[Above, the extraordinary Grace Kelly in an Edith Head gown.]
It’s really an understatement to call the legendary Edith Head simply a ‘costume designer.’ She certainly was that, and a whole lot more. Even as a junior-high-school nerd, I knew who she was. To me her name conjured up stylish women in sophisticated suits, coats, gowns and even hats (although to tell you the truth I’ve never really been a hat woman myself – look terrible in them!). And did you know that she has won more Oscars than any other woman? Not an actress, but a designer!
This week I stumbled on a piece about her and it made me think about how her movie costumes might have influenced the way I see fashion for those of us of a certain age – and all other women who care about themselves.
Edith Head designed costumes for so many movies that not only captured a film era, but also a style era. When I look back on many of the pieces she created I see timeless classics that work for young women and for women of a certain age. When you’re in your 50’s and beyond you can carry off a whole lot of sophistication and elegance that in today’s fabrics would also offer comfort. I mean, who really wouldn’t like to have a great suit like Audrey is wearing in Funny Face? (in spite of the fact that my suit wearing days are thankfully behind me as I navigate a whole new life after work!)
Five lessons I have learned from Edith Head about style at a certain age:
- Sexy doesn’t equal skin exposure. It was true in her time, and it is true now.
- Alluring is better than sexy anyway – at any age.
- Fit is everything. If a piece fits to perfection it doesn’t matter if it’s from TJ Maxx or Chanel.
- Most of the time, less really is more. A great piece of clothing doesn’t need huge jewelry despite what the fashion magazines might say. Big accessories are trying to distract you from something nasty usually!
- Quality beats quantity every time. Wonderful fabrics make everything better – for me it’s better to have one fantastic, well-crafted sweater that I love to wear than three that are just meh.
Edith Head is one of my fashion influencers. But there are others! Til next time!