Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fashion Checkmate: How to Work Brown and White

When the seasons are changing and the weather can't hold it together ("Summer in the light, winter in the shade", as Dickens so brilliantly put it), it's really really difficult to get a handle on what to wear.

In decades past, by accident or by design, fashion arbiters made the elements' mood swings work for them with the traditional pre-May pairing of navy and white. Some sober dark to keep things real, a flash of brightness that holds the promise that summer isn't all that far away.

I love this pairing any time of year (and have written about it before) but just recently started clocking its less-frequently-seen counterpart, brown and white. Costumer Theadora van Runkle shows us how it's done in Faye Dunaway's costume above, from The Thomas Crowne Affair. (And doesn't poor Steve, trussed up in the trenchcoat you know he doesn't want to wear, look like he's ready to deck her . . .)

Anyway, you can find some great examples in the vintage department, case in point this fine pair of old Florsheims, or the patent bag that is an almost match.

Feeling fashionably bipolar and need a remedy, quick? Those old-school designers knew, and can help you with a fix . . .


  1. Ms Dunaway looks SO stylish - those boots are amazing. And I love the spectators, such a classic design.

  2. OMG - Faye Dunaway looks SO bad. Is this from the Thomas Crown Affair? At last to have identified the costume designer who got the fashion designs so badly wrong - at least for us in the UK which was the style leader at that time. We fell about laughing at poor Faye's outfits. USA fashion trying to look like couture derived from London street fashion. Mini skirts worn with high heels!!! She looked 10 years older than she probably was. And FP - don't you EVER, EVER diss Steve, whatever he is wearing (or forced to wear)or else...

  3. WELL. I will stay neutral on Faye's style quotient here BUT must say that I'm feeling Steve's pain, not dissing him.

    Elegance this is an excellent subject for a post. What would an authentic London girl have worn? xx to you both