Cinematic Fashion: Water for Elephants

By Caroline Elizabeth, Women’s Style Editor

The 2011 film “Water for Elephants” was one of my favorite films of the year. From adventure to romance to beautiful cinematography capturing the circus grounds and performances, the movie has it all. And of course, the most exciting part for me, the fashion design student, were the costumes. I simply adored every look that Reese Witherspoon’s character, Marlena, wore in the movie.

Marlena is the wife of ringmaster and Benzini Brothers circus owner August, played by Christoph Waltz. However, with her beauty, talent, and charm, she can’t help but fall into the arms of the young new circus veterinarian, Jacob, played by Robert Pattinson, and a love triangle ensues.

Along with being August’ wife, Marlena is also a circus performer. She does routines with four breathtaking white horses and then later an elephant named Rosie that is just the attraction the circus needs during the Great Depression to stay in business. In the film, Marlena has many glittery and gorgeous outfits for her time in the ring, but I decided to focus on her more wearable style while around the circus grounds.

Marlena’s 1930’s style clothing is always feminine and she shows off her figure well by often adding belts. Her wardrobe also contains a lot of stripes mixed with neutrals, which is always a classic option that can become more formal or casual, and is easy to accessorize.

water for elephants


Sacai Luck striped top, $180 / Bustier shirt, $16 / Current/Elliott white denim skirt / Bottega Veneta highwaist shorts, $235 / J.Crew ballerina shoes / Ciao Bella platform wedge / Jessica Simpson stiletto heels / Dorothy Perkins nude sandals / Saskia Diez travel tote bag / Kate Spade bag / AK Anne Klein leather watch / Elizabeth Cole gold bangle / Emilio Pucci scarve / Beret hat, $615 / Alexander McQueen wide leather belt

To get the look, try an uptown inspired approach by starting with a striped cardigan over a pencil skirt with a button detail. Belt the look to show your figure, and add a pair of t-strap wedges or heels to evoke the 30’s even more. Lastly, add a beret and structured bag and you are ready for a day in the office.

Or, if you’re ready to hit the town at night, try some high-waisted shorts and a cropped corset style top with cutouts. Add a belt if you like, and definitely throw on a striped hair scarf, some bangles, and a pair of t-strap flats of your choice. Your favorite vintage bag and carefully coiffed 1930’s style hair will complete this look and everyone will ask about your outfit!

Cinematic Fashion: Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland is a movie about how J.M. Barrie (played by Johnny Depp) got his inspiration for Peter Pan. The movie tells the tale of Barrie’s relationship with four boys and their mother, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (played by Kate Winslet), and how this grew into the story of four children who never want to grow up.

Sylvia is a different type of woman for the early 1900s, mainly because of her friendly relationship with Barrie and her children. With her motherly and cheerful attitude she’s clearly the inspiration for Barrie’s Wendy, so costumer designer Alexandra Byrne often adds pale blue (Wendy’s signature color) as a contrast to Sylvia’s heavily cream wardrobe.

Though Sylvia’s style is pretty simple, there are still hints of Victorian fashion elements through the cut of her dresses and outerwear.

To modernize your look, start with a simple blue or cream dress (this doesn’t have to be floor length) and pair this with a cream silk or chiffon blouse. For warmth, layer a feminine style trench; choose a hat if you’re going to a fancy event or trying to keep sun off your face. Lastly, add a pair of cream booties with a contrasting detail like a cap toe. For fun you can also throw in a cute ring, embellished kid gloves or straw satchel.


Finding Neverland

Cinematic Fashion: Marie Antoinette

By Caroline Elizabeth, Women’s Style Editor

The 2006 Sofia Coppola film, “Marie Antionette”, staring Kirsten Dunst will probably be remembered more for its fabulous take on 17th-century fashion than anything else. In fact, I’ve heard numerous people say that the movie includes their favorite costumes of all time, so its academy award for such was well deserved.

The overall mood of the period pieces in the film is romantic and feminine, which includes with piles of ribbon details and lace to trim the satin and floral brocade gowns that Marie and her ladies-in-waiting wear. Marie and her ladies also knew how to accessorize, with glamorous shoes, hats, fans, jewels, and purses. Marie Antionette was a true fashion revolutionary of her time!

Using Marie Antionette as inspiration for modern-day dress is a lot of fun. Create a pale, pastel look overall with a lot of pink, green, blue, and cream that will evoke the fundamental colors from the film. It honestly doesn’t hurt to think of pastries, especially macaroons, which the film crew actually used as part of their inspiration for the costumes and set.

A great way to create Marie’s look is to mix florals together (a look that’s right on trend this season). It often works well to combine one bold floral print with another less so, because not all florals can be paired together! A pastel bag and a bit of jewelry in a similar hue will add a nice touch, but make sure they are simple enough so that the focus is kept on your floral ensemble. Lastly, add some flats with lace or bow details to keep the feminine look flowing all the way to your footwear.

marie antionette

Alice + Olivia floral dress, $185 / Zimmermann wrap dress / Frock & Frill floral blouse, $16 / Rochas brocade jacket, $495 / DAY Birger et Mikkelsen floral jacket, $140 / Citizens of Humanity jeans, $200 / Cacharel pleated skirt / Current/Elliott denim shorts, $180 / Oxford shoes / Miu Miu shoes / Melissa shoes, $77 / Charlotte Russe ballet flat / Chinese Laundry shoes / Bow handbag / Dorothy Perkins cross body handbag / Costume jewelry / ASOS vintage jewelry, $31

And, apparently an Apple product is also a good accessory to add to a modern day Marie Antoinette look.

Cinematic Fashion: 13 Going on 30

After her nightmarish 13th birthday party in the 2004 film “13 Going on 30”, Jennifer Garner’s character Jenna Rink wishes she could finally be grownup, cool, and “thirty, flirty, and thriving”. As she slowly adjusts to life at age 30, she realizes she’s not quite the woman she wanted to become because she’s feared at work, and has grown apart from her loving parents and childhood best friend Matt, played by Mark Ruffalo.

Between a series of funny mishaps mixed with some sad realizations, Jenna turns her 30-year-old self’s life around and ultimately learns that others will like her if she stays true to herself.

My favorite part about the fashion in this film is that Jenna’s style stays so young at heart because she is literally a 13-year-old trapped inside the body of a 30-year-old woman. Her dresses are colorful, her hair is playful, and she uses bright makeup and bold accessories inspired by the colors of the 1980s. Thankfully, her job as a magazine editor lets her take liberties such as wearing a silk nightdress to the office and a very bright ensemble to the office party.

When choosing clothing inspired by this movie, think young-at-heart florals, daring dress shapes, bright makeup, and quirky accessories.

Cinematic Fashion: 13 Going on 30

Versace dress, $1,070 / Bright colored dress, $125 / Arden B chiffon dress / Floral dress / Marjolaine Jardin nightdress, $240 / Christian Louboutin heels / Badgley Mischka bridal shoes / Badgley Mischka bridal shoes / High heel shoes / Miss Selfridge rhinestone jewelry, $12 / Miss Selfridge flower hair accessory, $7.76 / Lancôme pink lipstick / Essie nail polish

Fashionista Friendly iPhone Cases by Izak for Henri Bendel

I love when fashion illustrators collaborate with big brands on cool online marketing initiatives and tech products. The other day I was lucky enough to come across a small collection of iPhone cases designed by fashion illustrator Izak Zenou for Henri Bendel. The four-piece collection is super cute and right on trend with its bright colors. Each case is priced at $58 and perfect for any girl open to admitting her fashion addiction.

Cinematic Fashion: Factory Girl

By Caroline Elizabeth, Women’s Style Editor

The 2006 flick “Factory Girl” is based on the life of Edie Sedgewick, a socialite and film star best known for being one of Andy Warhol’s muses. Sienna Miller stars along with Guy Pearce as they depict an intense relationship between two of the most memorable, emulated figures from my favorite decade, the 1960’s.

Sienna Miller’s style as Edie throughout the film is sexy yet carefree. She wears clothing very of-the-moment, and therefore 1960’s mod, but is always a bit different or over the top with her looks. Edie needs to be shown in the film as the unique being that she was, as she was an inspiring to not only Andy but also America during her ‘It Girl’ phase.

During the beginning of the film Edie is a slightly more innocent young woman, before she meets Andy, does drugs all day, becomes famous, and turns crazy. Her look is a bit more tame, with stockings underneath her mini dresses, longer dark hair in the teased style of the time, and more smart accessories choices.

Sienna Miller’s character eventually cuts and bleaches her hair, which gives her the perfect opportunity to show off big jewelry like bold earrings she is seen wearing quite a bit. Edie wears a good deal of classic stripes, so be sure to get yourself a nice striped shirt or tunic to wear with leggings if you don’t already own one. Simple bold dresses not only Edie’s effortless style, but also the overall mood of the period work well too!

While Edie’s style is minimalist in many ways, she always adds unique touches so don’t be afraid to accessorize with big black boots, some bangles, a bold bag, or cats eye sunglasses. A few times in the film Edie is seen wearing fur, which can always be a fun and practical piece to throw on during a cool night, so hunt down a fur wrap or short jacket from a local consignment or thrift store! Lastly, don’t forget to still be yourself while rocking your Edie-inspired look. The good news is that the 60’s are back in so you won’t look out of place today if you keep your overall look simple and stick to classic, mod items!

factory girl

Orange dress / Alice + Olivia beaded dress, $450 / Warehouse mini dress, $54 / Warehouse cotton dress, $78 / Uniqlo boat neck top, $23 / CC SKYE striped shirt / John Lewis skinny pants, $23 / J.Crew j crew boots / KORS Michael Kors black ballet flat / Hobo bag / Steve Madden handbag / John Hardy gold silver earrings / Fantasy Jewelry Box lucite jewelry / House of Harlow 1960 gold bangle, $155 / Hammered earrings / LISKA scarve, $595 / Biba feather shawl, $195 / House of Harlow 1960 oversized sunglasses / Elizabeth and James sunglasses

Cinematic Fashion: 500 Days of Summer

By Caroline Elizabeth, Women’s Fashion Editor

In the film “500 Days of Summer”, Zooey Deschanel has a role as a heartbreaker who you either love to hate or hate to love. Her character of Summer meets fellow employee Tom, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, through their jobs at a greeting card company. Their relationship was doomed from the start when Summer first told Tom she wasn’t looking for a relationship and didn’t believe in love. The film chronicles the 500 days of their relationship through Tom’s eyes.

Though it’s hard to love the character of Summer, her wardrobe is something you simply can’t help but adore. Her feminine style includes florals, bows, and often the color blue. Blue matches the actress’s famously vibrant eyes and appears to be the character’s favorite color, or perhaps even represents the blue mood she puts Tom in.

As a woman around her late twenties/early thirties, Summer has a style that is cute but still mature. Her character has youthful interests but a grown up outlook on life, and she easily finds this balance in her clothing that looks effortless. Summer also always has a somewhat vintage flair to her looks, especially drawing from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, but her clothing is still modern and very stylish. It’s important to find this balance when you’re using her wardrobe for your own looks.

When shopping for your Summer iinspired look, first of all remember blue. Perhaps a dainty blue floral dress will be perfect for an outdoor company luncheon or some shopping downtown with a friend. A simple blue shirtdress can go from work to a party, as could a blue peter-pan collared shirt and high-waisted shorts if you throw on the right stockings and shoes to transition from day to night.

Accessorize with feminine and dainty vintage-inspired accessories like a pair of two-tone flats or oxfords, a bow headband, or a cute pair of heart sunglasses. For a bag I’d recommend an adorable woven basket purse or a buckle satchel to carry all of your items needed your usual day, with perhaps extra things to help your day to night transition. Always add your own personal touch to your look whether it be in a clothing piece or accessory, a beauty product, or a hairstyle. Have fun with it!

500 days of summer

Joe Browns vintage style dress, $31 / Dorothy Perkins cotton dress, $61 / A|Wear embroidery shirt, $12 / Motel / Luella scalloped shorts, $51 / Fendi ballerina shoes / Wingtip shoes, $30 / Felix Rey straw clutch / Shoulder handbag / Victoria Beckham sunglasses / Dorothy Perkins white heart sunglasses, $7.77 / Forever 21 hair accessory

Cinematic Fashion: Midnight in Paris

By Caroline Elizabeth, Women’s Style Editor

Costume designer Sonia Grande was in charge of the costumes for Woody Allen’s Academy Award nominated film “Midnight in Paris”, and she especially did a brilliant job with the 1920’s character of Adriana played by Marion Cotillard. Present-day Gil, personified by Owen Wilson, is on his honeymoon in Paris when he gets transported back to what would be his ideal decade, the 20’s. As a writer, he is awestruck by famous literary figures and artists he meets (Fitzgerald’s, Picasso, Dali, Hemingway, Eliot, Matisse), along with their glamorous and unique lives that he becomes a small part of. Adriana, real life love interest of Hemingway, is especially inspiring and beautiful to Gil.

Adriana has many beautiful and romantic outfits in the film with beads, lace, and pretty trims that reflect how these adjectives can also be applied to herself as a character. She is not only an inspiring, exquisite being in the film, but is also exquisitely dressed.

I admire how Sonia Grande was able to capture the twenties in a way that was recognizable but new, as Adriana for example wears loose flapper dresses that are unique and interesting. My favorite outfit that Adriana wears is a crème dress that is covered in hundreds of strands of beads that sparkle in the light. These strands are loosely attached to the dress so that they and move when Adriana moves.

To get this muse’s look, first decide which kind of dress suits your occasion, something in a cotton or silk that can easily transition from day to night, something dark and mysterious, or something light and eye-catching? Then add a pair of t-strap sandals, perhaps with crystal detail or with a glossy finish. Don’t be afraid to really get the 20’s across with your outfit by adding a small hairclip or thin headband. As long as you keep this hair accessory tasteful, it will work beautifully with your look. Finally, a pouch-style bag, perhaps in a lovely tapestry print, evokes the romantic time period perfectly.

Midnight in Paris

Cinematic Fashion: Northanger Abbey

By Caroline Elizabeth, Women’s Style Editor

The 2007 Masterpiece Theater movie “Northanger Abbey” is a must see, and not just because of the exquisite Regency era clothing. The chemistry between Catherine Morland, played by Felicity Jones, and her love interest Henry Tilney, played by JJ Feild (real spelling), is adorable as they try to navigate their relationship through social events and adventures that take place amongst beautiful scenery in the English Countryside and the city of Bath.

Since the piece is set in the early 19th century, the clothing is period accurate which means lots of empire waists, hats, gloves, lace, and updos for the ladies. The overall clothing that Catherine Morland and her female companions wear, including close friend Isabella Thorpe played by Carey Mulligan, is feminine, airy and pastel. There are a lot of light, cool tones seen on Catherine, perhaps to sharply contrast her dark hair, and warmer light tones on Isabelle, which work well with her blonde locks.

Being ladylike was a priority back in the Regency era, and while Catherine Morland is always put together there is often an air of ease to her style whether it is slightly undone hair or dresses and accessories on the simpler side. Catherine honestly cares more about reading her fantastic adventure novels and dreaming about one coming true rather than her appearance, but I admire the way she manages to stay true to herself even among the period’s strict confines.

To achieve Catherine’s romantic and breezy style, start with a dress inspired by the Regency period, one with an extra high or empire waist. Lace and puffed sleeves are always an added bonus when dress shopping, but as long as the dress is beautiful and comfortable, Catherine will approve! Chose a sweater or jacket that has elements of the time period’s clothing style- think cropped, lacy, or with puff sleeves. Keep the rest of your accessories simple but feminine. Add a pair of pastel shoes, a bag of your choice, and then perhaps a single piece of jewelry like a locket or key necklace. You might like to add a straw hat for the season comparable to Regency era bonnets as well.

Northanger Abbey

Cinematic Fashion: Restless

By Caroline Elizabeth, Women’s Style Editor

The 2011 indie flick “Restless” is an endearing movie about youth, life, death, and love that’s meaning will long stay with you after you watch it. Brilliant Mia Wasikowska (who played Alice in Tim Burton’s rendition of “Alice in Wonderland”), stars as Annabel Cotton alongside her quirky love interest Enoch Brae, played by Henry Hopper.

the unique way Mia’s character, Annabel Cotton, looks at life in this film is unexpected, while her style is much more predictable.

Her looks are typically inspired by menswear, but she puts a feminine spin on them.

Annabel’s wardrobe consists of many stripes and plaids. She wears many neutral looks with a pop of red or orange in one eye-catching piece like a jacket or accessory. She knows how to get the vintage look in a unique way that makes her stand out.

When putting together looks, I made them more season-appropriate because much of the movie takes place during fall and winter months. I created two outfits. One is slightly more formal and the other more appropriate for a more casual event.

For an event that requires a bit of dressing up, start with an interesting multi-colored plaid dress and layer a bright plaid blazer over it. A black straw bowler and two-tone kitten heels are totally Annabel and totally adorable. Add a satchel or structured cross body bag, perhaps one with a print or picture, and personalize it with pins.

For my second look, I took a risk mixing some black and brown which isn’t something I normally do. A pair of burnt orange high-waisted shorts with a cropped leopard jacket over a longer sleeved peter-pan colored shirt take inspiration from Annabel’s menswear vibe. A tan bowler hat with brown oxfords and a multi-colored messenger bag will have you ready for work, class, shopping, sightseeing, or whatever your day has in store. Don’t forget to add a couple of accessories like a bird ring (Annabel loves birds) or pendant.