Today is Friday, so it’s time for another Film Fashion Friday article. This series is dedicated to exploring and analyzing the fashion in Code films to develop an appreciate for classic cinema costumes, which you can copy to cultivate your own vintage style. If you by any of the products we recommend in links, PEPS will benefit from a small commission through the Amazon Affiliate program.
In honor of Memorial Week, which we are celebrating between the 25th, which is Memorial Day this year, and the 30th, which is the traditional date of Memorial Day, this article is about a costume from a war film. My topic for today is an outfit worn in Since You Went Away from 1944, a David O. Selznick drama about the battle of the home front, which was fought by families who struggled to keep going and remain strong during World War II. This is one of the most poignant and stirring World War II films ever made, even though it never shows one frame of battle. Since it was made during those times, this movie truly shows the difficulties which Americans faced during the war, such as food shortages and rationing, as well as the way they could help, such as victory gardens, taking in borders, volunteering with the Red Cross, and working at munitions plants. This film focuses on the Hilton family, a mother and her two daughters who must help each other after Pop goes to war.
The outfit I am reviewing today is worn by the older daughter, Jane Hilton (Jennifer Jones), who is seventeen when the story begins. She is in love with Cpl. Bill Smollett 2nd (Robert Walker), a nervous young soldier who is the grandson of the stubborn old colonel (Monty Woolley) who rents a room from the Hiltons. She wears this outfit on the day when Bill is transferred in preparation for shipping out. They start the day in church and then roam around fields together before their tender parting at the train station. This outfit is simple and sweet, consisting of a plaid skirt and a white ruffled blouse with a wide velvet belt. Like this character, it is youthful and pretty.
The skirt in this ensemble is full and reaches past her knees. It has a bit of white lace at its edge, which could be a small petticoat but is more likely just lace attached to the skirt’s hem. The skirt is white with a checkered plaid pattern. The designs are probably in blue or green, judging from their shade in black and white. Let’s consider what similar options Amazon offers.
The above skirt from Amazon is a good option. It is quite full. It has an elastic waistline and is 31 1/2 to 32 1/4 inches long, depending on which size you order. It has a grid pattern plaid. The material is 50% cotton and 50% polyester. The pictured pattern is navy, white, and red, which is called plaid 4. It also comes in five other plaid patterns. It costs $22.99-$25.99.
The above skirt from Amazon is another good option for this outfit. At calf-length, it appears longer than the previous option. It is quite full. It has an elastic waistband with a side zipper. This skirt has a plaid pattern. It is 98% polyester and 2% spandex. It comes in beige plaid (pictured), green plaid, khaki + orange plaid, orange + blue plaid, pearl grey plaid, red plaid, and dark grey plaid. None of the options look exactly like the pattern on Jane’s skirt, but there are some very nice color options. This garment costs $18.99-$23.99.
The above option from Amazon is more structured than the previous options, and more so than Jane’s skirt, as well. It has a square checker pattern instead of the looser plaid pattern. This is the fullest skirt, and it has structured pleats. At 24-26 inches, this is the shortest skirt. It is about knee-length. It has a side zipper and pockets. The material is 95% cotton and 5% spandex. It comes in black-white plaid (pictured), A-red-white-plaid, Green-plaid, Red-navy black, and forty-one non-plaid patterns. If you want a structured, more stylized skirt, this looks like an excellent option. It costs $12.98-20.98, depending on which pattern you order.
The other important item in this outfit is the blouse. Jane’s blouse is white and very feminine. Because of its blousy style, it could be called a peasant blouse. It is quite blousy through the torso. It has puffed sleeves which reach half-way to her elbow with a little tie on the side. There is a large ruffled overlay at the collar with lace at its edge. There is similar lace on the edges of the sleeves. You can’t see it in this picture, but her blouse has buttons up its back.
The above blouse from Amazon is one good option for this outfit. It is a good choice if you want a simple look. This garment is much like Jane’s blouse but lacks the ruffles and lace. It has a plain high neck, elbow-length puff sleeves with wide cuffs, and a keyhole back. It is 95% polyester and 5% spandex. It comes in white (pictured) and thirty-six other solid colors. It costs $14.99-$20.99, depending on which size and color you choose.
The above blouse from Amazon has a decidedly vintage neck because of its extra decorations. Its high neck has ruffles at the edges, as do its short puffed sleeves. It is quite fitted through the body. The material is 95% polyester and 5% spandex. This particular garment is called B-white on its product page, which also offers white blouses in four other styles, as well as eighteen other styles and colors. These blouses cost $9.99-$18.99, depending on the style, color, and size.
The above blouse is the most peasanty of the three options. It has a V-neck with ruffles which come down the front. It is loose through the body, and it has loose elbow-length sleeves with ruffled cuffs. It is 100% polyester. It comes in white (pictured), black, blue, brown red, dark green, navy blue, pink, and beige. It costs $23.99-$27.99, depending on the size and color.
The accessory which ties the outfit together is the wide belt which Jane wears. It appears to be black velvet. It covers the area where the blouse tucks into the skirt. This belt highlights Jane’s hourglass figure by pulling in the waist. The belt itself has a unique design, since it almost forms a heart in the front. It dips down at the center on top, swelling up on both sides. On the bottom, it comes down to a point over the center of her skirt. The firmness of the belt makes it reminiscent of medieval and Renaissance stomachers. The belt is fastened with two little silver snaps on the back.
The above belt from Amazon is a good option. This is the only velvet option. This belt is called an obi; it is essentially a long piece of black velvet material, which is wider in the middle and thinner on both ends. Thus, it is wrap-around and self-tie. It comes in black (pictured), apricot, green, lake blue, purple, white, and yellow. It costs $15.99.
The above belt from Amazon is another good option. It is one-piece with three snaps in the back. This is a thick belt comprised of multiple thin strips of leather crossed over each other. The back of the belt is elastic material. The material is 50% PU (faux leather) and 50% elastic. It comes in black (pictured), brown, gold, hot pink, navy, pink, red, silver, tan, white, and yellow. It costs $25.99.
The above belt from Amazon is a third good option. This leather belt is a solid piece which fastens in the front. Like Jane’s belt, it dips down in the front, where it fastens with a gold hook. It has elastic in the back. It is second layer cowhide and elastic with a metal hook. It is 31.5-41.5 inches long, since it is adjustable, and it is 2 inches wide. It comes in black (pictured), brown, coffee, and dark red. It costs $14.99.
The above belt from Amazon is a final good option. This belt is a lace-up waist cincher, truly in the style of a stomacher. The front it pointed on both top and bottom with leather material. The laces are not functional; the belt is closed by three snaps at the back. The sides and back of the belt are elastic material. My sister got this belt for a costume, and it proved an excellent accessory which both she and I enjoy wearing with many outfits. It is made of elastic and polyurethane leather. It comes in black (pictured), brown, red, white, brown #2, hot pink, navy, red scarlet, and sets of black + coffee (brown), black + brown (#2), black + red, black + navy blue, and black + white. It costs $5.99-$16.99, depending on which color you choose.
You don’t get many chances to see her shoes with this outfit, but they are visible in some shots, such as the above screenshot I took. Her shoes are white slingbacks with a very low, thick heel and an open toe.
The above shoes from Amazon are a good option. They have a slingback and a low, thick heel. Instead of an open toe, they have a slightly square closed toe. The heel is 2 inches high. The material has a leather look, and it has a synthetic sole. It comes in bright white (pictured), white (which looks the same), black, and new nude (leopard). These shoes cost $53.65-$116.18, depending on which size and color you order.
The above shoe from Amazon is another good option. It too has a slingback and a low heel. In fact, this heel is a small wedge. However, this shoe, like Jane’s has an open toe, as well. It also has small openings on the sides. The heel is 1.25 inches. The material seems to be synthetic leather with a synthetic sole. This shoe comes in bright white (pictured), black, tender taupe, lux navy, pewter, navy multi (with flower print), and white (looks the same as bright white). These shoes cost $23.68-108.84, depending on the size and color which you choose.
The only jewelry which Jane visibly wears with this outfit is a simple locket. It is shaped like a heart, and it is strung on a small chain. It looks like it is silver. The below necklace from Amazon is a good option. It is a small heart-shaped locket with two inner windows for pictures. The locket is stainless steel, and it is on a stainless steel adjustable rolo chain, which is 20-22 inches long. It comes in silver Heart locket (pictured), Heart Rose Tone Locket (which is the same but in a rose gold hue), and seven other lockets with stamped-on words. It costs $9.99-$10.99.
Jane is bare-headed in many pictures, but she does have a hat with this outfit. When we first see her at church, she is wearing a small hat, although she apparently doffs it before
the scenes in the field later that day. After all, all women wore hats to church then. Her hat is a small black one which sits directly on top of her head. It has a band on the front which looks like it has little roses on it. The roses appear to be red, which suggests that the plaid pattern of her skirt may have some red in it. It is a very sweet and simple little hat, which fits this simple, girlish outfit.
The above hat from Amazon is one of the simplest black hats you’ll find on the site. It is a small felt hat which sits on the head. It is described as a teardrop beret, which appropriately describes its shape. There is a small gathering of fabric on the right side, which is the only decoration. It dips quite low on the right side of the face. It is 100% wool and comes with a comb for securing. On the same page, a similar style of hat with a larger felt decoration is sold as Black #3. On the same page, there are twelve other hats, which are various colors of these two styles. This hat costs $39.98.
The above hat from Amazon is a similar option to the previous one. It too is a relatively simple black felt hat which sits directly on the head. It is fairly even across the head. This is more like a pillbox hat which sits sideways on the head. On the right side, there is a matching felt bow, which sits close to the hat. It is 100% wool. It comes in black (pictured), purple, and red. It costs $35.09.
The above hat from Amazon is a third option for this outfit. It is small and round. Since it has a slight ridge, it is a pillbox hat of sorts. However, it fits much closer to the head that a regular pillbox. It has a bunch of black material flowers at the back. There is a sheer net with little black dots which comes slightly over the face. The hat can be attached with either a headband, making it a fascinator, or a clip, both of which are included. This hat comes in black (pictured), purple, red, yellow, and orange. It costs only $7.99, an excellent bargain.
That concludes my description of this outfit. It is a lovely ensemble with great versatility. By pairing the blouse and skirt with different belts and hats, one can create a whole new look. Also, new outfits can be made by pairing the skirt with different blouses, such as warmer ones for cooler weather, or by pairing the blouse with different skirts. The possibilities are endless. A great place to start is by following Jane Hilton’s style for a lovely outfit which is pretty enough for her soldier sweetheart to remember when they are separated by duty.
Happy Memorial Day Week!
If you want to observe Miss Jones’s style for yourself, I suggest that you purchase this movie and study his outfit firsthand! Click the above image to purchase Since You Went Away on DVD at Amazon and support PEPS through the Amazon Affiliate program.
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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