Let's face it - we all want Ginger Rogers' cinematic wardrobe, ja?
Ginger Rogers as Francey Morgan in Vivacious Lady (1938).
DAMN, girl! Are you heading to the CLUB? A party on a BOAT?
Oh, you’re meeting your husband’s parents for the first time? Hmm…okay.
Seriously, this frock is MAJOR. Also, maybe it is a little much for a meeting with the in-laws? I mean, if you want your new husband’s parents to think, “Wow, my only son sure landed himself a hot piece!” Then it is perfect. Unfortunately, super sexy is not the way to go when meeting your husband’s conservative and stuffy Southern Royalty parents. And sure enough, everything is about to go hilariously, violently, awry.
But to Ginger’s credit – if you’ve got to fail, you might as well fail spectacularly! And boy, does Ginger look spectacular! There is even a sense that she is trying, in her own glamorous nightclub way, to look respectable. Why else would she wear a Madonna veil? So modest! That is, if it wasn’t sheer. Something about a sheer item for a modest piece of clothing makes said item look even more scandalous than a straight-forward sexy outfit. As it is, the veil brings up the Madonna angle, but also unfortunate Madonna/whore connotations.
Still, the fact that she is even wearing this dress means that she is trying hard. Her dress in clearly calling back to her delightful Glinda the Dainty Fairy Princess dress she wore when Jimmy fell in love with her at first sight. It is not wholly unreasonable to think that if it worked on the son, it’ll work on the parents. The cut and shape are very similar, and the multi-colored billowing skirts give it a similar cloud-like ethereal quality. The main difference between these dresses is of course color. And unfortunately, what a BIG difference that color makes. The Glinda dress owes a lot of its princess-like delicacy to its glittery lightness, blending in with her skin yet subtly differentiated by all the sparkles. The darkness of this dress instead highlights the contrast between her skin and the dress – and when the dress is as low as this one is, draws attention to her bust.
Oh dear, things really are going awry. Ginger didn’t mean to nearly kill her in-laws! Also, her dress is pretty darn low, both front and back. Well, at least she’s following the cardinal rule that if the boobs are out, the legs stay in…
Well, that didn’t last long. But nice stockings, Ginger! No wonder your secret mother-in-law wants to know where you get them.
It is weird to see an outfit as pretty as this one fundamentally fail. Luckily, it has a hidden upside, a raison d’etre, if you will. For this dress, in my mind isn’t the Meet-the-In-Laws Dress, or even the Sexy-Black-Raincloud Dress. No, for me, this dress is and forever will be: The Fight Club Dress!
Yes, if you have to get in a fight at a fancy party, this is the dress! Tight on top, with almost nothing to grab on to – Ginger is brilliant. Even the skirt is ideal; its looseness allows unimpeded movement, and the thin layers of fabric mean that if her opponent grabs hold, it can be easily ripped away. The biggest obstacle is the veil, and well, Ginger just threw that away. This party is about to get real.
Ginger Rogers Meets Fashion Week (sort of) (close enough):
(also a throwback to the first outfit we covered on WGW heyyyyyyyy)
*I’m a little sad that there is definitively ZERO overlap between the costuming wardrobe on Orange Is the New Black and literally any Ginger movie ever, otherwise the show would surely be on this blog a lot more. The closest I remember to Ginger playing an inmate is in I’ll Be Seeing You, where, as I recall, she mostly wore an array of starched ruffly things, because what else to wear when sorrowfully falling in love while on furlough! And of course there’s Roxie Hart, but in true Roxie fashion, she was pretty much dressed to the nines the whole time she was behind bars, so I don’t think that counts. IN CONCLUSION: thank goodness for the red carpet.
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.