Where better to take your style inspiration than from than classic films? Holly Fraser has all the details on taking inspiration from How to Marry a Millionaire (1953).

While Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall may be scheming to marry a millionaire, it’s probably best if we stick to admiring their vintage wardrobes and not take any dating tips; a certain financial crisis has ensured that there are not too many eligible millionaires around for us to ensnare at the moment. Shame. But never fear, the costumes themselves are enough to delight any vintage enthusiast.

In their search for a millionaire, it’s the leading ladies that continually look a million dollars, sitting atop a New York roof terraces sipping champagne on mild summer evenings.

In using the film as your wardrobe muse you’ll need to channel your inner Fifties glamour puss. Nipped-in waists created with an ever-fashionable waist belt are a must, as the accentuated female form is paramount to the Fifties silhouette. Almost every outfit in the film obeys this rule. Full skirts are favoured, often in floral and pastel tones.

Lauren Bacall shows off her full skirt elegantly in the famed scene where the ladies model for Bacall’s future husband, who conveniently is a millionaire.

Adding a petticoat under your skirt creates this full skirt effect and these can be picked up at many vintage stores or online – Vivien of Holloway does them for example.

In the same scene Grable’s character sports high-waisted striped shorts with a fitted short-sleeved blue jumper. You can find fitted jumpers at vintage shops, otherwise try highstreet shops like M&S who often have decent classic knitwear.

To stand out from the crowd and add a vintage twist, team this outfit with a fitted belt and colourful neck tie a là Grable. Brooches, corsages and bows are also key just as bright red lips are always a must.

Marilyn Monroe is one of the most famous pin-ups for Fifties fashion and her outfits throughout How to Marry a Millionaire certainly do not disappoint. She swaps flowing gowns for a figure hugging red swimsuit during the film, a look easily replicated today.

The fuller shape of Fifties swim wear is much more flattering than many modern bikinis resembling dental floss often seen on the beach today. Monroe teams hers with strappy wedges for a look just as stylish now as it was then. Vintage mecca Beyond Retro has scores of original Fifties swimwear.

Monroe also sports thick, black, slightly cat-eye shaped glasses throughout the film, yet takes them off at every possible moment, embarrassed by them, stating, ‘men are seldom attentive to girls who wear glasses.’

Yet, how wrong she is today. Vintage glasses ooze style and can be picked up from any vintage shop. Monroe also sports a silk turban in several scenes and similar ones can be picked up on eBay from as little as £6.

There are plenty of vintage style inspirations in How to Marry a Millionaire, it epitomises Fifties chic and elegance and is the perfect influence on any wardrobe. And who knows, you may just snag yourself a millionaire in the process; well we can dream.

7 Responses

  1. Hannah

    This film has THE most fabulous costumes. We all know the famous shot of the 3 stars – Marilyn in swimsuit, Betty in short shorts and Lauren in floral chiffon – but the rest of the film includes some amazing tailored dresses on Ms Monroe and suits on Lauren Bacall and plenty of pouffy dresses on Betty Grable. I don’t know if I can post pics here but I’ll try:

    [IMG]http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y279/hannahasprey/Marry3Big.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y279/hannahasprey/2919343355_97776c05a9.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y279/hannahasprey/6a00c2251c59758fdb00e398f054210004-.jpg[/IMG]

    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y279/hannahasprey/Marry3Big.jpg
    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y279/hannahasprey/2919343355_97776c05a9.jpg
    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y279/hannahasprey/6a00c2251c59758fdb00e398f054210004-.jpg

    Reply
  2. Hannah

    This film has THE most fabulous costumes. We all know the famous shot of the 3 stars – Marilyn in swimsuit, Betty in short shorts and Lauren in floral chiffon – but the rest of the film includes so much more! Some amazing tailored dresses on Ms Monroe and suits on Lauren Bacall and plenty of pouffy dresses on Betty Grable. And hats and gloves to die for all round!

    Reply

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