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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Vintage Threads: Lauren Bacall's Striped Blouse

So simple and so chic
OK, it helps when you look like Lauren Bacall, but...
What women isn't flattered by a classic striped blouse?
I wonder how many times I've watched the movie To Have and Have Not since I first saw it back in university days..... The story's still got it - the people seem as real to me as my neighbors. Despite Bacall's beauty and elegant wardrobe she's just another gal with a problem. Hemingway's tale isn't about celebrities, it's about regular folks with problems and this great film kept true to that message.

The checked suit Bacall wore when we first met her in this classic film, provides obvious inspiration for vintage sewing enthusiasts. Who doesn't admire that bias cut skirt swaying so alluringly against the roll of the starlet's hips, and the wonderful shaping and buttons on the jacket? We all want an outfit like that! But would it do much good for the job we'd imagine ourselves doing in a muggy hotel basement in wartime Martinique?

It's this blouse that I first spotted on Bacall in a scene with Hoagy Carmichael, that really takes me time traveling back to that hotel, and make me itch to recreate her vintage garment. Like the jeans and Oxford shirt that Humphrey Bogart wears in the movie, this chic, striped blouse is a classic any lady would still be glad to create and own. Wouldn't it look great on any woman?

Full-On View of Lauren Bacall in the Striped Outfit
It could be a blouse and skirt
Or a shirtwaist dress
But when I time travel back to Martinique, I'm
making my version up as a shirt tucked into jeans
Later on in the movie we see the full-on view of this beautifully striped garment. With a light belt wrapped around Lauren's waist it's hard to tell whether or not it's really a blouse worn tucked into a matching skirt, or a shirtwaist dress. Does it matter? In my mind I'm hanging out in the cellar of a Martinique hotel with the Resistance fighters, too. And of course I'm wearing an up to date version of  Bacall's outfit. Her skirt is history when it comes to roughing it, but this little striped beauty tucked into my favorite jeans is what I've got in mind for my role in the modern retake on this story. Classically as well as practically dressed, as I always like to be, I'm definitely gonna be ready to really help out  when the police come calling. 

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