Today is Friday, so it’s time for another article in our weekly series about fashion, Film Fashion Fridays. Every week, I choose a different outfit or fashion concept from a Code film and use pictures from one or more movies as examples. Then, I provide pictures of products from Amazon which I recommend for recreating these outfits. If you click on any of these images, you will be brought to that product’s page at Amazon. If you make a purchase there, we will get a small commission through the Amazon Affiliate program. Not only will you be getting a great product for yourself, you will be supporting PEPS and our research. This support enables us to keep publishing these articles week after week.
One of the most iconic vintage styles for ladies is the 1950s swing dress. With its form-fitting bodice and flared skirt, this dress was made to show off the hourglass figure which was so popular in the 1950s. If one wants to buy vintage remix clothes, modern clothes which were purposely made in a vintage style, the two decades which one finds the most are the 1920s and 1950s. The flapper dress and the rockabilly swing dress are styles which are so popular that you find them in every vintage-themed store and even some modern clothing shops. Naturally, there are dozens of 1950s-style dresses on Amazon. The swing or rockabilly dress is the look which I find the most when looking for other vintage styles. Thus, I decided to stop fighting the popularity and make that style my topic for this week. After all, it is a lovely and flattering look from part of the Breen Era.
I had to choose a particular Code film from which to take my example for this sort of dress. This wasn’t difficult, since this style is found in most 1950s films. The movie which immediately came to my mind as featuring this type of dress is Confidentially Connie from 1953. Although she plays an expectant mother, Janet Leigh’s character, Connie Bedloe, a young wife who is not far along in her first journey toward motherhood, still possesses an amazing figure. Perhaps she keeps such a trim figure because her husband, Joe Bedlow (Van Johnson), is an underpaid college professor who can’t afford the red meat which she craves. Connie Bedloe shows her charming figure in a series of very pretty but always decent 1950s-style dresses. The one which I chose for today’s topic is the dress which she wears when she first meets her husband’s estranged father, stubborn but lovable cattle rancher Opie Bedloe (Louis Calhern).
This particular dress is one color. It seems to have a very light pattern, but at first glance it looks like it is a solid color. The dress has cap sleeves with a small white cuff. It has a line up the front of its bodice. The collar comes up high on her neck and has a little white turned-over collar, which is done up with a small bow of a darker color. There is a belt of the same material and a small buckle at the waist. The skirt then flares until it stops a few inches below her waist.
Since this movie is in black and white, one can only guess as to this dress’s color. Obviously, it is light-colored. It looks light gray. Although it could actually be a shade of gray, it probably is a brighter color than that. It could be blue, lilac, soft green, or any number of other shades. In the above illustrated poster for this film, Connie is wearing the dress which we are covering today. As you can see, it has been colored as pink. Of course, such cover art was not always accurate. Even in the above picture, there is a notable flaw in the fact that the bow is the same color rather than a contrasting shade, such as red. However, I will take that as a guide and recommend pink dresses from Amazon. However, most of them come in other colors or patterns, so you can choose whichever material you like best.
The above dress from Amazon is a lovely swing dress. Like Janet Leigh’s dress, it has cap sleeves, a fitted bodice, a pulled-in waist, and a flared skirt. It has no white trim on the cuffs or collar; it is one solid color. Instead of a belt, it has a matching tie which can be done into a bow at the front. The material is 90% cotton and 10% elastane. This dress is pictured above in coral, the color which I thought was the most similar to the shade in the poster. What is very nice is that this dress also comes in army green, black, black purple flower, black red flower, black white dot, blue black dot, blue flower, blue red flower, blue white, blush, burgundy, cherry, dark red, forest green, gray, ivory, lemon, navy, navy grid, navy white dot, purple, purple flower, red, red black dot, red flower, red white dot, royal blue, sky blue, Tiffany blue, white black rose, yellow, black blue flower, black purple dot, black white dot B, black white rose, pink white dot, black red dot, cherry 2, royal blue white dot, red black dot B, red white dot B, and cherry 3. It costs $18.69-$28.69, depending on which size and color you buy, which is an excellent price for such a nice dress.
The above dress from Amazon is another lovely option for this ensemble. It too is a swing dress with a flared skirt. It also is one color throughout, but it has more styling in the bodice. The cap sleeves are cut very short. It has a cute turned over collar which leads into a row of heart-shaped buttons on a ruffled panel down the front. It has a bow tie in the front. The material is 90% cotton and 10% elastane. The dress is pictured above in coral, but it also comes in burgundy, dark red, red, Tiffany blue, turmeric, yellow, grey, navy, purple, army green, forest green, royal blue, and blush. At $23.99-$29.99, it seems to be a very good bargain.
The above dress from Amazon is the first option I am providing which features some of the style of Connie’s dress. Of course, like all the others, it is a swing dress with a flared skirt. However, unlike the others, it has white trim on the collars and the cuffs, and the cap sleeves are longer. These are lovely accents which make the dress look more like the one Miss Leigh wears in the movie. The top of the dress has the look of being a little coat over the skirt, although they actually are one piece. The bodice is quite fitted, and it has four small buttons up its front at a slight slant. Although it has neither a belt nor a tie at the waist, this structure gives definition to the figure. This dress’s material is 95% polyester and 5% spandex. On the page where this dress is sold, there are thirteen different options. However, rather than just being color options, they are style options. Each option is an entirely different design as well as a different color. The pictured style only comes in royal blue, which is the color you see. This dress costs $32.98.
The above dress which is another style offered on the same page as the previous dress. However, the style is different enough to warrant its own description. Like the last dress, it is a swing dress with a flared skirt and a bodice which looks like it is a separate coat. This bodice also has a collar and cuffs. The difference is that these accents are the same color as the rest of the dress instead of being white, as they are in the movie. This little coat has little flares at the hips. It has two rows of small buttons up the front. Although it doesn’t come with a belt or a bow, there is a line around the waist where the flares begin on the coat, and this gives the hourglass shape. This garment is made of 65% cotton, 30% chinlon, and 5% spandex. This particular style only comes in pink, which is pictured. This dress costs $36.98.
The above dress from Amazon is another fine option for this outfit. It is a swing dress with a flared skirt. It has a collar and cap sleeves with cuffs. Instead of being different colors, these accents both have thin black trim. There are shiny black buttons all the way up the front of the dress, which almost give it the look of a coat dress. The dress is fastened at the waist with a black belt. This dress is 92% polyester and 8% spandex. This dress is pictured in light blue. It also comes in a darker blue, which also has black accents. This dress costs $36.98 in every color and size option except blue XX-Large, which is $26.98.
The above dress is probably the most similar option to Janet Leigh’s costume in the movie which you will find on Amazon. It is a flared-skirt swing dress. It has white collars and cuffs with longer cap sleeves. It has a fitted bodice which is part of the dress rather than looking like a coat over it. There are small white faux pearl buttons up the dress’s front. This dress has neither a belt nor a bow tie at the waist, but it does have a line, which clearly defines the transition between the bodice and the skirt. Its material is 92% polyester and 8% spandex. In this particular style, this dress comes in pink, which is pictured, as well as dark green, mint green, black dot, light blue, sea green, yellow, blue, burgundy, and dark red. It also comes in red dot, which is red with black polka dots and black accents instead of white ones. In addition, at the same page, this dress is offered in a similar long sleeve style, which comes in black, with white accents, and red, with black accents. This dress costs $32.98-$35.99, depending on which style you choose.
The most important part of a swing dress is its full skirt. That gives the iconic look and the contrast with the waist. Although all the dresses I recommended above are cut with flared skirts, they won’t have the full 1950s look on their own. In the above picture, you can tell that Janet Leigh is wearing a petticoat under her skirt. You can even see it peaking out by her left leg. Her dress isn’t extremely full, so it evidently is a smaller petticoat than some. To get the right look, you must invest in a petticoat. The great thing about this garment is that it is very versatile and can be worn under dozens of dresses and skirts. I have added a petticoat to some of my modern pieces and been thrilled by the new vintage look I’ve created!
The above petticoat from Amazon is a great option for this ensemble. It is twenty-seven inches long, and it isn’t see-through. It has a nice smooth waistband which goes down quite a ways before the ruffles begin. This is good, since it will prevent lumps in the hip area, where skirts can be tighter. This petticoat is made of polyester and viscose. It is helpful that this petticoat comes in various sizes, ranging from small to 3X, so you can get a good fit. One of the best things about this particular garment is the wide array of colors in which it comes. In addition to white, you can buy it in black, ivory, navy, light pink, pink, red, rose red, blue, bright green, green, powder blue, sky blue, gray, yellow, and purple. Also, there are multiple package options, where you can get two petticoats for a discounted price. The color options for this deal are black and white, black and ivory, black and navy, black and red, black and black, white and red, and white and white. All these colors give you some wonderful styling options. It is almost impossible to keep your petticoat from showing occasionally. Although I think you should try to wear a long enough skirt to cover it most of the time, a petticoat is an undergarment which is acceptable to be seen occasionally. White looks great beneath most light colors, and black looks good with the dark ones. You can also match the petticoat’s color to the color of your dress. If you have an accent color on your dress, you can choose a petticoat of that color. On the other hand, if you are wearing a solid color dress, you can choose a petticoat of a different shade but in the same color family. If you study petticoats in Technicolor films, you will notice all these color styles on display. This petticoat costs $8.69-$23.99, depending on which color and size you order.
Naturally, no outfit is complete without shoes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a picture in which you can see Connie’s shoes. However, I watched the scene in which she wears them again, so I can describe them. They are high heels with round toes and heels that are about three inches high and rather thick. They are white, but the toes and heels are black. They are very cute. The nice thing about this color combination is that it would match with any of the dresses I suggested, no matter which color you choose. Having both white and black make them very versatile.
The above shoe from Amazon is a great option to go with this outfit. It has a round toe and a thicker heel. The toe and heel are black, but the rest of the shoe is white. The only difference between this shoe and the one Connie wears is that this one has a strap across the foot, whereas Connie’s is a plain pump. However, the strap across the foot was a very popular look in the 1950s, although not worn in this particular outfit, so it doesn’t break the look. The material is synthetic, but it looks like leather. There is a buckle on the strap. In addition to black and white, this shoe comes in gray and cream, navy and cream, red and cream, pink and cream, and plain black. You may want to opt for one of these other color choices, depending on which dress you buy. The pink and cream would look great with some of the pink dresses I recommended! This shoe costs $29.90-$29.90, depending on which color and size you purchase.The above shoe from option is another option for this outfit. It also has the white and black combination with a three inch heel. Unlike the other option, it doesn’t have the strap across the foot, like Miss Leigh’s shoe. However, the rest of the shoe’s styling is a little different. It has a pointed toe instead of a round one, and the heel is much thinner than the one in the movie. However, this is still a really sleek and beautiful shoe, and it would look great with any of the recommended dresses. It is patent leather. In addition to white with black accents, it comes in black with white accents and red with black accents. It costs $24.00.
Aside from her wedding ring, the only noticeable jewelry which Connie is wearing with this dress is earrings. Her earrings are large white pearls which are just on the ear. Pearls were a standard part of 1950s fashion. This simple style reflects the economic status of this professor’s wife. Like the rest of her wardrobe, these earrings are simple but very classy.
The above earrings from Amazon are a very nice and reasonable option. They are real freshwater pearls on 14K gold posts for pierced ears. The pearls in the earrings I selected are 8.5-9 mm, but at that page you can select difference sizes for different prices. The sizes range from 5.5-6 mm for $18.95 to 10.5-11 mm for $39.95. I chose this size option because it is in the middle in terms of size and price. This particular option costs $29.95.
The above earrings from Amazon are the best option for pearl earrings if you don’t have pierced ears. The real freshwater pearls are 9 mm. They have a rhodium-plated brass setting. The metal part goes under the ear and clasps at the back. They cost $19.99.
That concludes my description of this outfit! If you want to add a classic 1950s swing dress to your wardrobe, this is a great outfit with which to start. Using Janet Leigh’s lovely dress as a model, you can choose any number of dresses from Amazon and pair them with the accessories I suggested, plus a charming smile like Connie’s, to be a hit in this lovely 1950s style!
If you want to observe Miss Leigh’s style for yourself, I suggest that you purchase the movie and study her outfit firsthand! Click the above image to purchase Confidentially Connie on DVD at Amazon.
Remember, take pictures of yourself in vintage style and send them to me to be featured in a future Film Fashion Fridays article! I will gladly republish your pictures, advice, and experiences in vintage clothing for others to see and read. Let’s make Friday a day for film fashion!
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Calling all Phans to PEPS! This year, on September 23-25, I, Rebekah Brannan, will be hosting The Phantom of the Opera Blogathon. The title tells you exactly what it is. This blogathon will be dedicated to all adaptations, spin-offs, prequels, and sequels of the immortal tale The Phantom of the Opera! As devoted Phans, my sister and I could not let the 110th anniversary of the beginning of the original novel’s serialization in the newspaper Le Gaulois pass without some form of commemoration. I invite all of you to celebrate this wonderful event by joining The Phantom of the Opera Blogathon! Now, stay away from trapdoors, beware of shadows, and always keep your hand at the level of your eyes, because we’re off to the Paris Opera!
Come back in October for the third year of our annual Code celebration, The Third Annual Breening Blogathon! It is running from October 11-14 in honor of Joseph I. Breen’s 131st birthday. Whether you want to breen a film, review a new Code movie, or analyze some aspect of the years when Hollywood was governed by the Code, this is your chance to write about the topics which we always cover. What are your thoughts on the Code? This is your chance to play PCA-member or pretend that you are a member of PEPS. Let’s make this our most successful blogathon yet!
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