Let's face it - we all want Ginger Rogers' cinematic wardrobe, ja?
Ginger Rogers — 1938 photo by John Miehle
How picture-perfect is this portrait of Ginger’s "Shot Through the Heart" / "I Dreamed a Dream" / "P.S. I LOVE YOU" dress in Carefree?
WGW PSA: This is not exactly Ginger Rogers-related (well….not yet…), but there is a podcast out there, Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This that happens to be: DIVINE. ALL-CAPS 4EVER DIVINE THAT IS HOW GOOD IT IS.
It is not merely a classic Hollywood-centric podcast, it is Deep Cuts. Stuff that people who are already really into movies might not know much about, or might not know anything about at all. It is RIVETING. So far she’s focused mostly on classic Hollywood, but there is other stuff, other weird, wonderful stuff.
FOLLOW HER TUMBLR, LISTEN TO ALL THE EPISODES. YOU WILL PROBABLY NOT EXPLODE FROM DELIGHT, BUT I GUARANTEE NOTHING.
300 FOLLOWERS. BOW DOWN BITCHES.
We love you. All 300 of you. You are everything. This inspires us to finally get around to firming up our….yes, that’s right…FOLLOW THE FLEET FASHION MASTERPOST! It is coming! It’s still a jumble of paragraphs! Maybe you will see it by winter! Blame school schedules! We’ll throw in our usual mini-posts here and there until then, don’t worry.
Bottom line: y’all are the best. You should sing this 2NE1 song about yourself, because that is who you are. (Also, should we perhaps start integrating more K-pop into this blog? My intuition says yes.)
Ginger Rogers as Ellen Saunders in The Sap from Syracuse (1930).
Does anything shout that you are an heiress ingénue more than, 1) a cloche hat, 2) fancy fur ruff, and 3) imperious facial expression? I would argue that the answer is no. Meaning, that this here scene in the Sap from Syracuse is an example of some very effective costuming. You can just TELL that G here owns some random property near to the Mediterranean. And that she is going to compel men she doesn’t know to figure out her complicated property issues. How can they resist? She is AN HEIRESS.
Tim Holt (Tim Borden) and Ginger Rogers (Mary Grey) in 5th Avenue Girl (1939).
This outfit may seem simple at first, but you will super love it when you see it on screen, if you have not already. This is the equivalent of Ginger’s token sexy librarian / sexy secretary outfit. Normally, I hate that label, most often because it refers to gross fetishes, but the way Ginger’s Mary Grey does it is pretty great. Following in the fab footsteps of Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope (or perhaps, laying the foundation for her, seeing as this movie was made 75 years ago), she is a walking example of “sophisticated, with a hint of slutty.” At first glance, you see a full-coverage, office-appropriate (even though her job as an undercover fake escort is nothing like an office job) sweater-top. But - SCANDAL! - this top also happens to be 100% SHEER. You can somewhat see her bra in this studio photo, but when she’s nonchalantly descending the staircase in this outfit, pretending to be the vixen-secretary-lover of Walter Connolly in the presence of his whole family, the girls are clearly OUT. She does not hold back.* It’s so proper and inappropriate at the same time, and a brilliant costuming decision that presents her as clearly on the job, but in a “work” uniform that both overtly and carefully alludes to the sex since her current task is to pretend to be an alluring mistress in someone’s estate.
*This sartorial tactic certainly appears to work on Tim Holt (TIM HOLT!) in this photo (who plays Walter Connolly’s rich playboy son), but it’s sort of a waste, because he was honestly such a non-factor in this scene and this movie, and his romance plot with Ginger is so odd and random and also comes across pretty offensive? Such a pity.
Pat O’Brien as Rush, Ginger Rogers as Peggy, and Dick Powell as Clayton in Twenty Million Sweethearts (1934).
Twenty Million Sweethearts, is, of course, mostly about watching the Mills Brothers do their magical thing (awkwardly separated from the rest of the movie, courtesy of racism) and listening to Dick Powell singing “You May Not BEEEEEEE an Angelllllll” eleventy million times until the song is lodged in your brain forever. And these are good reasons for this, or any movie to exist! But, of course, there is something of a plot here too, and that plot is Ginger Rogers’s Peggy and Pat O’Brien’s Rush fighting over the career (and love) of Dick Powell.
Granted, Peggy is WAY too reasonable a gal to really get into something– her basic point is her boyfriend is responsible for being her boyfriend which again: REALLY REASONABLE.
But yes, that is the plot, and it is pleasing that the whole conflict is so nicely elucidated in the costuming. See here - Peggy in grey with white trimming and an angelic halo hat, is perfectly set up as the reluctant white knight, to Rush’s black-clad tempter. And her outfit, with its neat trimming, the little belt, is so businesslike! You think the girl might go more glam, considering her showbiz job, or more casual, considering said showbiz job is the radio. But of course, she has to be crazy business-like, because Rush is a manager, and they have to stand toe-to-toe on the question of their mutual love’s career. Anyway, she look really put together, and they really do look like formidable opponents standing next to each other. But Dick Powell is in gray* and so is she, and this is a romantic comedy, so we know who wins. Way to go, Peggy!
*Kinda fades into the background, right? But yeah, he’s not in charge