St. Patrick’s Week

shamrock (1)In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this week (tomorrow in fact), I thought I would dedicate this week’s itinerary to everything in St. Patrick’s Day fashion. From the colors, the symbols, and the common interpretations of the holiday, I will explore what each of them means and what each of them represents for St. Patrick’s Day.

I look forward to sharing with everyone the facts surrounding St. Patrick’s Day and all that it means to past and present cultures.

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and be sure to look in each day during this week to find out a little bit more about St. Patrick’s Day fashion.

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Freaky Friday: Daredevil

daredevil 1Marvel created a blind superhero in the early spring of 1964 calling their new superhero: Daredevil.  While Daredevil was an awesome hero fighting crime and the corrupt activities going on across his city while dealing with the loss of his sight, his fashion sense was a little off the essence of what a Daredevil should be.

In the premier of the comic series, Daredevil appeared in a bright sunshine yellow suit accented with maroon shorts, vest, belt, boots, holster, and gloves.  The superhero costume does catch the attention of the readers’ eyes, but it does not seem like something a daredevil would want to wear to stay incognito until he springs upon the bad guys.

daredevil 2Luckily, Marvel seemed to see the problem in their errors in costume design. The creators of the comic book series changed Daredevil’s get-up to one that was a little more inconspicuous to the evil-doers.

Daredevil’s suit changed into an all maroon costume that looked more devilish and more secretive. The darker ensemble is more suitable for hiding into the background to evade the attacks of the criminals trying to track him down before Daredevil gets to them.

This suit change, although it varies from time to time, seems to stay consistent in color scheme and in general shape. The look even transferred fairly well on to the big screen with the Daredevil movie in 2003 starring Ben Affleck as Daredevil himself.

If the Daredevil look stays consistent, then Daredevil should continue to look like a bad-ass while he is being one in his days of crime fighting.

daredevil

Throwback Thursday: Poodle Skirt

poodle skirt 2The poodle skirt worn by women in the 1950’s was a staple of fashion in America.  Now generalized to a little girl’s Halloween costume or a reminder to the musical Grease, the poodle skirt seems like an image from the past.

However, the poodle skirt has evolved with today’s fashion trends and is still a part of our culture whether we recognize it or not.

According to Vintage Dancer, http://www.vintagedancer.com/1950/1950s-fashion-history-skirts/, the poodle skirt became popular in 1947 and continued to remain on the market for women throughout the 1950’s.

The poodle skirt consisted of a tight waist that flared into a full skirt that cut off at the knees or at tea length. The more voluminous a skirt was the more fashionable it was. Women donned crazy designed skirts and puffed them up with petticoats, hoops, and any fabric a woman could get her hands on.

poodle skirt 3Also, Vintage Dancer states that the heavier the fabric, the more fashionable the woman appeared. The most popular of the full poodle skirts were made of wool to make them heavier and made it so women needed more fabric to make the skirt stay flared.

These skirts were very flattering to a woman’s body, which is probably why we still incorporate a variation of the poodle skirt in today’s fashion market.

Flared skirts are popular in a shorter look today where skirts hit the mid-thigh for a fun summer day look.

Flared skirts can also be seen walking down the streets today at a longer length like the poodle skirts. They can be dressed up for formal events, can be a casual day look, and can even be transformed into a business-casual look for office jobs.

poodle skirt

Although the flared skirts of today’s society are not usually made of the thick and heavy materials they were in the 1950’s, they still carry the same fun and flirty essence that women were trying to achieve in the middle of the 20th century.

poodle skirt 1

Disney Accuracy

cinderella 2When little girls dream of being a princess, one princess in particular usually comes to mind: Cinderella. She is a hard-worker who comes from humble beginnings and gets whisked into a magical world where all her dreams come true. She marries the prince and lives happily ever after. Almost every average girl thinks they can be the next Cinderella. The fashion choices Cinderella makes only entices little girls to want to be her even more.

Cinderella’s tale is supposedly based in the mid to late 1800’s of the Victorian era. According to the Jane Austen Community, http://www.janeausten.co.uk/court-gowns-dressing-the-part/, women of this time period were instructed to wear “Court Dresses” to formal functions such as a ball where one might be able to meet a prince.  Women’s dresses consisted of a hooped skirt, followed by a fairly long train to add a little drama to the look.

cinderellaLooking at both of Cinderella’s ensembles, the one she made, the iconic blue one the Fairy Godmother bestowed upon her, and the white wedding dress she wears at the end, the style of “Court Dress” did secure accuracy with the hoop skirt look, but failed to provide the common train that every “Court Dress” featured.

Furthermore, the Jane Austen Community states that the skirts often came up to a high waist allowing for little space between the skirt and the bust. These dresses were often decorated with over the top floral prints and sometimes contained extravagant accessories such as white feathers, and gaudy jewelry.

cinderella 3Even though Cinderella’s dress was beautiful, it was also very plain compared to the designs of the time. Plus, it missed the flair of the excessive accessories that were iconic to the “Court Dress” style of the 1800’s.

Therefore, Cinderella’s ensemble for the ball may not have been accurate to the time period the tale is supposed to take place in, but the changes the animators at Disney made were most likely for the better. The 1800’s court fashion may have been stylish at the time, but in today’s standards, the outfits would be considered ridiculous and unwearable. No little girl wants to be the princess at the ball dressed in the ugly costume nobody wants to wear.

cinderella 1

Disney Accuracy

snow whiteLong, flowing yellow skirt, blue corset with circled puffy sleeves, red tear drop cut-outs within the short sleeves, a small red headband fitted with a tiny bow, and a huge white collar that often drapes down into a small red cape.  All of these elements compile into the outfit of one famous Disney creation: Snow White.

Being the first major animated motion picture of Walt Disney’s career, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs introduced the iconic image of the perfect female Disney Princess. As iconic as Snow White has come to be, the fashion of Snow White’s wardrobe may not be the same as the historical time period fashion she is supposed to be a part of.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is rumored to take place in the early to mid 1500’s, which would be simultaneous with the time of Queen Elizabeth I, aka the Elizabethan Era.  With this time period comes a lot of interesting and bold fashion choices for women.

According to Head over Heels History, http://www.headoverheelshistory.com/1500.html, the fashion of the 1500’s consisted of huge, hooped skirts. The bodice would come to a point in the middle of the tucked in waistline, accentuating the curves of a woman. To top off the outfit, women would adorn a thick, ruffled collar that severely impaired movement.

In addition, Charlene Christmon, Mario Hunter, and Raquel Nash, authors of Elizabethan England: Fashions: Women and Men,  http://www2.springfield.k12.il.us/schools/springfield/eliz/fashionwm.html, wrote that women would often wear “small jeweled caps,” to adorn their hair.

snow white 1Instead of taking these intense fashion choices into consideration, Disney animators decided to make Snow White an anomaly from the average fashions of the 1500’s.  The only fashion element the animators kept the same between Elizabethan fashion and Snow White is the V-shaped point of the bodice when it connects with the skirt.  Otherwise, Snow White takes on an entirely new fashion without much  consideration to the fashion of her era.

Of course, being the first animated feature film, animators did have trouble capturing all they wanted to capture on the big screen, so the inconsistencies between the differing fashion trends could be accounted for with limited animation technology. Either way, Disney brought the world an iconic story and an even more iconic princess, even if her fashion wasn’t entirely period accurate.

Freaky Friday: Catwoman

catwoman 2From the creators of DC Comics comes another complicated female comic book character who is both sexy and violent in nature.  Although she switches back and forth between good and evil based on her mood and what seems fun to her in the moment, Catwoman has grown to become a sex symbol in the comic book universe, in television appearances, and in big budget films.

In her debut in the first Batman comics in the 1940’s, Catwoman graced the pages of the comic book with an outfit that was revealing and confusing for a character that channeled the essence of a cat.

Her appearance showed she had a strong body with black knee-high boots under a purple floor length gown/cape/jacket that had two high slits to emphasize her powerful leg muscles.  The dress moves up into a long sleeved silhouette that displays much of her chest with a deep plunging neckline.  Her dress has an attached hood with two pointed cat ears, yet her blue flowing hair can be visibly seen jutting out through the hood. She wears a black mask that covers the top half of her face and she has a long green cape clasped around her throat that flows down to the ground.
Although this is the extravagant outfit comic book designers were looking for to entice buyers in the early stages of comic book history, her cat-like image is only emphasized in her hood.

In 1966 Catwoman evolved into Julie Newmar’s Catwoman in the television series, Batman. In her role, Newmar wore a skin tight sparkly black jumpsuit with long black gloves, tall black boots, a thick gold belt and a gold chain necklace with a small cat-ear headband and no mask. Here, Catwoman transformed from muscular foe to sexy vixen.

catwoman

With this sexy change, several actresses took over the role of Catwoman with similar ensembles. Lee Meriwether wore the same outfit, but added a thick black mask in the 1966 movie adaptation of Catwoman.

catwoman 3

When Newmar left Batman after the first season, she was replaced with Eartha Kitt who wore the same costume as Meriwether.

catwoman 4

After almost thirty years, Catwoman emerged again in the 1992 film Batman Returns with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Her ensemble was less sexy and more psychotic. She wore black leather with white stiches running throughout the outfit as if she were Frankenstein’s monster coming alive again.

catwoman 5

In the early 2000, Halle Berry took a stab at the role of Catwoman donning the sexiest Catwoman costume, but also the most confusing one. She wore black leather pants that attached to a black leather bra by two criss-crossing belts across her abdomen.  Even though it was a sex symbol statement, the costume did not seem very practicle for fighting or much of anything a cat would wear at all unless they were a dominatrix.
catwoman 6

Even with this blunder, Catwoman returned to film again in the Dark Knight Rises with Anne Hathaway playing the feline role. Her all black ensemble looked battle ready as if it were skin-tight body armor protecting her from those who opposed her.

catwoman 1
For Catwoman’s final evolution, she turned into a street cat played by Camren Bicondova in the new series, Gotham.  She wears black army boots, ripped black skinny-legged pants with black fish net stockings undereneath, a black biker jacket with cut out black gloves, and a grey hoodie sitting underneath the jacket with goggles on top covering her short, manic curly hair.

catwoman 7

Catwoman is always changing with the times whether she is the premier superhero, a sex symbol, a psychotic feline, or a street thug.  Even with all her changing looks, she is still an iconic comic book phenomenon.

Disney Accuracy: Esmeralda

esmeraldaDisney writers, animators, and creators take a lot of foundation from literary works. No exception to that commonality is their 1996 animated feature: The Hunchback of Notre Dame based on the novel by Victor Hugo in 1831.  Said to take place in 1482 on the celebratory day of Feast of Fools in Paris, France, The Hunchback of Notre Dame gives a cast of diverse characters facing hardship, discrimination, and the political/religious pressures of the times.

To make a family friendly movie, Disney created a movie that stayed true to the heart of the book while making it a safe story for children of any age to watch.  With dedication to detail in the narrative, let’s see if Disney remained true in the fashion choice they gave their damsel/heroine: Esmeralda.

The 1400’s were still apart of the Middle Ages in history and the clothing of Esmeralda’s class being the gypsies or peasants, would not have been of very high or flashy quality. Most of the clothing of the lower class was made out of woolen cloth and sheepskin cloaks.  According to Annenberg Learner, http://www.learner.org/interactives/middleages/morcloth.html, “women wore long gowns with sleeveless tunics and wimples to cover their hair.”

iwimple001p1Women of the Middle Ages would have worn wimples to completely cover their hair. Although Esmeralda has a cloth-like covering to some of her hair, not exactly the traditional wimple. This fashion omission can be forgiven seeing as how Esmeralda is a rebel to the rules that govern society.

Disney did display some of the traditional attributes of the Middle Ages fashion but failed to hit the mark in simple respects that would have described Esmeralda’s class situation. For example, Esmeralda’s skirt was the right length; however, Esmeralda was of a lower class being a gypsy so she would not have worn purple. The color purple was reserved for royalty in many cultures and a woman of Esmeralda’s status would never wear such a garb.

Plus, jewelry was never really warn by peasants and those of lesser classes. In the middle ages, jewelry and furs were reserved for royalty and upper class-men who could afford such luxuries.

The only way Esmeralda’s costume choice can be justified is if she stole the outfit and the jewelry from royalty seeing as most gypsies were thieves, but she probably wouldn’t have worn the clothing and the jewelry so openly if she had stolen them.

esmeralda 2Despite, these few marks against Esmeralda’s costume design, the animators did get the silhouette as close as they possibly could. They also took into consideration how Esmeralda may not have been able to afford shoes and made her barefoot. If she did have shoes, they most likely would have been some cheap leather boots.

Aside from taking a few liberties with the fashions of the Middle Ages, Disney managed to capture the essential spirit of what a real gypsy would have worn in this time in history.