strong women in vintage film

7 02 2011

With fashion playing a more obvious role in such recent blockbuster hits as Black Swan, The King’s Speech and True Grit, I’ve been thinking more about my favorite old movies, and the strong woman who defined them, most certainly through the character, but visually through their bold dress.

I love 1938’s “Bringing Up Baby“, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Katherine’s clothes were characterized by definitive necklines and blousy, feminine fitting tops. I adore this floorlength, billowing silk number. It is so fitting for a woman bold enough to walk her tiger around town. And her ringlet-ed hair makes her simply ethereal striding beside Cary Grant.

The lovely Katherine Hepburn walking Baby

Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) is an obvious fashion film choice for me. Everyone knows Audrey Hepburn’s LBD with her bow-rimmed black hat and pearls, but her clothing throughout the film is stunning. I love Audrey in her casual sweater and pants outfit when she sings Moon River on the fire escape. Take this cocktail party dress, which is draped so elegantly over her slim figure. I love the updo with the waist-cinched gown. The George Peppard’s classic looks complement Ms. Hepburn’s wonderful fashion.

Can I get a light?

I find comforting inspiration from the fashion in “Barefoot in the Park” (1967) with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. The flirty relationship between Fonda and Redford helps define the fashion in the film. The downtown, cozy love shack sets the scene for Fonda’s effortless looks. I love this candy-colored pink shift Fonda wears in the film. The casual up-do complements the perfectly pink dress and adds to Fonda’s sweet demeanor.

Jane Fonda in bubble-gum pink

Barbra Streisand’s looks in 1972’s “What’s Up Doc?” with Ryan O’Neil are oh-so-sexy and oh-so-seventies. Babs is perfectly sunkissed and super sassy, thus naturally she wears fierce, brightly colored duds. I love her doe-eyes, long, wavy locks and strappy, fitted top in this look. This fast-talking siren can outsmart Ryan O’Neil any day.

Sassy-looking Barbra Streisand

It’s that time of year when you may find yourself in a style rut. It’s too easy to throw on jeans, a shirt and a cardigan each morning when you’re cold and sleepy. Curl up on the couch next weekend and watch these movies as well as your favorites to find new inspiration in vintage film fashion. Share your personal picks here!

Be wonderful.

Grace

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