Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce (1945) (Take 2)

Not only is Mildred Pierce one of the best mother-daughter relationship movies ever made, but I believe that it is also one of the best examples of film noir. Because it has a heroine rather than a femme fatale, it doesn't exactly fit the noir mold, but there is a murder mystery at the heart of it and it is filled with pure sociopaths who mix with earnest people trying to better their place in the world.

Joan Crawford revived her career playing Mildred Pierce, a bootstraping mother whose one weakness is her spoiled, selfish daughter Vida. Crawford won the Oscar for the role and now it is a new mini-series by HBO starring Kate Winslet and Evan Rachel Wood. In honor of the revival, I will spend this week re-creating outfits from the original Mildred Pierce and from some Kate Winslet's movies. (I don't have cable but I can't wait for the mini-series to migrate to Netflix so I can catch it.)

I have done one look from this movie before. This pinafore skirt with billowly white shirt outfit appeared in Mildred Piere but also in Woman of the Year with Kate Hepburn.

The look I have chosen to re-create is what Mildred wears when she is trying to secure a loan to start her business -- a restaurant. And it is a perfect outfit for a job interview or big work presentation -- anytime one wants to impress.

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

Jacket: Spiegel, Signature Pinstripe Suiting Collection, Peplum Blazer, on sale for $59
Skirt: Spiegel, Signature Pinstripe Suiting Collection, High-Waisted Pencil Skirt, on sale for $29
Top: Ann Taylor, Crossover Wrap in Wet Stucco, $44
Brooch: Lucky Brand, Feather Brooch, final sale for $11.99
Shoes: Steve Madden Ulltra Pumps in Black Patent, $69.95
Total: $213.94

It seems that Spiegel is phasing out this awesome line of pinstripe suiting because it is all on sale now. The fitted jacket and high waisted skirt are under $100 together which is a great price for suiting. The pinstripe matches Crawford's suit and the cut of these pieces look very retro without going too far afield.

The top mimics the same wrapping that Crawford's top does and you finish it with this great gold feather pin to give this suit a focal point. This little bit of shine is matched with the shine from the patent leather shoes. I love the simple shape of this one and the modest height of the heel. If I were wearing this look, I might copy Joan even more and pull my hair back in a low ponytail to make the feather brooch even more noticeable.

Altogether this is a complete job interview look for only a little over $200. It has some sophistication and personality but still rings professional. This look launched the character of Mildred Pierce on her way to fortune during the depression and this updated version would be a great choice for any lady trying to land a new job.

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