Friday, June 25, 2010

Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941)

This will be my fourth post in my “Three Easy Pieces” series and my seventh total outfit that falls into that category. Since most of these outfits have been casual or office looks, I wanted to try my hand at something more formal in only three pieces.

I love Barbara Stanwyck. I think she is terrifically sassy and unique and wry. She is very funny but very dry and witty. I got The Lady E from the library, which I had never seen before and I think this is a very fine film. It includes a very young Henry Fonda as Barbara’s love interest. The plot is very interesting and not quite like anything I have seen before. My favorite scene is the poker game with both Barbara and her character’s father cheating up a storm.


Fashion-wise, the costumes were designed by the illustrious Edith Head. In researching her for this post, I found out that Edith Head has more Oscars that any other woman in history – eight of them to be exact. She was not nominated for The Lady Eve but the clothes are memorable and lovely. I think that Edith Head had a knack for dressing whatever particular actress she was working with. She not only dresses the character but the actress as well. This is something that is lacking in films today. They generally dress solely for the character and you don’t get a feel for the star’s particular style. This is a great example of Barbara’s particular brand of 1940s flair.

The outfit I chose to recreate (pictured above) is the final costume in the film for Barbara. It is an evening gown with a lame bodice worn with a cropped jacket or bolero with long sleeves.

Here is my interpretation:

Run-Down:Jacket: ASOS Cropped Pleat Shoulder Blazer, $67.64

Dress: ModCloth, Last Chance Dress, $127.99
Shoes: Nine West, Every Pump in Bronze Leather, on sale for $39.99
Total: $235.62

Three simple pie

ces: jacket, dress, shoes. I selected a shorter dress because this one most closely matched the feeling of Barbara’s dress but also because I feel that shorter cocktail-length dresses can be worn more often to more locations these days. I also love the bronze lame instead of gold or silver. I think gold or silver look a bit tacky and too flashy, but this bronze looks sophisticated and glamorous. There is a belt built into the dress, which makes it look very finished and the silhouette is very 1940s.

To match the bronze in the dress, I selected this gorgeous shoe from Nine West. This shoe has the glamour of a D’Orsay pump but the support of a normal pump. The heel is a good height, higher than everyday work pumps but not so high that you feel unstable. I love that the peep-toe has some detail to it but it is not an all-out cutesy bow. The bronze color is lovely.

Lastly, I selected this cropped blazer to wear over the dress. I absolutely love the strong shoulders on this one from ASOS. It is a great price too and I think this item could be worn again and again with other looks both for the office and in evening wear.

This look is a bit expensive because the dress is over $100, but this is a special occasion look and I feel like $36 extra dollars is well worth it for this much glamour. I think anyone would feel like a million bucks in this ensemble. You could wear this to the symphony or ballet and be the center of attention. This is exactly the kind of inspiration this blog is about – finding glamorous old looks (like a lame bodice gown) and adapting it (bronze, shortening the dress) to make a unique, wearable, eye-catching and sophisticated look for today!

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