Classic movies are a major part of the holiday season for me. It is not truly Christmas until I have watched the movie White Christmas. I love the songs, the humor, the romance, and the holiday spirit. But, being me, I love the clothes! Realistically, the clothing cannot be worn today. It’s all wide circle skirts and totally coordinated outfits. You would have to be fully immersed in a retro look to pull it off. But I figured I could take some of the costuming ideas from the movie, and see if I could capture some of the spirit of Edith Head’s originals. (Love me some Edith Head!)
So, without further ado: five looks inspired by White Christmas!
The Scene: Judy dances to Abraham
Vera Ellen, who played Judy, was a major powerhouse of a dancer but not much of a singer. Her dancing talents were spotlighted, as were her dancer legs. This short little turtleneck dress is the jumping-off point for this dress. A yellow swing day dress is paired with yellow shoes with a hint of houndstooth. The black from the dress is added in with the black and white houndstooth bracelet. I like that Vera Ellen wears yellow a couple of times; it’s not just a summer color, but also good for winter.
The Scene: Betty and Judy join Bob and Phil to perform Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army.
Dorothy Perkins sheer top, $37
Dorothy Perkins navy blue pants, $17
TopShop military fashion, £35
ALDO high heels, $40
Armani Exchange chain necklace, $28
Falling Whistles Color Brushed Silver Whistle Necklace, $44
Military blues and greys dominate in this outfit. The girls don’t really wear pants in this movie, but the modern woman wears pants all the time. So to translate this look from uniform to everyday wear, I’m just taking hints of uniform, like a cropped military-style jacket and buttoned boots. To feminize the look, a sheer top is put under the jacket (wear a cami under it, please!) with a high neck that can flow out, untucked, below the jacket. Layer dog tag style necklaces and a very special necklace from Falling Whistles so you can look like you’re ready for war while you advocate for peace.
The Scene: Judy convinces Phil to get engaged.
Houndstooth shows up again! Before, I chose it because of the shoes that matched the dress. This time, it comes into full view with Judy’s swing skirt. Instead of the skirt/turtleneck/cardigan combination (I feel geriatric just typing that!), I chose a sassy houndstooth dress with a great cowl neck detail. A cropped cardigan with a low v-neck can be worn without obscuring the detail of the dress’s neck. Instead of a red belt, we update with a pair of red shoes. I couldn’t choose between a red flat and a red pump, so I included both! A chunky statement ring in black finishes the look.
The Scene: Betty sings Love You Didn’t Do Right By Me at the Carousel Club.
This is my favorite look of the whole movie. For a simple black dress, it is a show stopper, accenting Rosemary Clooney’s amazing hourglass curves. The scalloped detail on the straps and the back are unparalleled, and the addition of a gigantic rhinestone embellishment make the back of this mermaid dress even more interesting than the (flawless) front. Honestly, it’s hard to find something this amazing on a budget. A similar style is available in this satin mermaid dress. Instead of the detailed strap, there is a shoulder bow. You could put a rhinestone brooch (in a snowflake design, but of course) on the bow or on the back. To make this dress major, I’ve added a pair of opera gloves in black (instead of the sequined version Rosemary Clooney wore) with a rhinestone cuff over top. And the shoe must be glitzy, so each time the skirt kicks up, the shine can be seen.
The Scene: Judy dances to Choreography
From the tip of her feathered hat to the toes of her d’Orsay shoes, Vera Ellen is a symphony in hot pink. It’s not very modern to match every detail of your outfit like this, but I decided to do a very matchy-matchy look. This is an outdoor look, with a ruffled wool jacket over a matching skater dress with matching smartphone compatible gloves. Instead of diamond earrings and bracelets, the look is brought more down-to-earth with a rhinestone pendant. The shoes are thoroughly modern; I’ve included a blue and pink color block shoe or (my favorite) a newsprint pump, so things don’t match exactly.
If you haven’t this holiday season, grab a copy of White Christmas to revel in the gloriousness of all the clothing with me.