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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In a past life...

In a past life...I just KNOW I was a glamorous babe from the '50s. My entire life I've had an affinity for the style--from the fingerwaves to the red lips, the high-waisted skirts to the hot pants...I love it all. No, I wouldn't have been a tawdry Bettie Paige--but don't file me under Audrey Hepburn just yet. I'd like to think I would have been a delicious mix of American girl, 75% lady, 10% rebel, 15% sex kitten. Think of the Grace Kellys and Rita Hayworths of the world. The Elizabeth Taylors; with smoky come hither eyes that spoke what dare not be whispered. Yet, the dress gloves would never came off. That subdued control--despite my strong feminine will--is something that impresses me to this day. I don't look at it as submission at all; rather, self-control, pure and simple. That composure literally defines the class and strikingly fierce elegance of a 50's woman, in my opinion.

I've always taken pleasure in browsing through literature and any sort of fashion from the 1950's, and so I thoroughly enjoyed a recent "borrow" from the library--"Fashion of a Decade: the 1950's" by Patricia Baker.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite photos from the book that reaffirm why vintage glamour is so timeless and dear to my heart. Please enjoy!

This Hardy Amies "S-line" skirt and jacket combo in plaid is so chic. Honestly, though, my favorite is this adorable hat! I do apologize that my Instagram photos don't do the originals justice--because you are missing out on the eyelets that make this hat so darn cute and feminine. It is the most interesting combination between a cloche and a little bonnet...I love it, and the gathers are inspiring me to sew one just like it! Tossing that into my "I SEW need to do this" pile.

Garters are sexy as hell. 'Nuff said.

Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" (1954)

I love this photo for several reasons. First of all, Grace Kelly is simply gorgeous in it. Secondarily, I would buy both of these dresses...and similar ones hang in my closet. From a fashion standpoint, it isn't the highbrow evening dress or glitzy broad shouldered fur coat from the '50s that catch my eye. It is the pure femininity and implicit sexuality, style and character of the everyday frock. THIS is what I love about the '50s. THIS is what I love about fashion, in general.
It reminds me of a song lyric--Erykah Badu, in fact. From a song called "Cleva", on the album "Mama's Gun":

"My dress ain't cost nothin' but seven dollars
But I made it fly.
And I'll tell ya why.
'Cause I'm clevah".

The ingenuity, implied sex appeal and application of any given outfit on a girl is what transforms a woman into a bombshell. You can't buy that in a bottle, and you can't order it from Banana Republic. It is simply a talent, and if you can balance the "come hither" with a little class, well, the duality of both the demure and dazzle will bring you much adoration from men and women alike.

I'm attaching some full color shots for you to enjoy below.
Who's your favorite 1950's icon, and why?

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