Friday, September 23, 2011

The Working Woman's Guide to Film Fashion

This is my contribution to the Hollywood Revue's Fashion in Film Blogathon. For the complete line-up, click here. I can't wait to to get glamoured-up!

Up until the most recent decades (and the advent of the dreaded "casual Friday"), women in the workplace had very few role models. This was particularly true regarding fashion in the workplace. So, when real life fails, we girls have to resort to reel life for our "dos" and "don'ts".

Depending on your job category and type of employment, here are some handy film fashion "dos" and "don'ts" to help you complete your working day and night ensemble.

Factory Worker
These ladies work hard for their money (no reason not to look good doing it!).
Shelly Winters in "A Place in the Sun" - very drab - a definite "don't."
Sally Field as "Norma Rae" - a "do" only if you can 
carry off the tight jeans and the sweat.

Maria from "Metropolis" - a definite "do" - very chic
It is important to look good while cleaning up.
Angela Lansbury in "Gaslight" - a traditional "do" 
made better by a cheeky attitude.
Merry Clayton, Ally Sheedy &
Begona Plaza - 3 "do"s from movie "Maid To Order"

Jennifer Lopez  - a drab "don't" in "Maid in Manhattan."

Always on display and always a topic of conversation (and sometimes a crush or two).
Doris Day is  a "do" as the teacher in "Teacher's Pet."
Jennifer Jones in a "don't" in "Good Morning Miss Dove".
She needn't be so sedate!

Cameron Diaz - a "do" and a "don't" in "Bad Teacher" -
 it all depends on  your statement!
A lifelong career for these ladies. The Lord likes a good habit.
Audrey Hepburn in "A Nun's Story" - a "do" for summer months.

Deborah Kerr in "Black Narcissus" - a big "do" - very coordinated 
look under difficult circumstances.

Another "do" from Deborah Kerr in "Heaven Knows Mr. Allison" -
 proving the versatility of the habit: dignified, but sporty.

Shop Girl
Selling is difficult; looking well groomed helps.

A definite "do"  for Clara Bow in "It" that does double duty 
behind the counter and on the boss's desk.

Joan Crawford in "The Women" - a saleswoman  dressed for success - "do!"
Another "do" - Clare Danes in "Shopgirl" - classic.
The Waitress
Working hard for tips - what would we do without her?
Ellen Burstyn in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" -
she's a winner, but the outfit is a "don't."
Another "do" from Joan as "Mildred Pierce" -
good fit, good detail makes it special.
 The Executive and the Professional
Making it in a man's world isn't easy.
Leatrice Joy in "The Clinging Vine" - making it in man's world
 does not mean you have to look like a man - a big "don't."
Joan Crawford gets a "do" as business woman "Mildred Pierce."
A "do" from Katharine Hepburn as a lawyer in "Adam's Rib."

A big "do" from Diane Keaton as the business woman of  "Baby Boom."
Reese Witherspoon as a lawyer in "Legally Blonde 2" - 
a big "do" - elegant but individual.
Demi Moore in "Disclosure" - "don't" unless you want to get fired.
As an exec, Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl" became a "do."

Administrative Assistant (fka: Secretary)
Keeping that professional distance can be difficult; dressing right can help.
Jean Harlow in "Red-Headed Woman" - a "don't" 
unless you want to sleep with the boss.

Joan Crawford in "Grand Hotel" - first class "do."

Barbara Stanwyck in "Baby Face" - 
a "don't", but the dress doesn't stay on long.
Hope Lange in "The Best of Everything" - a "do" , especially when 
applyingfor a position. A hat and gloves are always a safe bet!
The "don't"s Secretary Pool from "The Best of Everything"
eyes chic Hope Lange - a "do" dressed for success.

The "9 to 5" ladies - "don'ts" on so many levels!
As secretaries, "Working Girl"s Melanie Griffith
and Joan Cusak were big-hair "don't"s.
The Newspaper Gals
Writers and go-getters who always get the scoop!

"Do"! - Roz Russell knocks it out of the park in
 "His Girl Friday" in all ways - suits, hats, and smarts!
Katharine Hepburn in "Woman of the Year" is a 
total "do" - let the boss know what you've got!
The Artistic and Fashion Women
These ladies are my favorite, combining fashion, function and flair!

Gene Tierney in "Laura" - the accessory queen and a big "do" - 
even if the gloves do have to come off at the office.

"Laura" again with another "do" - the lunch time hat. Go for it, ladies!
Meryl Streep a total "do" in "The Devil Wears Prada."

Grace Kelly in "Rear Window" - her business was fashion, so a big "do."

Barbara Bel Geddes in "Vertigo" - sorry, Babs,  but you
come up a "don't here. You design brassieres for heaven's sake -
sex it up a bit and Jimmy won't go stalking Kim! 
The Doris Day Working Woman Hall of Fame
Doris was not the professional virgin of movie legend. Instead, she almost always played a working woman of strength and integrity. Plus, she really knew how to dress. In "Pillow Talk" and "Lover Come Back" she played an interior decorator and a Madison Avenue Ad Exec. Here are just a few of the "dos" from Doris!
"Lover Come Back"
"Lover Come Back"
"Pillow Talk"

"Lover Come Back"

"Pillow Talk"
The Working Woman After Dark
Sometimes, the working day spills into the night and a gal has to attend functions of a business nature. These ladies show us there is no reason not to look chic and glamorous for a client.
Gene Tierney as "Laura" - always a "do."
Grace Kelly in "Rear Window" - impossibly chic and elegant "do."
One more Doris "do" - from "Lover Come  Back."
Now that I have all of my "dos" and "don'ts" listed and memorized, I am off to Target to see if I can conjure up a good budget wardrobe for the work-week ahead! I wonder if they carry white gloves and veils?


Caftan Woman said...

Wonderful stroll through workplace fashion. Your comments were spot on.

My workplace fashion icon was Barbara Hale as Della Street on "Perry Mason". On my good days I achieved "Della". On most days I looked like the don'ts from "Nine to Five". Aargh!

FlickChick said...

Actually, I would have liked to have looked like Audrey Hepburn, but she rarely was a working girl in her films. Doris was more my cup of tea, but I never went for the gloves!

ClassicBecky said...

Doris is fabulous, but Gene as Laura comes up the winner for me! Those outfits are to die for, the bizarre gloves, the lunch hat, that white dress -- oh man! And I love the pre-code outfits. And to tell the truth, the nuns look gorgeous! Of course, those particular nuns ARE gorgeous, so that can't be totally the outfits.

This is such a fun post, FlickChick. Your captions are hilarious. I'll be back to see these pictures more than once!

monty said...

Wow! Such a fun and cool post. I love it. Awesome poll. I love Roz's clothes from His Girl Friday and Jean Harlow's to name a few of the ones you mentioned.

FlickChick said...

Becky - you're a charmer. I guess I can't really relate to Laura because she is so damn beautiful I couldn't even approach her in my dreams!

FlickChick said...

Hi Monty - agreed that Roz Russell looks amazing in "His Girl Friday." Every outfit was a stunner. I was hard pressed to just pick one!

Audrey said...

What a great idea for a post! I love the "Doris Day Hall of Fame" and Gene Tierney's looks. I think the latter might be a bit too glamorous for the office these days, though!

Oh, and was Barbara Bel Geddes in Rear Window? I don't remember her in it. I think she might have been in Vertigo, though.

@Caftan Woman: I LOVE Della. Another working woman from a TV show would be Sally Rogers on The Dick van Dyke Show. A really fun topic to be sure! I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with for this blogathon.

FlickChick said...

Audrey - of course Barbara Bel Geddes was in Vertigo - I was having a Hitchcock dyslexic moment there! If I were add TV, certainly my idol would be That Girl herself, Ann Marie!

Audrey said...

Oh, yes! I forgot about Ann Marie. She had an AMAZING wardrobe.

FlickChick said...

I used to dream about that wardrobe (though how she afforded it I'll never know, since she never held a job and barely got acting gigs).

Audrey said...

Yeah, I always wondered that too. Ahh, the magic of television. :)

FlickChick said...

Thanks for the catch on Vertigo - I feel like such a dummy!

Audrey said...

Don't feel bad. I make mistakes like that all the time. :)

Anonymous said...

Ah, I love it! Doris Day's office attire is amazing and Gene's striped gloves? Those gloves are so awesomely over the top that I kinda wish they'd make a comeback. Thanks for such a fun contribution to the blogathon!

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Angela, and thank for for hosting the blogathon - can't wait to read everyone's stylish posts!

Meredith said...

I really like that you included Katharine Hepburn- I absolutely adore her clothes in Adam's Rib and Woman of the Year!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful idea for a post. It was so much fun to read! I love Grace Kelly's looks in Rear Window.

FlickChick said...

Meredith: Katharine Hepburn had so many gorgeous outfits in her films. I especially liked :The Philadelphia Story," but, alas, she was not a working girl in that, so didn't make the post.

FlickChick said...

Craig: how could I not include those wonderful Edith Head fashions from "Rear Window"? '50 fashion done to perfection!

Yvette said...

Too wonderful, FlickChick. Joan Crawford in MILDRED PIERCE had that stiff flat top bang thing down to a science.

I loved Meryl Streep's look, though maybe not so much the character.

And Doris Day. Memories!

I remember the days when you just weren't dressed unless you wore gloves. :)

The hat thing was a little before my time at any rate.

Yvette said...

Actually, now that I think on it. The hat thing was NOT before my time. I just broke the rule and refused to wear one. :)

But I always thought Doris looked great in hers.

FlickChick said...

Yvette -Yes, I never wore the hat, the gloves, or the evening gown - but I love to look at others live that fashionable and glamorous life!

Grand Old Movies said...

Such a great idea for a post, and SO beautifully done - love Doris Day's outfits, she always looked fabulous, and she had the figure and posture to look good wearing clothes. But you're right, the 'big hair' look doesn't make it. Thanks for your enjoyable and fun review!

FlickChick said...

Doris has always been a fashion inspiration to me. She always looked amazing. As far as the big hair, we must have thought it looked good once.... I wonder if it will ever come back (I hope not!!!).

Aubyn said...

I think Joan Crawford gets my vote for this list; she looks good in every photo.

I also think Carole Lombard made a very stylish manicurist in Hands Across The Table. And Jean Harlow rocked the secretary look in Wife vs. Secretary.

FlickChick said...

It was hard to keep my Crawford pictures under control - during the 30s and 40s she was untouchable. Lombard also was very chic. I might have to do part 2!

FlickChick said...

By the way, Rachel- thanks for those photos. Both Carole and Jean were definite "do"s!

Anonymous said...

So fun! Katharine Hepburn, for me, is the ideal fashionable lady successfully working in a man's world. Thank you for including her. Great job!

FlickChick said...

Kate was an inspiration for all independent women - and always looked great no matter what she was doing.

Christian Esquevin said...

Great post FlickChick and summary of a monumental topic in terms of images and stars to pick from. I enjoyed them all. Sorry I culdn't participate in this blogathon since I was away, but it doesn't look like I needed to. Super!

FlickChick said...

Thank you so much, Christian - but you were so missed. But then again, you are always fabulous on this topic!

Jessica P. said...

Love!! This was sooo cute and witty (as always).

I especially love the Doris Day Hall-of-Fame. That girl knew how to dress in Pillow Talk! I don't think there is a bad outfit in the whole movie.

Man and Leatrice Joy Gilbert really looks like her mother!

Inge Gregusch said...

Terrific, as always, FlickChick!

FlickChick said...

Hi, Jessica: Thank you! Doris was so elegant in "Pillow Talk" - I wanted to add that white gown with the fur jacket, too, but since she now regrets wearing fur, I declined.

And yes, Leatrice Jr. sure does resemble mom!

FlickChick said...

Thanks, Inge - happy blogging!

The Lady Eve said...

I just realized I hadn't commented on this most entertaining post, FC...An absolutely fabulous (speaking of working fashionistas) concept - it brought back memories of youth and Glamour's "dos and don'ts" page (and, from more recent times, the British version of "What Not to Wear"). Your selection of movie examples is perfection - and what a wide range of fields you've included! Factory girls, domestics, secretaries, professional women...magnificent.

You mentioned Audrey - style icon extraordinaire - in a comment. Couldn't help but be reminded of her as a "working girl" of sorts in "Tiffany's" (such fashion!). She and Shirley MacLaine in "Irma La Douce" and Elizabeth Taylor in "Butterfield 8" cover three different positions in a particular field - 'party girl,' 'street walker,' 'prostitute.' And what style statements each made - elegant, tacky and brazen. One do, one don't and an "if you've got it, flaunt it."

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Lady Eve. I toyed with adding that kind of "working" girl", but figured no matter what I chose, it would always be a "don't" in so many ways!

Dawn said...

What a glamorous post, Doris Day always had beautiful clothes as well as Gene Tierney... Not to forget to mention Audrey.. oh then there is Grace Kelly...

I would love to own all the clothes from the film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Dawn. I had such fun doing this, but it was so hard to have to leave so many out. Marilyn's outfits were dynamite in GPB, but I must say I dig Jane Russell's more.

Anonymous said...

Several things: 1.) Good to see Joan Crawford has such a strong standing. 2.) Remember how "His Girl Friday" takes place over the course of something like 24 hours and Rosalind Russell changes clothes several times and always has a hat and gloves to match whatever awesome and specific outfit she's wearing? Love it! 3.) Your "nuns" section made me laugh out loud.