Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Leslie Caron in Daddy Long Legs (1955)

I recently took a trip to New Orleans and was cruising the local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and I found tons of old movies on VHS for $1 each, many of which I had never seen before. (For those of you not familiar with the Re-Store, Habitat for Humanity runs these architectural salvage stores in various locations all over the country. I love to support them because I always find great deals on cool fixer-upper house items, I get to help a great non-profit organization, and this keeps the salvaged materials out of landfills and gives them new life.)

Anyway, one of the tapes I got for $1 was Daddy Long Legs with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron. (My very first post on Hollywood Fashion Vault was Leslie Caron from An American in Paris.) The movie itself is a bit under-whelming but the fashion is amazing! I read online that Leslie Caron chose to put together all of her outfits herself for this movie. What a combination of mid-1950s fashion and her French gamine sensibility. There are many great outfits from this movie and I will probably do more of them, but one of the most wearable looks is from a dream dance sequence with Fred Astaire.

Leslie wears a black and white striped shirt with black pants and bien sur – toe shoes. She also wears a blue scarf around her waist.

Here is my interpretation:

Shirt: The Limited, Lace with Stripe Tee, $39.90
Belt: The Limited, Obi Belt in Red, $34.90
Pants: Zappos.com, DKNYC Skinny Pants in Black $89
Shoes: Topshop.com, Vestry Leg Tie Ballet Flat in Pink, $36
Total: $187.97

For my version, I selected a pair of comfortable looking skinny pants. I “spent” a bit more of my virtual budget on those because I feel like you would need to pay more to make sure you are getting a quality cut and flattering fit.

Then I found this cute top from The Limited, which mimics Leslie’s top because the stripes don’t start until below the shoulder. I like that this top adds even more femininity with the lace overlay and the short puffy sleeves. Also from The Limited I selected this red obi belt instead of a blue scarf. In fact, in the movie posters, they colored Leslie’s scarf red instead of blue, so I am picking up on that. The wide obi belt will help manage the transition from tucked-in shirt to skinny pants and accentuate the waistline. Both of these items are on sale at The Limited.

Lastly, I wanted to have pretty literal interpretation of the ballet flat. These from Topshop.com are perfect with a pink satin sheen and lovely ankle ties and the price was great. I love the idea of subtly combining red and pink in an outfit.

While I think this outfit would be incredibly cute on someone who has a ballet dancers build, I am not sure it would work for me. I would totally wear the shirt and belt with a pair of black trousers or a black skirt, but I would honestly never wear those skinny pants. As someone who is 5 foot flat and is struggling to lose baby weight, they just aren’t for me. So, to that end, I took the elements of this outfit and turned it into a more wearable look for those of us without a Leslie Caron body.

Here goes:

Shirt: The Limited, Lace with Stripe Tee, $39.90
Belt: The Limited, Obi Belt in Red, $34.90
Pants: J. Jill, Stretch Linen Wide Leg Pants, $71.20 with online 20% off entire purchase deal
Shoes: Lori’s Shoes, Rocket Dog Madellats in Pink, on sale for $24.90
Total: $170.90

To modify this look to be flattering for more than a minority of readers, I switch out the skinny pants for a black linen trouser. This gives a more forgiving line but retains that freedom of movement, so you feel like you could dance in them. This switch made the gorgeous ankle strap ballet flats a moot point because you wouldn’t be able to appreciate that detail. So, I also switch out for a simpler pink flat that still has a bit of a satin textured feel.

You would still tuck the shirt in and use the belt to meld the two together. The best part is that this outfit still has all of the whimsical French appeal but it is even cheaper than my original styling – over $17 cheaper. To me this version of the outfit is more applicable to a variety of situations. For instance, I would wear the second outfit to work but never the first one, even if it looked good on my frame.


  1. Just watching this movie now and simply had to look up photos of Leslie Caron's outfits! She is perfection, even if the movie is not. :) She always seems to keep it simple and let her natural beauty shine. Adorable!

  2. Thanks Pollyanna! I think Leslie Caron is an absolutely adorable person and a talented dancer with great personal style. She is not really a great actress. She tends to play characters without much depth but who are somewhat charming. Maybe she was just poorly casted. But she is a genuine beauty and had a very French style sensibility that I just love.



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