Marnie’s Yellow Handbag

While there are already some informative posts about Alfred Hitchcock’s use of handbags in films, and Marnie’s Yellow Handbag from the opening sequence of the film Marnie, I am just looking at the sartorial beauty of the thing. For further reading, check out this one here.

Since seeing the film a number of years ago I have been searching in vain for anything remotely similar. When I say ‘remotely’, I actually have quite a few specifications. Like, the Actual Bag. Not too much to ask? Apparently.

Here’s a breakdown of the main features;

• Leather for durability, or a vegan (plant based) option that stands the test of time. Please throw me suggestions as I don’t have any experience with vegan leather yet.

• The easy nestling underarm size – big enough for all the essentials.

• The clasp closure with the ruching into the frame.

• The colour: bright yet muted yellow. Butter, maybe. Custard?

• No icky black sealing along the seams which is so often seen nowadays! Why?! It’s obviously cheaper than actually sewing it in, but use a matching colour, please! Anyone else irritated by this?

I used to have a purple mock croc handbag by Fiorelli in the right size and shape, with an amazing oversized clasp which a always got compliments, mainly from men! So when it flaked beyond it being respectable to go out in public I took it apart and kept the interior and frame clasp. This was in the optimistic hope being able to sew my own using some leather remnant I might find in The Yellow. However, with Lockdown #1-3 my chances of visiting Pittards factory outlet have so far been thwarted.

Ploughing through the internet for the easier option of buying, you’d think I would find something. Not likely! Nobody makes what I want to spend my money on.

Then, out of the blue a fashion ad popped up on my IG feed with Hitchcockian overtones, and I saw a glimpse of a Yellow Bag. Watch it here.

Finally, someone with the means to design and make the bag has been inspired by Marnie’s Yellow Handbag.

Salvatore Ferragamo SS21

Further searching following that excitement, I found another brand with the right style handbags for SS21. Neither is exactly right. If only Salvatore Ferragamo had the ruching, or the Pastaccino by Max Mara was available in yellow.

Pasticcino bag by Weekend Max Mara

Now, while they are out of my budget bracket, it fills me with renewed hope to keep watching the high street for cheaper options, if I don’t attempt making my own. Usually 2 or 3 years down the line. Patience is a virtue.

Any good YouTube tutorials out there?

Do you have an iconic bag you treasure or on your wishlist? Maybe a Kelly by Hermes? Or Grace Kelly’s little overnight case in Rear Window?

Vintage and Retro Sunglasses

Vintage dressing always  looks best finished with accessories. Generally, I plan jewellery with my clothes, but with sunny weather here, sunglasses are picked up as I rush out the door. I try to make it simple by having a few pairs (not too many!) that cover the decades I like.

For the Twenties, Thirties and Forties small round glasses were popular. There are some fun frame designs from the Forties, like petals around the eyes to create flowers! Watch Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun (film or ITV) for some great Thirties summer outfits and sunglasses. I love the colourised photo of a young blonde Bette Davis with an icecream.

Bette Davis sunglasses
Round Thirties sunglasses

Cat eye glasses epitomised the Fifties, from bookish to pin-up. Marilyn Monroe wore a thinner black design that won’t flatter everyone, but I like the wider frames that go to the edge of the face, and up to the eyebrow. Classic black or tortoiseshell goes with everything, but there is plenty of scope for fun. Coloured frames to match lipstick, dresses or accessories were popular, as were diamante details and shapes on the upper edge. Ray-Ban wayferers were worn by Marilyn too, and these are a classic style that’s still popular.

Going into the Sixties, sunglasses got bigger and any shape and design imaginable show up. Generally, bug-eye and soft edged square shapes were popular. Grace Kelly had a huge selection of sunglasses, and that might be a good place to start if you want to have a reference to shapes and styles before you shop round.

Grace-kelly-Sunglasses-To-catch-a-thief

My dream pair of sunglasses are the pair Audrey Hepburn wears as Holly Golighty in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. They have a tortoiseshell framework greenish lenses. These were designed by Oliver Goldsmith. It’s worth checking out some of his other designs too. There are lots of similar designs out there, but if you want the real thing, Oliver Goldsmith reissued a line!

Breakfast at Tiffany's - Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses

This style covers the Seventies owl eyes and modern styles currently popular.

They are well worth it, they met all my expectations. Now I’m scared of scratching them, so I am learning to be glasses conscious, not wearing them on top of my head and always putting them in a hard case when I’m not wearing them.

Here’s my line-up of necessary styles to have a pair for any outfit from the Twenties to the Sixties.

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All these eras are covered by modern styles available to buy on the high street. Now you know what to look for, I hope you find a style you like.

 

Fifties cropped trousers

I love the fit of vintage clothes, that high street brands rarely match. Trousers that fit snug on the waist but actually fit over my hips are difficult to find.

See how nicely Fifties trousers fit, and you’ll be glad to know there are replica vintage brands that fill the need. For example, Collectif, Bernie Dexter, Pinup Girl Clothing, Heyday and Vivien of Holloway.

However, the price tag isn’t always level with the high street because of the work that goes into shaping. Still, they may not match the difference between your waist and hips as they have to size ready-to-wear with an ‘average’ difference. Vintage clothing generally gives a 10″ difference between hips and waist for an hourglass figure, or 12″ appears on my vintage patterns. Let me know if you’re lucky enough to find high waisted trousers with this difference in a high street brand!

I love my replica vintage ladies jeans from Vivien of Holloway. The fit is perfect at the waist and over my hips. This makes them so comfortable, as they just stay put, and don’t require me pulling them up as they stretch. The leg is pretty much a classic straight cut and and the seams don’t twist. The belt loops are fairly big, over an inch, so a belt can be worn. They were sold as rolled up jeans, but i do unroll mine and they come to my ankles. I’m 5’2″, so no supermodel. I guess if you have long legs, they’d be 7/8th length? Still perfect pin up jeans, good with flats or heels, a really flattering fit with a slight stretch to the fabric.

The other trousers I love wearing because they fit well, are a pair I made from a vintage replica sewing pattern.  I bought some black and white gingham for making Miss Winter’s skirt The Assassination Bureau, and had plenty left over for making a pair of cropped trousers inspired by Marilyn Monroe.

A friend asked me to make her a pair, and here she is channelling Audrey Hepburn, modelling them.

 

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Photo credit: Gina Walbridge

Here’s what to wear with vintage style trousers;

  • A lightweight knit with heels like Marilyn
  • Boat neck top and ballet flats like Audrey
  • Shirt and loafers like Grace

Notice the details too;

  • The decorated flats Audrey wears or the laces on Grace’s flats
  • a scarf as a belt
  • The variety of patterns used for the trousers, while keeping the top plain.

How do you wear yours?