Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wearing the Film: Damsels in Distress

Something about the start of the school year makes me crave books and movies about academia. Thinking about dipping into Zadie Smith's On Beauty, Kingsley Amis'Lucky Jim, Dead Poet's Society, or the classic Brideshead Revisited really makes my heart go pitter-pat on a September afternoon. But the clothes in academic books and novels are usually so bleak: uniforms, knee socks, academic robes, nothing to really make the pulse race. Who wants to go back to school when you have to look like some old crusty professor? Not me. Isn't a new wardrobe part of the fun of a new school year?

The smart, offbeat heroines of Whit Stillman's quirky comedy Damsels in Distress, know this. Their cute dresses, chic twinsets and great accessories are definitely the way to go. The classic vintage look worn by star Greta Gerwig really delivers both fit, flattery and importantly, a very wearable signature look. Those nipped-in waists and knee-length hemlines make her figure look fantastic; the swingy skirts are perfect for dancing and the classic prints and retro color palette are so flattering to her golden skin. There are lessons here. And isn't that what back-to-school is all about?

So let's study some elements to build a classic Violet-style back-to-school wardrobe:
Tartan Dress: It wouldn't be back-to-school without a plaid school uniform, but this tartan dress for grown-ups is a lot cuter, and would work on those hot Indian Summer days when you really shouldn't be in a classroom, but still are. 

Green Party Dress: This chic dress with its swingy skirt is the perfect silhouette for dancing the Sambola. The bottle green is a wonderful color for fall, and this dress would look as great with bare legs and peep-toed heels as it would with tights. 

Pearl Choker: Because you have to have one of these. End of story.

Ditto satchel

Violet really rocked the little neckerchief with various outfits throughout the movie, and I think it's a style worth resurrecting. A scarf can take an outfit from plain to Audrey Hepburn in twenty seconds, and this equestrian-style number is a stunner.

For some reason, the oxford-shoes-without-socks trend has been popular with both men and women for the past couple of summers, so to me, the logical next step is the resurgence of the saddle shoe. Polka dotted saddle shoes? Yes, please, more, now. 

So that's it. What are you going to be wearing in the classroom or the school run this fall?

image 1 and 3 from here

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