Friday, April 8, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8 (1960) (Take 2)

Here is another great look from Butterfield 8. You can read my review of the film here and see my first outfit from this film. I think that Butterfield 8 is really what Breakfast at Tiffany's should have been. This is a call girl with a tragic story but it isn't colored with sentimentality or fragility in any way. This dress reminds me of something Holly Golighty (Audrey Hepburn) might have worn but is somewhat edgier, perhaps a bit trashier. This dress represent the hight of the "party girl" look for Gloria Wandrous (Elizabeth Taylor).

Even the names echo each other, don't they? Golighty & Wandrous. They were released only one year apart (Breakfast came out in 1961.) Both stories were based on mid-century novels. You probably already know that Truman Capote wrote Breakfast at Tiffany's. John O'Hara wrote Butterfield 8. But I can't find any indication that the two authors knew each other. As far as I can tell, O'Hara was a bit jaded and cynical about the possibility of upward mobility because he did not get to go to Yale. Maybe this accounts for his pessimism.

(As an aside, O'Hara also wrote Pal Joey which became Gene Kelly's big break on Broadway in 1940. O'Hara also wrote From the Terrace a film I just added to my Netflix cue which stars Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. And Harold Bloom includes some his work in his book The Western Canon. I am going to have to check this guy out. He might be my new favorite author.)

Alternatively, it could just be that the stories are similar but the differences between Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor shine through. You can apply many adjectives to Elizabeth Taylor but fragile is not among them. She is tough as nails. But Audrey and fragile are virtually synonyms. Still, who plays the role doesn't change the fact that Breakfast at Tiffany's has a happy ending and Butterfield 8 a tragic one.

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

Dress: Nordstrom, Max & Cleo Taffeta Mock Two Piece Dress, $148

Necklace: Bridal Ivory Pearl Cluster Necklace, $38 via Etsy seller AMIdesigns
Gloves: Black Stretch Lace Elbow Gloves, $17 via
Shoes: Mootsies Tootsies Women’s Brindi Slingback Sandal, on sale for $19.99 via

Total: $222.99

This dress mimic the neckline of the Butterfield 8 dress almost perfectly and has a full skirt with some lovely detail. It's pricey but since it works for a special occasion, I think the extra costs is warranted. Besides, I managed to keep the accessories very inexpensive and so the total outfit is only a little over $200. The fact that the dress has a empire waist rather than a natural waist updates the look a little bit and makes it more flattering and forgiving for most figures.

Mootsies Tootsies shoes are always comfortable and these slingbacks are very chic for only $20. I have worn Mootsies Tootsies since I was 10 or 11 years old and if you are selective, they are are a great brand of shoes -- again comfortable and inexpensive. Some of the styles can be dowdy but if you know what you are looking for you can find something stylish.

Liz wears a simple double strand pearl choker. I went with a handmade pearl cluster necklace from Etsy. The cluster makes the necklace standout a bit more and you can adjust the chain to make it drape whereever you want it to.

Liz wears black satin gloves with her dress, but I think that unless the occasion is very formal, satin gloves are a bit heavy-handed (no pun intended). So, I went with a black lace glove.

I was recently reading Lady Cherry's blog and she showed some pin-up shots of herself and some other women and I became infatuated with the shots with lace gloves. (The shots were taken by a British company called Boudoir Photography.)Thus, my inspiration to include them here. I think that they give this look some edge and maybe a touch of the steampunk vintage look. I would wear this to a reception or semi-formal party, even if it was a work event without reservation.

Do you think the lace pushes it over the top? Would you wear this look?


  1. I think the lace gloves are cute! Your blog has really encouraged me to get out of my fashion rut. ;)

  2. Thanks, Amelia! These movies inspire me too. After working from home for a year, I was in a style rut myself! So, doing this blog is a great exercise for re-building my wardrobe. Thanks for reading!!

  3. Hey! Thank you for the mention :) l think the gloves rock it! xx

  4. Thanks, Lady Cherry! Love the boudoir shots and became OBSESSED with the gloves!I need to get a pair, just for fun.



Related Posts with Thumbnails