Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (1940)

I just finished watching His Girl Friday again! This film is so entertaining! Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell have a Hepburn/Tracy-esque chemistry. Of course I have always loved Rosalind Russell and would if she had done nothing other than Auntie Mame. Although I am also grateful to her for The Trouble With Angels, which at ten years old I thought was the most hilarious movie ever made.

Rosalind’s part was supposed to be a man. It is rumored that the director was having his secretary read the lines to him and he liked the way they sounded coming from a woman, so they rewrote it. Lucky for us he did, because we get to see a representative of a self assured career woman in this film.

Rosalind spends most of the movie in this chalk stripe suit outfit. Her shoes are simple black pumps and her shirt is a high collar deal with decorative buttons. This looks fabulous, but the problem is that no one makes chalk stripe suits for women much anymore and if they did (I couldn’t find any) they would definitely not be too affordable.

So I have decided to take a different tactic with this film. I would create an outfit that does the same things that this one does in the same way, but without the mandate to “copy” that outfit. Thus, my goal with this was to create a bold, self-assured ensemble that says “Look at me” and “I mean business” and “I’m fun!” all at the same time.

Here is what I came up with:

Blouse: Gap, Pleated Tie-Neck Blouse in Optic White, on sale for $24.99
Jacket: Spiegel, Ponte-Knit Striped Blazer, Black and White, $79
Skirt: Hanna Andersson, Modern Stripe Skirt, on sale for $38
Shoe: Jessica Simpson, Debbie Pump in Black Suede via Piperlime, $39.99
Total: $181.98

The bold stripes give Rosalind’s outfit both the fun and the bold appeal. The lines of her suit give it the professional polish. I copied the stripes but added the element of color in the skirt, which makes it a bit more modern and less stuffy. I kept the neckline of the blouse high and found one that had a tie-neck decorative detail to replace the buttons on Rosalind’s. This modesty keeps the potentially wild stripes combination from going off the rails. It also gives it more professional authority. The simple black suede pump does the same thing, but the lines of the pump give a little retro feel and keep the outfit feeling feminine.

Here is a Polyvore version that shows the items layered:

I would totally wear this to work, no problem. Although I would never think to pair stripes with stripes, I really like the result. The narrow color stripes don’t compete too much with the wide bold black and white stripes. I think this ensemble does one better than business casual while not being full-on job interview stuffy and it does this for $181! That’s pretty fabulous, in my opinion!

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