now! Do you think it is the Kate Middleton affect and royal wedding fever?

She's In Fashion: Kate Middleton

Interesting commentary on Kate's style versus Diana's. Check this out.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Royal Look from Kate Middleton

Most Americans are caught up in full-tilt Royal Wedding fever this week and I am no exception. Although I truly am glad that I live in representative democracy without a monarch, it does feel good to indulge in a bit of the royal pomp from across the pond. I am just a nut for anything about the British monarchy. I took courses in Britain about King Arthur and studied the Tudors with a serious obsession. (I probably know as much about Henry the VIII as I do about movie musicals -- that's alot.) So, of course, I have read all the hype and the guest list and commentary and whatnot about the upcoming Windsor nuptials.

But I'll admit -- Kate Middleton use to bore me. She was so prim and pretty and one-dimensional. So dispassionate. (Frankly, she was not Diana.) But, I have been caught up in the fervor and now I am a fan. She does have a very mature and classic style and seems to be showing more of her personality lately. And who doesn't love a good commoner to princess story right?

It does bother me that the official line has been changed to call her Catherine instead of Kate. That kind of annoys me a bit. Like they are trying to deliberately re-brand the poor girl. Speaking of names, few people know that when Wills becomes king he can choose to be addressed by any of his several names -- one of which is Arthur. The once and future king indeed!

Two things that I love about Kate's style. She looks amazing in blue and is reviving the sapphire engagement ring (I have one) and she loves hats and looks great in them. She wore this amazing cobalt dress (above) to a wedding and then of course her engagement annoucement dress was also blue from Issa. I have chosen to combine these two looks into one look that is re-creatable for American anglophiles.

Here is my interpretation: (Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view)

Ring: 4 Carat Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring 14K White Gold, $476 via
Dress: Trashy Diva, Doris Dress in Cobalt, $146
Headpiece: Louis Green Milliner, Headband, Black, $80
Jacket: Ruche, Beautifully Studded Tuxedo Jacket, on sale for $58
Stockings: Figleaves Italian Hosiery Sheer Tights in Black, $17
Shoes: Fergalicious Black Patent Women’s Utopia Pump, on sale for $29.99 via Famous Footwear
Total: $330 (without ring) $806 (with ring)

There are a ton of knockoffs out now of Kate's blue Issa dress. However, I made a non-traditional choice and chose this number in Cobalt blue from Trashy Diva as the basis of this look. Trashy Diva is a fantastic boutique line out of New Orleans. Their flagship store includes the dress shop, a lingerie store and an amazing shoe store in the French Quarter. Everything is vintage inspired and fabulous. This dress has the wrapping middle and the right color of blue to mimic Kate's dresses.

Since this dress is sleeveless, I wanted to add a black tuxedo jacket like the first picture of Kate in this post. This one from Ruche is very classy and has some sparkle to it. The price on it is great and helps to compensate for the higher price of the dress.

Following Kate's lead, I selected stockings in a sheer black and simple black patent pumps. Kate tends to wear sheer stockings and while these seem to have fallen out favor stateside, sheer stockings add immediate elegance to any outfit. The pumps are reasonably priced like the jacket.

These four basic elements could easily constitute a special occasion outfit for any American girl and it would look lovely for about $250. But, I decided to have a bit of fun and recommend two additional pieces to really push the British inspiration of this Kate Middleton look.

Like her dresses, there are lots of knockoffs of Diana's...I mean...Kate's sapphire and diamond engagement ring. This one was on sale right now from and is very pretty. Of course this takes the price way over the top but for those with the inclination -- it is a lovely ring.

Lastly, Kate Middleton is credited with single-handedly bringing the fascinator hat back in style in America of late. In this spirit, I have selected a headband from a great retro-style milliner called Louis Green. The headbands provide a bit more support and reassurance for Americans not used to wearing the precariously perched fascinators and they are reasonably priced (versus a hat). This fancy headband is mimic the classic but offset lines and simple black color of Kate's hat above.

I am so excited to see what Kate's wedding dress looks like and how her style evolves as she grows into her role over the next few years. Hopefully she will be a source of fashion inspiration for a very long time.

Classic Movies Streaming Netflix Update 4/26

Each week I check out FeedFliks to see which classic films will be on Netflix's Watch Instantly feature, which I love! FeedFliks (which is free) tells you what has just arrived on Watch It Now, what is coming soon (and when) and what will be expiring soon. This means you can be sure to see things before they go back to the DVD only option. What a great tool!

Once per week, I like to take the extensive list provided by FeedFliks and pull out the classic films and other notable films from those three categories. This makes it even easier for you classic movie buffs to find the good stuff on Netflix.

Coming Soon:
The Navigator, with Buster Keaton (1924) coming 5/15
Seven Chances, with Buster Keaton (1925) coming 5/15
The Thomas Crown Affair, with Steve McQueen (1968) coming 5/1
Shoot Out, with Gregory Peck (1971) coming 5/1
Mary, Queen of Scots, with Vanessa Redgrave (1971) coming 5/1
Family Plot, (Hitchcock's final film) (1976) coming 5/1
Raging Bull, with Robert DeNiro (1980) coming 5/1
The Secret of NIMH, animated (1982) coming 5/1
My Best Friend's Wedding, with Julie Roberts (some Kate Hepburn style outfits here) (1997), coming 5/6
Original Sin, with Angelina Jolie (2001) coming 5/1
Pinocchio, with Roberto Benigni (2002) coming 5/14

Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio

Expiring Soon:
Way Down East, with Henry Fonda (1935) expiring 4/30
Lynch 2 (about David Lynch's filmmaking) (2007) expiring 5/1
Short Films of David Lynch (2002) expiring 5/1
Broadway: The American Musical, hosted by Julie Andrews (2004) expiring 5/1

I also happen to be a big documentary buff and one of my favorite host is Michael Wood. Several of his films will be expiring soon, so check him out while you have a chance!

Michael Wood Documentaries - All expiring on 5/1/11
In Search of Shakespeare
In Search of Myths and Heroes

Yet another passion of mine is learning about food and our food system here in the U.S. Several food documentaries are expiring soon, so again, if you have an interest check them out this weekend.

Food Documentaries
Fed Up! (2002) expiring 4/27
The Meaning of Food (2004) expiring 5/1
The Natural History of the Chicken (2001) expiring 5/1
To Market, To Market to Buy a Fat Pig (2007) expiring 5/1
Fat: What No One is Telling You (2006) expiring 5/1

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941) (Take 2)

This is my second look from Barbara Stanwyck's The Lady Eve. You can read my complete review of this fun little film here and see the semi-formal bronze lame look that was also inspired by this film. Suffice it to say that I just love Barbara Stanwyck from her femme fatale roles in film noir to her zanny comedies and earnest feel-good flicks all the way to the 1980s epic mini-series The Thorn Birds, I just love this broad.

This outfit seems to be a bit of a departure for Barbara, as it is a bit too tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps this is because she is wearing it while her character (a con artist) is trying to seduce and dupe Henry Fonda's character. Most of this action happens while they are on a boat, and this look fits in perfectly with our sailor/nautical inspired week this week! The look, while unconventional, is fresh and neat and preppy with a fun twist or two.

Here is my interpretation: (Click on the image for a larger and more detailed view.)

Hat: Asos Pieces Stripe Jersey Hat, $17.93
Shirt: Old Navy, Women’s Poplin-Stretch Dress Shirt Bright White, $16.50
Vest: Forever 21 Navy Open Knitted Sweater Vest, $19.90
Pants: Talbots, Signature Fit White Denim Trouser Jeans, $89
Brooch: Hooked on You Brooch, $11.99 ModCloth
Shoes: Annie’s Shoes Women’s Olivia Wedge in White Linen on sale for $19.99 via Endless.comTotal: $175.31

I would never think to wear white pants and a white shirt but Barbara shows that this look can be very refreshing. The vest breaks it up and makes it work. I went with a red, white and blue theme because of the nautical feel. The vest is a great price, as is the basic shirt. The trouser jeans in white from Talbot's look flattering and comfortable.

Once those basic elements are in place, the accessories add that fun edge on the preppiest of this outfit. The anchor brooch in bright red from ModCloth and the very cool "Where's Waldo?" style beanie cap that manages to take Barbara's silly nautical nightcap to interesting places. Lastly, I took the same shoes that I used in my women's Fred Astaire look from Follow the Fleet. Such a great price on a versatile summer shoe.

I can imagine wearing this to a seaside barbecue somewhere like Maine in the springtime. You could make it work for more seasons by wearing a short sleeve shirt or going with capris. Either way, I think you would have to have a sense of humor and confidence to really pull this off, but it is too irresistibly cute not to post it.

What do you think? Is this look Where's Waldo on a boat? Or something fun and fresh?

Twyla Tharp on Creativity

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
If there's a lesson here it's: get busy copying. That's not a popular notion today, not when we are all instructed to find our own way, admonished to be original and find our own voice at all costs! But it's sound advice. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill.
                                                     Twyla Tharp,
                                                    The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

I'm a big fan of R&D. Not research and development but "Rip Off and Duplicate". I use it in my work life as a means of creativity all the time. Take a good idea and give a twist or take it a step further. Not only does it give you a starting point, inspiration, and direction all in one, but it also saves you a ton of time. You don't have to start from scratch. Templates are there and you just fill them out with your personality.

Twyla Tharp is distinguished dancer and choreographer. She has worked as a choreographer for her own company, Broadway, television and film. Her most famous film work is probably the glorious Amadeus, which is in many ways a meditation on what Harold Bloom calls the "anxiety of influence". Maestro Salieri is torn apart by his jealousy of Mozart. But the tension over whether we are duplicating or creating need not be such a struggle. The best artists know that it is healthy to reproduce before you produce.

This is also the approach and foundational behind Hollywood Fashion Vault. Use the genius of the classic actresses but also the costume designers and stylist of the glamour mill. You don't have to create style from scratch. These films can be like training wheels to give you the skill and confidence to begin to create your own looks or go farther afield from your sources of inspiration. Use Edith Head, Helen Rose and Travilla. Use Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. Start copying and it can be the fountainhead of your own creative style.


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