Cinema Style: The Big Sleep

Monday, January 12, 2015

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart are one of Hollywood's most enduring love stories; they met and fell in love during Bacall's first film . They were paired again multiple times, because of the chemistry they shared. Though she was several decades his junior, it was always a meeting of equals, a woman taking on a man's world. This is reflected in Bacall's costume wardrobe for their second film together, The Big Sleep , a noir whose mystery brings a private eye into the sphere of a sophisticated and husky-voiced heiress. 
white dress, white vest,

Vest, Bracelets, Watch, Shoes, Dress

Bacall came to Hollywood as the protégée. of director Howard Hawks, and he worked tirelessly on her image. In The Big Sleep, Bacall sings, something Hawks was hoping would become part of her mystique. Bogart's Phillip Marlowe watches in a nightclub as Bacall sashays around crooning in her characteristically deep voice. She's wearing an all-white number with a surprising twist- a white vest that lends a tomboyish air to the evening gown. You can capture that balance of sensuality and boyishness too by pairing a white maxi dress with a more modern, deconstructed vest. A chunky watch can amp up the masculinity of the dress, and nude heels make the outfit perfect for a night on the town or day of shopping. 
Bacall, Lauren, humphrey, Bogart,

Much of Bacall's enduring style actually comes from Howard Hawks- specifically from Hawks' wife, whose was named Slim. The suit jacket Bacall dons in The Big Sleep is a reworking of the one she wears in her first film To Have and Have Not, and both are based on the clothes of "Slim" Hawks. This time, Becall dons a a beret to go with the look. A checked blazer- both then and now- allows  her- and you -to make a statement while keeping to clean, sophisticated lines. Instead of pairing the blazer with a matching skirt, as Bacall does, why not slip on a black bodycon dress that will mimic those same clean lines, but keep things from getting too visually overstimulating? Further modernize the look with on-trend black, heeled ankle boots. 

clothes, checked blazer, beret,

Hat, Dress, Blazer, Boots, Necklace


  1. OMG! This movie sounds devine... I'm gonna have to watch it. She is sooo beautiful I just can't believe her face! Love your posts about old cinema style! Also, I'm loving your new hair color too!

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  2. I always love these posts. I like old Hollywood style very much but want to dress in my era so I like how you reinterpret these styles for our times :) very inspiring!

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  3. Great post. I did one recently praising "To Have And Have Not" but I don't have your expertise in fashion to discuss why her clothes are so beautiful. Their chemistry was as apparent on-screen as off-.

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