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Beauty in the Movies: 9 to 5

The transition from freelancing at home to commuting and working full-time has been a major contributing factor to my recent lack of blog posts. So it’s only appropriate that the return of ‘Beauty in the Movies’ features the charmingly adorable 1980s work place comedy 9 to 5.

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9 to 5 is a female buddy comedy in which three female co-workers accidentally kidnap their sexist, terrible boss and then, with him safely under house arrest, work together to make the office a much better place for everyone.

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There are an abundance of great scenes between the leading ladies (Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda) but one of the best moments comes after the three women have each had a hellish day at the office and decide to get high on a joint given to Lily Tomlin’s character by her son.

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“Is that one of those marijuana cigarettes?”

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While stoned, they each indulge in a workplace fantasy and live out a take-down of their evil superior. Lily Tomlin’s fantasy of herself as a Disney-like princess is by far the best, cartoon animals and all. Adorable.

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One of the sillier parts of the movie is the S+M like contraption the women rig up to keep their boss (Dabney Coleman) from escaping while they make changes back at the office.

Dabney Coleman 9 to 5

This film deals with some workplace issues that are still very relevant more than 30 years later. Workplace sexism is the most obvious obstacle the women face, but girl-on-girl crimes and workplace dissatisfaction lie beneath the sometimes slapstick plot of the film. Dolly Parton’s character, Doralee, is sexually harassed by her boss on a daily basis, but it is equally upsetting when the other women in the office assume she’s sleeping with him and then ostracize her for it.

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(Doesn’t sad Dolly just break your little heart?)

It seems the other women’s assumptions are due in part to Dolly’s clothing, makeup, and overall Parton-ish style (epic bosom included). Sadly, women judging other women based on their appearance and forming false opinions about their sex-lives, intellect, morality, etc., is something I’ve seen happen in every office I’ve ever worked in. It’s pretty sad to think those two ladies almost missed out on being friends with Doralee because of their own misconceptions.

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There are other aspects of office life that haven’t changed since 1980, example #1:

Copiers are devil-monsters sent from Hades to make your life miserable. I’m pretty sure the one at my office has an angry spirit living inside, it chews paper instead of printing it, always has a jam in a mystery tray, and has also burned me twice. I’m right there with Jane Fonda in this scene.

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As Dolly says, working 9 to 5 can sure drive you crazy if you let it, but there is really nothing better than some sassy, smart, supportive friends to help make your office a fun place to be.

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…and happy hour never hurts either — cheers!

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I’m Coming Back…

…at least I’m going to try to! I know a year and a half is a long break, but I’ve missed posting here. I’m going to scale things back a bit and try to keep things simple this time.

So, what re-inspired me to start posting again? It was none other than one of my first ever beauty inspirations, an actress I have loved since I first set eyes on her in a glorious peasant blouse/vest/jeans/loafers outfit combo in the movie that most informed my childhood; Labyrinth.

labyrinth

It was her answer to the following question in the most recent issue of Glamour:

GLAMOUR: You have a baby daughter. What will you teach her about beauty?

JC: She can teach me a thing or two. But mostly: confidence. I was just working in Iceland and I saw this woman in a crazy scarf with colored tassels and her hair way up in a side ponytail…If she got photographed, Cindi [Leive, Glamour's editor-in-chief] might have her on the Don’ts page! But it was her thing. It was full of color, and she was full of life. If something is right for you, it becomes a Do.

jennifer_connelly

Well said Ms. Connelly, very well said. Glamour is one of the more acceptance-minded magazines out there (which isn’t saying much), but I’ve always found their “Do’s and Don’ts” feature to be kind of gross and mean, definitely the opposite of accepting. I’m a firm believer that there are no RULES in beauty, fashion, art, or anything else that is about expressing yourself. Major Kudos to Jennifer Connelly for pointing that out to them in their own magazine — and reminding me that it’s a subject I don’t want to stop talking about.

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Beauty in the Movies: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitters Dead is one of the best movies ever, please don’t be misled by the title. Sure, if you like super serious movies where you get knocked over the head by meaning and intense emotion and all that, then fine, you might not agree, but if you were a girl who was growing up in the 90s, you probably love this film—and there’s no shame in that, only pride!

DTMTBD is like Working Girl for the 90s teen set, only kind of better because the fashion is way more fun. When Sue Ellen (or “Swell” for short) Crandell’s mom decides to jet off to Australia with her new boyfriend leaving her five children alone for the summer, at first they think they’re going to have the time of their lives. So it comes as quite a surprise when an old woman shows up at the door proclaiming to be their babysitter. It’s even more of a surprise when she drops dead leaving the kids with no money.

Sue Ellen soon realizes that, being the oldest, she’s in charge of her ramshackle gang of siblings for the rest of the summer. She and her burn-out brother Kenny (Keith Coogan) toss a frozen pizza to decide who will get a job and who will stay home with the kids. Sue Ellen loses the pizza toss, and soon finds herself cleaning fat vats at fast food joint Clown Dog. She quits pretty quickly, but not before meeting Brian (Josh Charles), a cute delivery-guy.

As a result of copying her resume straight from a book, Sue Ellen lands a coveted position as Executive Administrative Assistant at General Apparel West, making an enemy of the original candidate for the position, bitchy receptionist Carolyn (Jayne Brook).

Swell’s killer interview outfit and fake resume may have won her the job, but now Carolyn and her boyfriend (a greasy pre-X-Files David Duchovny) are determined to take her down.

Luckily Sue Ellen has the best boss ever, Rose (Joanna Cassidy) who not only can’t stand Carolyn but also gives us viewers the delightful phrase “I’m right on top of that Rose”, which to this day I still hear in my head when given an important task at work. Unfortunately 17-year-old Sue Ellen is in a bit over her head and things soon unravel, but not before an amazing work montage, beach romance, and some truly amazing 90s fashion.

DTMTBD has stuck around and remained in our hearts because it’s atypical for a teen movie. I love that Sue Ellen has a power-suit wearing female boss who is awesome and supportive instead of evil. It’s also great that while she gives herself her own “business” makeover, her younger brother is really the one who ends up going through a typical physical transformation—haircut, clean clothes, etc.

Swell was a fashion icon for me in my formative years, I still marvel at how she made harem pants and over-sized blazers look so effortlessly hip. Her awesome early 90s friends are also an inspiration, they remind me of the babysitters I had as a kid who I though were just the coolest. girls. ever. Side ponytails, teased hair, chunky jewelry, as far as I’m concerned they still look damn amazing.

Don’t be betrayed by the name, if for some reason you’ve never had the delight of watching DTMTBD, give it a try. It’s great this time of year if you’re working your butt off in business wear and feeling bitter about the tourists and day-trippers that surround you on your commute (I speak from very strong personal experience). It’s worth it alone to watch for the fashion show at the end, but really, whether she is wearing doc martens or shoulder-pads, Christina Applegate is just so damn wonderful. So crank up the AC, microwave some popcorn, and revisit a teen movie with style and charm that far exceed its title.

Beauty in the Movies: Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

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Beauty in the Movies: Mahanagar

Ok, so with my new job I’ve been pretty busy and have to squeeze blog-time in before bed (which usually doesn’t happen). As a result, Beauty in the Movies is going to be a little paired down for a while, I’m still going to feature great movies, just with fewer details depending on how hectic things are.

Today I am featuring a fantastic film that a lot of people might not be familiar with—Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar (its English title is The Big City).

Arati Mazumder is a typical Indian housewife, living in early 1960s Calcutta, and taking care of not only her husband and child but her young sister-in-law and her husband’s parents as well. When her husband unexpectedly loses his job, she attempts to save the family by taking a position as a sewing machine sales woman.

Having a career quickly leads to a sense of liberation for Arati, especially when she meets an Anglo-Indian woman at work who introduces her to cat eye sunglasses, lipstick and the realities of discrimination.

Like all of Ray’s films, this one has excellent characters that are endearing, relatable and multidimensional. He had a talent for taking simple stories and making them incredibly meaningful without depending on drama or sentimentality.

For Arati, lipstick becomes symbolic of her empowerment, she applies it before attempting to ask for a raise or make a sales pitch. It is not a form of vanity for her, but a source of courage and change.


I highly recommend this film, it’s entertaining, moving, and uplifting too.  It’s a film with a strong feminist theme, but it doesn’t hit you over the head with its message, or sacrifice entertainment for the sake of it. Mahanagar is a familiar, deceptively simple story, but in its own way it’s timeless and still incredibly relevant today.

Beauty in the Movies: Mahanagar


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Beauty in the Movies: I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle is one of my favorite books ever, and thankfully this 2003 film adaptation actually gives Dodie Smith’s much-beloved novel its due respect.

Cassandra Mortmain (Romola Garai) is an 18-year-old girl living with her eccentric family in a crumbling castle in 1930s England. Her father (Bill Nighy) wrote one incredibly successful and important novel, but has since produced nothing, leaving the family in utter poverty.

Cassandra’s beautiful-but-shallow older sister, Rose (Rose Byrne), is desperate to escape their hopeless existence, so when two American men show up on their doorstep having just inherited the land on which the castle resides, she finally sees her chance. With the encouragement of their nudist, muse-like, stepmother Topaz (Tara Fitzgerald), Rose sets about entrapping a wealthy husband.

Simon (Henry Thomas) and Neil (Marc Blucas) Cotton are rich, attractive, young men, and upon their arrival the Mortmain family is instantly thrown into turmoil. What follows is a story of class, family, coming-of-age, and romance. Cassandra is confused not only by her feelings for the Cottons but also for Stephen Colley (played by Henry Cavill, the new Superman). Stephen is the incredibly attractive son of the Mortmain’s former chef who acts as a handyman to the family and is deeply in love with Cassandra.

Isn’t he just way too handsome? Cassandra’s rejection of sweet, noble, gorgeous Stephen can be somewhat frustrating, but it serves to make her character much more interesting.

I Capture the Castle is a unique story, so don’t expect a typical romantic comedy or predictable characters. Cassandra is an unusually uncommon character. If I would make one criticism of this film as compared to the book it would be that she is even more of a creative, smart, young woman than the movie portrays, especially as compared to Rose whose main appeal is her beauty. In the book Rose is less likeable, and Cassandra’s relationship with her all the more complex because of it—as is often the case with family.

I Capture the Castle depicts perfectly what it feels like to be a confused teenage girl. The heartbreak of first love, the obsession of it, and the humor too, all make this a timeless tale. There is so much beneath the surface of this story, and in some ways it is a direct response to the novels of Jane Austen.

Rose seeks the traditional solution out of her impoverished life—a wealthy husband. Cassandra however, is of the first generation of women who could make their own destiny without a man by supporting themselves. Though some might find it lacking in romance, it was a very new idea for its time, and it holds an allure all its own.

This film is so beautifully shot, acted, and adapted I just can’t recommend it enough. It’s a story about growing up, finding inspiration, and living in a family that others might not understand. The Mortmains are unconventional to say the least, but they support each other’s choices and love one another in a way that transcends the drama they find themselves faced with.

Cassandra describes the characters around her with such wit and insight we can’t help but be drawn into her world. She is a modern woman, but she is only just coming to that realization, so the true pleasure is witnessing her figure that out for herself.

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Beauty in the Movies: Sense and Sensibility

A few weeks ago I featured the film Clueless an update of Jane Austen’s Emma, only to realize that I’ve never featured a direct adaptation of an Austen novel into film. So this week I feature Ang Lee’s beautiful Sense and Sensibility which may not be as true to the novel as some Austen fans would like, but no doubt makes up for it with stunning visuals and amazing acting.

As Mr. Dashwood passes away, his last request is that his only son, John, will promise to take care of his step-mother and sisters who will inherit virtually nothing due to England’s Primogeniture laws which stipulate that land is passed down to only male heirs. Unfortunately, John’s greedy wife Fanny convinces him his sisters will do perfectly fine on their own. As a result Mrs. Dashwood (Gemma Jones) and her three daughters, Elinor (Emma Thompson), Marianne (Kate Winslet), and Margaret (Emilie François) become strangers in their own home and must seek a new place to live.

Fanny’s brother Edward comes to visit while the Dashwoods prepare to abandon their home. Edward is nothing like his shallow, cruel sister and soon he and Elinor form a close friendship. Fanny, or course, disapproves and fearing the friendship will blossom into love makes sure Edward leaves before any such thing can happen. When Mrs. Dashwood’s wealthy cousin, Sir John Middleton, offers the women a cottage on his estate they are finally out of danger. Like most Austen, there are way to many characters and way too many plot twists to cover any more of the plot here, you’ll just have to check it out yourself, it’s worth it.

Sense and Sensibility was Jane Austen’s first published novel, in 1811, and was written under the pseudonym of “A Lady”. She was just 19 when she began what would become her first full length work, and some believe it is partially based on her relationship with her own sister Cassandra. While Elinor represents “sense” or a restrained and courteous disposition, Marianne’s character is representative of “sensibility” what we today would think of as sensitivity, or an overly emotional personality.

Both sister’s traits have their positive and negative aspects, but it does seem that Elinor’s restraint and patience win out while Marianne’s impulsive, sometimes inappropriate, behavior results in heartbreak and distress. Many Austen Biographers have argued over which of the two traits Austen saw as superior, or if she was ever sure of that answer herself. It is generally believed that Austen saw herself as free-spirited Marianne, and her sister as the more practical Elinor whom she looked up to greatly.

During this period in history, as well as many others, a woman’s search for a husband wasn’t what we think of it as today, it was an essential part of life. A woman being a spinster wasn’t awful because it meant she would be sad and lonely, but because she would be poor and most likely spend the rest of her life living off her relation’s generosity. Austen’s novels, though they deal heavily in romance, are also about the struggle to persevere.

If you were a woman born into the middle or upper classes you couldn’t simply go out and get a job, you had no options. The bechdel test fails in Austen, and in other places too, because the need for a husband was so much more than simply romance, it was in many ways a woman’s only hope and therefore a major part of the conversation among women at the time.

To think Austen reveled in the predicament women were in during her time is to completely miss the point, her characters are often in complete turmoil over their own fate, and Emma Thompson does a wonderful job of highlighting this aspect of female life in her adaptation (and in her performance as well). No one could read the novel, or watch the film, and believe that Elinor wouldn’t choose to go out and support her family if she could, but she is utterly repressed by the futility of her position.

Ang Lee’s naturalistic scenery, Jenny Beavan’s gorgeous costumes, and Emma Thompson’s insightful, funny, writing make this adaptation standout from others. There may be few of Jane Austen’s original words in the script, but the spirit of her characters and the cleverness of her storytelling are unmistakable and charming as ever.

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Beauty in the Movies: Enchanted April

So far this April has been cold and dreary, but with the hope of warmer weather to come I present you with this week’s Movie, Enchanted April.

Based on Elizabeth von Arnim’s novel The Enchanted April, this 1992 film is the story of two English women who, despite being married, are very much alone in their lives. When Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) discovers an ad in the paper for the rental of a wisteria covered castle in Italy, she sees a kindred spirit in Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson) and convinces her to rent out the castle with her for the month of April.

Realizing they can’t afford the rental alone, Rose and Lottie take out their own advertisement in the paper and soon find themselves splitting the vacation spot with the stunning and elegant Lady Caroline Dester (Polly Walker), and the stuffy, aged Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright).

All four women are trying to escape from something, for Lottie and Rose it’s their loveless marriages, for Caroline it’s the groping, fawning men of society, and for Mrs. Fisher it’s a life lived in the shadow of those long since dead. The minute the women arrive at the castle of San Salvatore a change begins to take effect on each of them. There is magic in the April air and it seems even cranky old Mrs. Fisher is not immune to the changes it brings.

Enchanted April is a quiet, slow, utterly gorgeous film. When I say “slow” I don’t mean boring, but languid and serene. The sunlit Italian coast is transformative for the characters, but also for the viewer as the shots linger on beautiful scenery that will make you wish for a sunny escape of your own.

What is so refreshing about the plot of Enchanted April is the lack of drama. So many films are filled with twists and catastrophes, but the surprise in this film is the lack of both. It’s not plot that drives this story but the inner monologues of the characters. We are brought directly into each woman’s thoughts with the exception of Lottie, who is the true voice of the whole story. She has a sense about the future of her friend’s lives and an understanding of the magical effect the castle has on them.

I find Lady Caroline an especially interesting character. She is a woman who has always been judged on her beauty alone, which leaves her incredibly frustrated and bored with the life she is trying to escape. At the same time when she is faced with a man who cannot appreciate her beauty, she finds herself distraught and is left questioning her true self.

I don’t have to mention how incredible the costumes, acting, and art direction in this film are, but I just can’t help myself because they’re all so well done. The costume designer, Sheena Napier received an Oscar nomination for her work, as did Joan Plowright for best actress in a supporting role. The movie was shot in the actual Italian castle where the author wrote the novel, which lends an air of authenticity to the story as well.


If you’re feeling blue, desperate for an escape, or just sick of the cold weather, Enchanted April is an excellent film to lift your spirits. It’s uplifting but not overly saccharine and romantic while still retaining a certain amount of surprise. It may be a simple story but it’s complex in emotion and so astonishingly beautiful that you may find yourself renewed just from watching it.

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Beauty in the Movies: The Secret Garden

Most kids have a book (or series of books) that opens up such a world of wonder it becomes a near obsession. For some it might be Little Women, or Harry Potter, but for me that book was Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. Maybe it’s because growing up in an apartment gardens were foreign and fascinating, or maybe it’s because I’m a Capricorn,  but whatever the reason, I found the story pure magic, and I still do.

The Secret Garden is the story of Mary Lennox (Kate Maberly), a 10-year-old girl, born and raised in colonial India by neglectful parents. As a result, Mary has never had friends and grows up incredibly spoiled and bitter. When her parents die suddenly in an earthquake (in the book it’s a cholera outbreak), Mary finds herself shipped back to England to live with a tortured and often absent uncle (John Lynch) whom she has never met on his sprawling country estate, Misselthwaite Manor.

Not only is the house mysterious, it has an air of melancholy, as though “a spell has been cast upon it”. The housekeeper, Mrs. Medlock (Maggie Smith) keeps Mary locked in her room and refuses to coddle her. The sole kindness Mary encounters is from Martha (Laura Crossley), one of Medlock’s servants who is able to calm her violent temper. It’s only when Mary discovers a secret passage in her room, that she begins to unlock the secrets of the house.


Mary stumbles on a key in the room of her deceased aunt, and learns that it opens the door to a beloved garden left neglected after her aunt’s death. As Mary, and Martha’s animal-charmer brother Dickon (Andrew Knott), set about restoring the garden to its former beauty, Mary finds there are more mysteries to be discovered at Misselthwaite.

Early spring always makes me think of The Secret Garden, the world slowly thawing and coming back to life after a harsh winter. There’s magic in the budding of trees and the blooming of the first daffodils—it’s hope, it’s renewal, not just for the earth, but for ourselves as well. The Secret Garden is a metaphorical story with a heavy dose of magical realism. As the garden blossoms so does Mary, and the effect it has on her is contagious, setting off an awakening throughout Misselthwaite.

Not to sound like an old biddy, but I worry that with all the technology available to kids today they’re missing out on the freedom and enchantment of the outdoors. The Secret Garden highlights such an important part of childhood, not just bonding with friends, but the liberation of being outside and making your own discoveries, even if it’s in your own backyard.

While there are a few small deviations from the original novel in this adaptation by Polish director Agnieszka Holland, it’s by far the most visually beautiful and emotionally effective of the many attempts to bring this story to the screen.

The Secret Garden is a gothic tale, almost Jane Eyre-like with the desolate moors and the ghostly wailing in the night. Holland really captures the darkness in the story and pushes the symbolism as well, Mary’s Aunt’s room is not only vacant, but overgrown in vines like a scene out of Sleeping Beauty.

Frances Hodgson Burnett never saw the success of The Secret Garden during her life, her other novels enjoyed much greater popularity in their time. Over the years the novel began to emerge as her most beloved story, it has a deep resonance, it doesn’t feel like a story for children, but for everyone.

Burnett suffered the loss of her 18 year old son and never really recovered from it, The Secret Garden in many ways was a very personal story for her. It’s about the triumph of hope, of life after loss. It reminds us that even when all the world seems dead, if you’re willing to love, just beneath the surface there is new life waiting to grow.

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Beauty in the Movies: Pleasantville

This week’s film passes the Bechdel test, but features both prominent female and male characters. Although I usually focus on strong female leads, it’s important to note the real goal is equal presence and development of both sexes on film. While Pleasantville does have strong female characters, it is really a story about liberation for all.

Jennifer and David are teenage twins from a broken home. Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) is popular and promiscuous (FYI: singer Jenny Lewis makes a brief appearance as one of her friends), while her brother David (Tobey Maguire) is shy and geeky. He’s also obsessed with a black & white Leave It To Beaver-esque TV show called Pleasantville which he sees as a perfect world, unlike the one he is living in.

David and Jennifer don’t get along, and after fighting for control of the TV and breaking the remote, Don Knotts appears at their door as a mysteriously chipper TV repairman. He gives them a new remote which transports them into the sterile, black & white world of Pleasantville, where they have two happily married parents (Joan Allen and William H. Macy), and nothing bad ever happens.

There are no fires or death in Pleasantville, there’s also no need for toilets and no such thing as sex. David wants to play their parts while they figure out how to get home, but free-spirited ’90s woman Jennifer proves unable to assimilate so easily. When she seduces her chaste TV boyfriend, Skip (Paul Walker), she unwittingly brings about a revolution.

David sets change in motion as well when he accidentally introduces the idea of free will to Mr. Johnson (Jeff Daniels), his boss at the soda shop. As creativity and curiosity begin to blossom throughout Pleasantville, so do hatred and ignorance, turning this “perfect” world completely on its head.

The metaphor in this film is obvious but also effective. Not only as an illustration of the absurdity of racism, but also that the price we pay for perfection is imagination. Pleasantville is the garden of Eden and woman is once again the cause for its downfall, but in this reality the expulsion is actually an emancipation.

Gary Ross, the writer and director, has said his intention wasn’t to make a feminist statement, especially in regard to Joan Allen’s character. However, since equality and repression are both major themes of the film and Joan Allen is a fantastic actress, intentional or not, her story arc is the most compelling and does convey a feminist message.

Pleasantville received Academy Award nominations for Best art direction, best costume design, and best original score (by Randy Newman), all of which were well deserved.  The film was shot in color, mostly on digital, and then selectively desaturated, which makes for striking visuals.

Pleasantville drops us into a society that is still longed for by many Americans, a world without sin or emotion, and then shows us how stifling it would be to live there. It’s a simple idea with complex repercussions and overall it’s beautiful and magical to watch—what more could you want?

Beauty in the Movies: Pleasantville
Beauty in the Movies: Pleasantville by justinez featuring a yellow cardigan

Dress
99 GBP - vivienofholloway.com

Vintage dress
150 GBP - lovemissdaisy.com

Knit cardigan
$75 - topshop.com

Dorothy Perkins short cardigan
22 GBP - dorothyperkins.com

River Island peter pan collar blouse
25 GBP - riverisland.com

Cardigan
95 GBP - lkbennett.com

Oasis summer tee
45 GBP - johnlewis.com

Eastex yellow cardigan
60 GBP - houseoffraser.co.uk

Dorothy Perkins short sleeve top
17 GBP - dorothyperkins.com

Bennett
75 GBP - lkbennett.com

Giambattista Valli tweed pencil skirt
441 GBP - net-a-porter.com

Alice by Temperley pleated skirt
$126 - theoutnet.com

La Perla bullet bra
$86 - journelle.com

Pleaser halloween costume shoes
$28 - endless.com

Rupert Sanderson high heel shoes
$575 - boutique1.com

Vintage leather handbag
$35 - modcloth.com

Vintage handbag
$40 - modcloth.com

Vintage clutch
$35 - modcloth.com

Double strand pearl necklace
$99 - myjewelrybox.com

Monet pearl earring
25 GBP - houseoffraser.co.uk

Vintage glove
$20 - modcloth.com

Vintage hat
$40 - modcloth.com

American apparel
$8 - americanapparel.net

Marc by Marc Jacobs gold hair accessory
$22 - couture.zappos.com

Old Navy hair accessory
$3.50 - oldnavy.gap.com

Poodle Skirt
69 GBP - irregularchoice.com

Estee Lauder Radiant Bloom Powder Compact
$175 - bergdorfgoodman.com

Pride and Prejudice
$20 - modcloth.com

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Filed under Beauty in the movies

A Moment For Elizabeth Taylor

We suffered a sad loss yesterday with the death of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, but I have no doubt the enormous life she lived will be remembered for generations to come. Not just for the films she made and the men she married, but for her activism and her vivacious spirit which failed to diminish through sickness and old age. More than anyone I can think of, Liz Taylor was a born star. With striking features including violet eyes and a mutation that gave her an extra set of eyelashes, she could have easily ended up just another pretty face, but instead she became a legend.

My favorite Liz Taylor story is this; Princess Margaret spotted the 39-carat Krupp diamond (given to her by husband Richard Burton) on Elizabeth Taylor’s finger and exclaimed, “That’s the most vulgar thing I’ve ever seen!”. Taylor offered to let her try the “vulgar” jewel on, and watched as the Princess admired the enormous diamond. The quick-witted Taylor then famously quipped: “See? It’s not so vulgar now, is it?”.

It’s a perfect example of what was so lovable about Elizabeth Taylor. She was elegant, graceful and praised for her acting abilities, but she didn’t pretend to be something she wasn’t. She didn’t care if she was considered vulgar, in fact she enjoyed it. So many stars today are trying so hard to appear “classy” by painting themselves as humble and relate-able, but they aren’t, we all know they’re making millions and living a lavish life. Elizabeth Taylor had a forthrightness that couldn’t help but be charming. She was passionate, talented, tough, and always appeared to have a magnificent sense of humor. This is a woman who pulled a tooth from actor, and close friend, Montgomery Clift’s throat as he choked after a car accident. She survived alcoholism, spousal abuse, tabloid insults, 8 marriages, a husband’s sudden death, 5 broken backs, 2 hip replacements, a brain tumor, skin cancer, and an emergency tracheotomy. She was a matriarch, a survivor, a force to be reckoned with, and an inspiration for all women to be who they are and live their lives without apology. Here’s to you Ms. Taylor.

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Filed under celebrity