Friday, April 15, 2011

Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce (1945) (Take 3)

Here's another great retro look from the classic Mildred Pierce with Joan Crawford. (You can read more about Mildred Pierce by clicking here.) In honor of the new mini-series re-make of the film on HBO, Hollywood Fashion Vault is celebrating Mildred this week.

This outfit is, in my opinion, typical of the old Hollywood glamour mill. Joan Crawford wears this look when her character Mildred is renovating her new restaurant. The studio system seems to think that women in the 1930s and 40s wore skirts and cream-colored wedge peep-toes when climbing ladders and hanging light bulbs! I guess they felt the suspenders added a workman feel to the look.

Anyway, Joan does look fabulous for someone doing manual labor. This look is adaptable for today for a casual day running errands and maybe shopping, although I would not recommend wearing it while doing home renovations.

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

Shirt: Forever 21, Plaid Boyfriend Shirt in Red/Navy, $19.90
Skirt: Land's End Canvas, Women's Patch Pocket Skirt, $49.50
Suspender's: American Apparel, Unisex Suspender in Brown, $18
Shoes: Softstyle Knot Enough in Cream Fresco, $42 via
Total: $129.40

Of course the film is in black and white, but I imagine the shirt as being a vibrant red and blue plaid and the rest of the outfit creams and khaki neutrals. There are lots of choices in the plaid shirt department. This one from Forever 21 is a great price.

The suspenders were harder to find. You could buy a men's pair if you can find them, but American Apparel had many choices of colors. I picked brown to play off of the other shades of brown in the skirt and shoes. You can also find some overall skirts and suspender skirts out there these days.

I really like the new brand from Land's End, called Land's End Canvas. I have a different skirt from them and I love it. It is well made and fits great. This skirt matches Joan's with the buttons down the front. It has some practical big pockets and a bit of pleating to make it very comfortable.

These shoes look a great deal more comfortable than Joan Crawford's from the movie. They look as if you could actually walk in them all day. (I doubt Joan could wear hers all day, much less climb a ladder in real life.) And these are a good price from Zappos.

The outfit as a whole is a great price and most people have one or more of these elements already in their closets. Putting this together has opened my eyes to using suspenders when you have a skirt that might not look right with a belt but you want to tuck in your shirt. What a practical way to utilize a retro element in a casual outfit!

Have you ever worn suspenders? Would you try them?


  1. These are so cute! I've always loved old movie fashion and sort have tried to immitate it too. Sometimes I've worn turbans or long gloves to class...haha

  2. Wow! Turbans to class. Adventurous! I would love to see pics. What are your favorite style movies?



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