Cinema Style Ep. 4

Hello and welcome to another episode of Cinema Style, but this time, it’s the ~Christmas Edition~.

For the month of December, I’ll be posting a few special festive editions of Cinema Style, exploring all things fur-trimmed and turtlenecked.

I figured we should start with a classic, and what could be more classic than White Christmas? (The film, not the Black Mirror episode.)

Now, the film itself is… questionable at times, from the occasionally stiff performances to the rah-rah-WWII numbers. Like any good Christmas flick, there’s a healthy dose of camp served with a side of cheese. But what really sticks in my mind about White Christmas, and what we’re going to discuss today, is the incredible Christmas costuming.

Released in 1954, White Christmas stars Bing Crosby (the King of Christmas) and Danny Kaye as performing friends who join up with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen) to perform at a failing country inn in rural Vermont, which is owned by their former commander in WWII. Hijinks and extravagant musical numbers ensue.

The film received a mixed bag of reviews from critics, but was a hit with audiences. It was, by a wide margin, the top-grossing film of the year. The film was especially notable for being the first filmed in VistaVision, a new technology from Paramount that enabled them to shoot a wider surface area than 35mm. Think of what a big deal it was when we first began releasing features films in 3D.

Now, the costuming in the film was done by the incomparable Edith Head, who I have mentioned in this blog before, specifically in the piece on Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

I’m not going to spend this entire post waxing poetic about Edith Head but just know: she’s a genius, she’s iconic and when I grow up I want to be her.

With Head on the team, it’s a guarantee we’ll have some incredible costuming moments, especially with the sisters Betty and Judy.

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Vera Ellen as Judy Haynes (left) and Rosemary Clooney as Betty Haynes. Image Source.

Whether it’s their “everyday” clothes or their stage outfits, Betty and Judy deliver look after look throughout the film.

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Betty (L) and Judy performing “Sisters” . Image Source.

Of course, the musical performances allow for all the best high-drama costuming moments. I’m talking specifically about that black dress Rosemary Clooney wears in the “Love, You Didn’t Do Me Right” performance.

The neckline. The fit. The rhinestone-encrusted gloves. The pink curtain. The drama.

Not to mention it’s super effective, when you’re performing a passionate, sorrowful song about a broken heart, to have men dressed in all black dance slowly around you. I’ve yet to try it myself but I’m sure it’s foolproof.

This particular dress also marks a turn for Betty in the film. Prior to this moment, she is the more modestly dressed compared to her outgoing sister, who is always sporting tight-fitting brightly-coloured clothing. However, as Betty emerges as Bob’s love interest and a diva in her own right, her wardrobe begins to reflect that. This can be considered a signature of Head’s skills – the emotional arc of characters being reflected in their wardrobe. (Though, Judy doesn’t really go through the character development Betty does, but she does come into herself.)

Certainly, Judy’s performances give some memorable wardrobe moments, including the Mistral Number scene, where Judy’s dance skills are showcased as much as her ridiculously beautiful legs.

Bob and Phil (Crosby and Kaye, respectively) are onstage in this sequence too, rocking some classic top hats and coattails.

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Phil, Judy and Bob. Image Source.

In the nature of full disclosure, the colouring of this scene actually makes me slightly uncomfortable, but that’s Technicolor for ya.

But of course, the most iconic scene and costumes come from the final musical number, where all four characters don variations of a Santa Claus-esque look.

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Image via Pinterest.

That red satin and white trim makes for a fairly literal interpretation of Christmas, but is also a classic for a reason. This is my ideal Christmas season aesthetic, and obviously is applicable to everyday life. 10/10 would wear this to the mall.

White Christmas is many things: a big-budget musical, a holiday classic, a campy, cheesy romp and a whirlwind of technicolored finery. For me, it’s full of lush, dreamy costumes that provide endless inspiration for this time of year. Also, it’s pretty great to have on in the background when wrapping presents.

Sources

IMDb

Wikipedia

Screen Prism

Back to Basics

In the summer, and for a portion of autumn, I went through a style rut; one of those periods when you suddenly hate everything in your closet and everything looks terrible on you and maybe you should move to a remote patch of forest in Germany and wear the same track pants and t-shirt for the rest of your life because who cares.

Maybe that last part was too specific. But you can catch my drift.

There is no immediate cure to a spot of low self-esteem. I encounter them frequently, and while I do have my go-to quick fixes (listening to 80s music, going for a run, watching a good action movie) there is no true solution for it. It takes a bit of time and a dash of inspiration.

For me, that was found in returning to the simple stuff – going back to basics. And I mean that both in a “go back to what you know” way and a “wearing plain basics is awesome” way.

Once you find that space to return to, the inspiration and creativity comes back bit by bit. I’ve become excited about getting dressed again, about planning outfits the night before and putting together looks from head to toe.

It’s the same with this blog. Since I’m working full-time and writing occasionally for Novella, there is little time to come back to the blog, despite how much I love it. But I wanted to, and to come back for the third or fourth time, I decided to go back to the beginning with a simple outfit post on a simple outfit.

Simple, but effective. (I think, at least.)

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I love creating a look based entirely in neutrals, either warm earthy-tones or stark black and white. I matched the outfit almost entirely except for my blue jeans, which add some colour and depth to the outfit. Not to mention, a turtleneck and pair of mom jeans is a classic fall/winter look. Do I look like a 70s ski mom? Maybe. Am I okay with that? Definitely.

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While I definitely love my more outlandish looks (and of course, “outlandish” is a sliding scale dependent on the person) I also love donning my more subtle creations.

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This is a look I would wear absolutely anywhere: shopping, a coffee date, lunch, dinner, work. You name it, this is the go-to I have for it.

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And with the cold weather coming, we have to keep coats in mind. This long coat from Monki goes with everything in my wardrobe and is perfect to chuck on before speeding out the door. I do always love a good outerwear moment, and am impatiently awaiting opportunities to bust out some other coats in my collection.

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Sure, this look isn’t going to go on a Top 10 list. It’s something I feel good in: comfortable and confident, something that puts me in the mindset to create other, more exciting outfits. It’s something that, frankly, works, when nothing else does.

OUTFIT DETAILS

Coat – Monki via ASOS (Similar)

Turtleneck – Anthropologie (Similar)

Jeans – American Apparel (Similar)

Belt – Free People

Boots – Urban Outiftters

Bag – Urban Outfitters