Today is Friday, so it’s time for another Film Fashion Friday article! This series is about an area of the film industry which we don’t consider as often as the cinematography, scripts, or even the background music. Nonetheless, that area is a very important part of what we see on the screen. The area to which I refer is costumes. Classic films can be told apart from modern films, if not for their quality, for the costumes of their actors. The vintage style which one sees in every modern film from the Golden Era is so lovely and tasteful that one can’t help but be pleased by it. We can do more than just admire this style, though. This series is PEPS’s way of encouraging our readers to imitate vintage glamour for their own sense of retro style with modern clothes.
Rather than always choosing random costumes for my articles, I try to select topics which qualify as blogathon entries. This article is my entry in The Third Annual Lauren Bacall Blogathon, which runs November 20-22. It is being hosted by Crystal Kalyana of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood. In honor of this classic actress, I am writing this week’s article about one of the costumes which she wore.
I decided to write about Lauren Bacall’s outfit from Key Largo from 1948. She wears this ensemble for the duration of this film noir, which was her final pairing with her husband, Humphrey Bogart. As Nora Temple, the widowed daughter-in-law of a Florida Keys hotel owner, her style is simple yet very lovely. Her outfit is a great example of a casual vintage outfit. It isn’t fancy, but it is still very feminine and very pretty.
Nora’s outfit consists of a simple white blouse and a gray skirt, completed with a wide black belt. She wears flat shoes which are practical yet still cute. She dresses it up with jewelry to add some feminine flair. Although she wears the same outfit throughout the whole film, one doesn’t get tired of seeing it. It has a simple charm which is always nice. Let’s analyze its different components.
As her blouse, she wears a simple white shirt. It is your average tailored white shirt. It has buttons up its front and a plain collar. It has long sleeves, which she cuffs up to her fore-arm. The top few buttons are unbuttoned. The below blouse from Amazon is a good match for this. It is 100% cotton. It has a classic fit. There is a left breast pocket, like Nora’s. There are eight plastic buttons up the front. It comes in white and fifteen other colors and patterns. It costs $16.05-$19.50.
The other component of this outfit is a gray skirt. It is a flared A-line skirt with pleats. It reaches to her mid-calves. It pulls in at the waist and then flairs. There are pockets on either side, which you can see from the fact that Nora frequently puts her hands in them. Let’s see what similar items Amazon sells.
The above skirt from Amazon is a good option. It is 75% polyester and 25% cotton. It is a high-waisted A-line, mid-calf skirt. It has a side zipper and a button closure at the waistband. It is nicely flared. It comes in beige, black, burgundy, gray, khaki, brown plaid, brown plaid, gray plaid, and green plaid. It comes in a slightly different design with a matching fabric belt in black, burgundy, and gray. I actually purchased this skirt in the gray design with a belt. It is an excellent garment of a very high quality. The only drawback of this item is that it is quite woolen. Although that is lovely in the cold weather, it is hardly necessary or appropriate for the Florida Keys during the summer! Just the same, it is a fine item. It costs $34.99.
The above skirt from Amazon is another good option for this outfit. It is a cotton polyester blend. It’s a standard A-line skirt. It is high-waisted, and it reaches below the knee, although it isn’t as long as the previous skirt. It isn’t flared like Nora’s, but it is a very pretty simple skirt. It has the advantage of being less woolen than the previous option. It comes in black, navy, and charcoal. It costs $23.90.
The above skirt from Amazon is the third option. It is 100% polyester. It is long and flared, and the many pleats look like those on Lauren’s. It has an elastic closure with a bow to tie in the back. Nora’s doesn’t have a bow in the back, but the ribbon could be tied in a simple knot and tucked in at the back. It has side pockets. It comes in black, wine red, and dark gray. At $18.99, it is an excellent bargain.
Nora’s outfit is accented by a wide black belt. It looks like it is patent leather. It has a large rectangular metal buckle at the front. It has holes which are fastened with the buckle. There are two different options which I recommend for this piece.The above belt from Amazon is one option. It is patent leather in the front and elastic on the back to make it stretchy. It is three inches wide. It has a large black patent leather buckle at the front and functional holes. It comes in two sizes. The color options are black, baby pink, beige, burgundy, coral, green, hot pink, navy blue, off white, orange, purple, red, teal, yellow, and brown. It costs $11.99.
The above belt from Amazon is another option for this item. It is synthetic leather and patent leather all the way around. It is one and a half inches wide. It has a zinc alloy buckle which looks like silver. It comes in black, navy, dark red, fuchsia, orange, red, royal blue, yellow, white, blue, pink, lime green, and mustard. It costs $23.43.
No outfit is complete without the right shoes. Nora wears more unusual shoes than your standard pumps with this outfit. Throughout the course of the film, she is walking around outside, sometimes on rather uneven terrain, like a pier. It could be dangerous to wear high heels in these situations. Instead, she wears flat shoes with ties at the ankle. A modern woman would be inclined to wear tennis shoes, but Nora’s shoes are very cute as well as functional. In addition to being practical, these shoes had the added benefit of not adding height to Miss Bacall. Lauren Bacall was quite tall for a woman at 5″8, and Humphrey Bogart was only 5″9.It was advantageous to not increase her height substantially. They look like they are gray with black ties at the ankle. They have round toes and a small white sole. Let’s see if Amazon has anything similar.
The above shoes from Amazon are about as close as I could find to the shoes which Lauren Bacall wears in the movie. They are flat with a round toe. They have an ankle strap with a buckle rather than a tie at the ankle. They are suede with a rubber sole. They come in grey suede, which is the most similar option. Other viable options for this outfit would be black suede or black pu, which looks like artificial leather. It also comes in ten other pattern or color options. These shoes cost $20.99-$39.99, depending on which size and color you choose.
The above shoes from Amazon are another option. They are very similar to the previous shoes. The foot of the shoe does not dip down on these shoes as on the previous option. They are also suede with a rubber sole. They come in a darker grey suede, black suede, black synthetic leather, and eleven other patterns or colors. They cost $13.99-$21.99, depending on the color and size you order.
Nora dresses up the outfit with some jewelry. If she’s wearing earrings, they aren’t clearly visible. In addition to her wedding ring, she is wearing a bracelet and a necklace. The necklace is tight, almost a choker. It consists of several hearts connected by a silver chain. The hearts have lacy filigree around their edges. They seem to be light-colored in the center, black on the outside, and light again at the very edges. At the center, one larger heart hangs down. Let’s see if we can find anything similar at Amazon.
The above necklace from Amazon is the only one I could find which is a chain of several hearts. It is a choker with adjustable sizing. It comes in silver as well as gold. The hearts are small and just the outline. They are the same size all the way around. The material is alloy. The necklace’s length is 12.8 inches, plus 4 inches for the extension chain. At only $7.99, I’d say that this is a good value.
The above necklace from Amazon is my second recommendation. It comes in a set with a matching bracelet. The necklace consists of a medium-sized stainless steel chain with a plain silver heart charm at the center. Above the charm is a toggle clasp. The necklace is 18 inches in length. The bracelet is exactly the same, except that it is only 7.5 inches long. This is a good choice because it already comes with a good bracelet. The set costs $15.75.
Nora also wears a bracelet. If you purchase my first necklace option instead of the set, you will have to get a separate bracelet. Her bracelet is actually a silver bracelet watch. It has a small, round white face. The band is tight and consists of different pieces of varying sizes. It is very delicate and pretty. The below watch from Amazon is a good option. It is a bracelet watch which comes in a set with three other bracelets. It has a white mother-of-pearl face, and its silver band is accented with Swarovski crystals, as are the other bracelets. It costs $59.99.
That concludes my description of this outfit! It is a lovely example of a casual outfit which is simple yet feminine and very pretty. It is a good formula which you can follow for making many different outfits. You could choose a different color for the blouse, perhaps even a pattern, or the skirt. You could also pair different-colored shoes or a different belt. Thus, you can make an outfit like this to suit your own taste. Most importantly, imitate Lauren Bacall’s elegant sense of grace and charm. In this film, she shows that you don’t have to wear extravagant clothes to be beautiful. She had genuine beauty, which is charmingly shown even in this simple outfit.
If you want to observe Miss Bacall’s (or should I say Mrs. Bogart’s?) style for yourself, I suggest that you purchase the movie and study her outfit firsthand! Click the above image to rent or purchase Key Largo on Amazon Video.
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!
To every Glamour Girl and Dapper Dan, “Here’s looking at you, kid!”
This year, PEPS is celebrating the holidays with a blogathon! It is called The Happy Holidays Blogathon, and it will run December 6-8. It is all about films which feature the winter holidays. Eligible holidays include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, News Years, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Epiphany, Russian Christmas, and Russian New Years! Whether it is just one scene or the whole film, this is your chance to write about your favorite holiday movies!
Follow us to bring back the Code and save the arts in America!