Over the holidays, I caught two classic Hitchcock films, Vertigo and Rear Window, and I was reminded how great movies stand the test of time. Both are just as fascinating, romantic, moody, and charming as they must have been when they premiered back in the 50s. They also happen to be two of my all-time favorite fashion movies, thanks to legendary costumer Edith Head. Whether you prefer alluring, mysterious Madeleine in Vertigo or glamorous, adventurous Lisa in Rear Window, there’s no denying that both ladies look incredible.
Of course, a few things have changed since the Eisenhower era, and while the style from these films endures, a lot of the actual garments wouldn’t work for us today. Does anyone really think a 21st Century Madeleine would run all over San Francisco in that smart, gray suit? Any woman I know who actually owns a gray suit only dusts it off for job interviews. So I started wondering what she might wear instead, and here’s what I came up with:
I was just having fun, so I didn’t give myself any price restrictions… which is why this exact ensemble would cost $5165.58. If you want to spend that much, go for it, and more power to you. But for me, I don’t think an outfit should cost more than three round-trip flights to Italy or a dozen Faberge eggs.
So can I recreate this look for much less? Say, $350? Body-conscious (but not tight!) styles, tone-on-tone neutrals, and surprising contrasts in texture are key. Here’s what happened when I tried to make that happen for less:
L to R: Hue tights in Steel at Dillards.com ($12.50), Jessica Simpson Kalvert Pump at Endless.com ($78.95 to $38.90), Vera Wang crystal necklace at Kohls.com ($24 to $9.60), Tianni Trapunto stitched tote at Endless.com ($60)
All of that totals up to just $336.27! The coat was the toughest item to find, since ivory coats tend to cost some money. The short one above works for $80, but for double that, I’d sub in this dove gray number from J. Crew.
Pretty! So there’s my Vertigo redux for today’s budget-conscious Madeleine. Now, 2010 Rear Window, hmmm…
Lucie Amberg is the Director of ZinaBeverlyHills.com.