Category: Classic Fashion Pieces

The White Shirt

Annie Hall

And, oh my, the clothes. That scene where Annie, dressed again after the tennis match where she meets Alvy, emerges in her loose khaki pants, man’s shirt, waistcoat that unbuttons to reveal a wide tie, her hat framing her face, her sisal tote bag slung over her shoulder — that is the scene that launched a million ill-advised teenaged girls’ attempts at men’s wear.

from Annie Hall and Shopping Menswear

I’ve never owned a bucket bag, but I’ve riffed on the rest of the Annie Hall look at various stages of my life. I was a wee child when the film came out but Annie was still cool in 1988, 1992, 1997, 2003. I could never relate to her nerve-wracking flightiness but I could to the carefully rumpled three-piece suit. It said (and says), “I’m almost too smart to touch down properly.”
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The Camel Coat

A few years back there was a film version of the engrossing novel Possession by A.S. Byatt. You may know it only by the fact that it occasionally bobs up from the obscure depths of free Netflix recommendations. (Netflix, by the way, has decided that I like “Understated Comedies About Dysfunctional Families” by my ratings. I quickly ducked their radar by watching a slew of cheesy romantic comedies.)

Possession (the film) disappeared almost as soon as it appeared. I read the book in my early 20s and was engrossed for days on end, holing up in my smoky corner of Sitwell’s Coffeeshop with the rest of the desperate writers. (It is a writerly book about writers researching writers. Enough said.) A couple years later, I read in Mirabella magazine (the only magazine I have ever subscribed to, a combination of fashion and intellectualism, now sadly defunct) that it was being made into a film by Jane Campion, director of The Piano and last year’s absolutely lovely Bright Star.

Ten years went by, no Jane Campion movie. Read more →

The French Stripey Tee

My last post on style resolutions got me thinking about doing a series on classic fashion pieces. I’ve not been so good up till now with “series”–I get so distracted.

So I was rummaging around fabric sites for some quality striped knit fabric from which to remake a long-sleeve striped t-shirt. I made a cotton black and white shirt last winter, but the fabric pilled terribly after one washing. I gave up, thinking that striped shirts are so ubiquitous I should just buy one, and then I got lost in a sea of online stores doing all sorts of sailor stripey things. I’m a sucker for stripes, but especially any kind of stripey t-shirt. It just oozes French style.

Of course the classic stripe is the Breton sailor shirt, going back to the late 1800s as the military-issue French naval uniform and is now an entrenched symbol of national pride. Famous wearers include Chanel:

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