Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet (1944)

I really can’t remember when I first saw National Velvet. It is lost sometime in early, early childhood. I still watch it fairly often. It is a comfort movie for me: one you watch when you are sick or homesick or tired. This time I had been in a car driving home for about 10 hours and I was winding down to sleep.

Whatever else you can say about her, Elizabeth Taylor is a fine young actress. She is so believable in this movie, it almost seems like a documentary or at least a true story. (It isn’t; it is based off of a novel.) Beyond that, there is an excellent supporting cast, including Mickey Rooney and Angela Lansbury. However, I think the young brother “Donald” totally steals the show and makes this a very funny movie for kids.

I wasn’t really expecting anything from this as far as fashion goes. But right at the end of the film, I latched onto one of Elizabeth Taylor’s outfits that I thought was both interesting and adaptable to modern everyday wear. This is a plaid skirt with a shawl collar sweater, and knee socks.

Here is my interpretation:

Run-Down:Skirt: Eddie Bauer, Short Heritage Wool Wrap Skirt in Black, on sale for $39.99
Sweater: Satori Shawl Sweater in Rosy Red, on sale for $49.99 via
Camisole: Old Navy Racerback Cami in Black Jack on sale for $6
Socks: Hue Linear Argyle Knee Hi Socks in Black, $6 via
Shoes: Mia Riza Red Mary Janes, $69.95 via Zappos
Total: $171.93
National Velvet is strictly speaking a sports movie. In fact, it was named one of the top ten sports movies of all time by the American Film Institute. So, it seems appropriate that several of the items in my version of the outfit inspired by this film come from athletic sources or outfitters.

I began with the skirt because the colors in the skirt would dictate a lot of the other pieces I would need to select. This skirt from Eddie Bauer seems sophisticated and not “lumberjacky”. The non-neutral color in it is a pinkish red.

Thus, my next find would have to be a shawl collar or cowl neck sweater in a pinkish red tone. I found this lovely wrap one from, which is owned by the same company as Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy. This seemed to come down pretty low (cleavage-wise) and needed something underneath. I didn’t want to spend much money or have anything too interesting. (Lace would have detracted from the semi-athletic, outdoorsy feel of the outfit.) So, I selected a $6 racerback black cami from Old Navy.

I then needed a great shoe/knee high sock combo. I selected this argyle pair from Hue because they are inexpensive and interesting. I like that the argyle pattern mirrors the plaid in the skirt without being matchy-matchy. I also love Hue tights and socks. They are high quality and always come in tons of great colors.

I could have found lots of black Mary Janes to go with this look. But, I wanted to do something a bit different and more interesting with a contrasting shoe color. I was lucky enough to find this rosey-redish pink pair from Mia via Zappos website. The other elements in the outfit were all either very inexpensive or on sale, so that left room in my virtual budget to get these lovely shoes.

This outfit seems very comfortable and versatile. I would were this to the office or running errands or to the movies. It feels like autumn to me, but in many places could probably be worn well into winter. Even if you lived somewhere cold, you could modify the look with tights and boots instead.

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