The Blue Gardenia

Love Carey Mulligan's glamorous sheaths? Then get the look. August 21, 2010 20:10

I shall keep this brief, dear readers, because you are probably as sleepy as I am and just as eager to cuddle up in bed with a warm glass of milk, a trashy novel and an organic bon-bon. Or two. But. I had to share before pulling back the covers and nestling inside.

An_education_sheathI watched An Education tonight. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Indeed, so much I had to wonder why I didn't see it in the theater. Oh. Yes. No theater in my lovely little town. I would have to drive twelve miles to the next town. We simply can't have that. Not when I can wait a month or two or three and drive a mere two miles to the locally-owned video store.

So. I won't spoil the plot for those of you who haven't seen it. Because. I am kind. I am considerate. I am all that. But here are a few details — just a few: The year is 1961. There's an innocent. There's a cad — whoops! Have I gone too far?

At any rate, dear readers, the clothes are luscious.  Carey Mulligan as Jenny sheds her schoolgirl duds for elegant sheaths. Odile Dicks-Mireaux designed the clothes for the movie. And they are so right, from the dull bookish uniforms to the smoky nightclub brocade sheaths. 

If you want to emulate Jenny's sophisticated chicklet-about-town look, might I suggest McCall's 7007? It can be yours, and you can make it for day, for night, again and again. And did I mention it's a Quickie? How marvelous is that? And, yes, we do have it at The Blue Gardenia. You guessed. Didn't you? 

Let this be more than food for thought. I beg you. August 25, 2009 16:44

Today, I'll keep it simple, straightforward, succinct: See Food, Inc. For me. For yourself. For the planet.

OK. I'm stepping off my soapbox now and going back to A Closed Eye.

Shameless plug: Dunne. Tierney. Moreau. You decide. May 3, 2009 15:41

You deserve a treat. In fact, you deserve many. So. Just for you (and, for me, too, because I have a fondness for a roof over my head and food in my larder), it is update time at The Blue Gardenia. Nearly 70 fabulous, amazing vintage patterns have been added for your viewing and shopping pleasure. May I tempt you with a few choice morsels?

Vogue_couturier_346 You have a wedding to attend. But there will be no silly, frilly chiffon froth for you. Nosiree. You're in an Irene Dunne mood. You want something different. Something sleek. Something sophisticated. Vogue Couturier Design 346, an exclusive design created in Paris more than 70 years ago, fits the bill. Unusual lines. A slim silhouette. And that blouse. What a blouse. On the other hand, perhaps it is a little mean, a little inconsiderate to wear such a beautiful suit to someone else's wedding. After all, no one will be looking at the bride. Because everyone will have their eyes tuned to you.

Butterick_3226 Butterick 3226, from the 1940s, is a stunner in the Gene Tierney mode. It is understated. Gorgeous. Striking. Absolutely. Eye-capturing button detail (May I suggest bound buttonholes in a contrasting color? Yes. Yes. Yes.) on the hip and collar. Soft gathers at the waist. Figure-caressing skirt to highlight your assets. 

You will channel your inner Jeanne Moreau when you don Vogue Paris Original 1270, circa 1960s, courtesy of Lanvin. It is simple. It is classic. But. It has a twist. Look at the blouse scarf. It is not your ordinary scarf. With an ordinary bow. No. It is — dare I say it, dare I write it — unique. Really. Truly. It is. It references tradition and yet rebels against it. But in a whisper. Ever so quietly. In library tones.

Lanvin_suit_1960s So. There you go. A teaser, if you will, for this update. If these do not delight you, then check out the other additions. I know you will find something. I do. Absolutely. Really. Truly.

And, now, for the tedium. New additions always go  at the beginning of each category. And we take Mastercard, Visa, Discover and Amex, as well as Paypal to make it easier for you. And, of course, checks, money orders and cold hard cash. Actually, we take warm soft cash, too. We are so agreeable.

Little Edie may not dance, but oh how swell she dresses! April 22, 2009 10:55 2 Comments


I could say I'm back. I'm here. I'm at the keyboard. But you are smart boys and girls. Very. So you know that.

So. I watched the HBO version of Grey Gardens. Admittedly, in bits and pieces. Here and there. But. I was impressed. I confess I was apprehensive. Why would anyone want to remake the Maysles' 1975 documentary version? I could not fathom. It was perfection. Not only that, it made me feel like, well, a rather superlative homemaker. Ready to star in a Swiffer commercial.  

I love the clothes in the new fictionalized version. And you know that I can be quite the ferocious critic when it comes to period pieces. But Catherine Marie Thomas, credited with the costumes, has won the BG seal of approval. Indeedy. 

My favorite gown is the cream satin number worn by beauteous Drew Barrymore, who plays Little Edie with ever so much respect and ever so little camp, at a gathering at Grey Gardens in 1937. The snooty hood and the sumptuous fabric make this gown for me. Absolutely. So lush. So sexy.

If you want to emulate this look — and I do — then may I suggest Vogue 5758? It's a 1940s rendition of the look. But oh how wow the drapey bodice would look in satin. Yes, ma'am.

That Touch of Fashion: Day's the boss, but her clothes deny it March 26, 2009 16:40 1 Comment


Yes. It's true. Another post about Doris Day. I continue to work my way through her film catalog. (Sheesh! The pointless tasks I set for myself!)Doris_day_fashion

Today, I'll See You in My Dreams, a 1951 pic directed by Michael Curtiz. Ms. Day plays Grace LeBoy Kahn, meddling (or some might say domineering) wife of lyricist Gus Kahn, who wrote – you guessed it, gold stars all around – the lyrics for I'll See You in My Dreams, It Had to Be You, Mammy, and so on. Marjorie Best and Leah Rhodes costumed this film. The clothes tend to the bland. Ever so. Even the evening gowns are dull. My personal favorite is the housewifey waitress dress, or maybe it should be the waitressy housewife dress, shown above.

Now. If this is your look, might I suggest Anne Adams Instructor 4811? Yes. I might. It's my blog. After all. One caveat:  Avoid pink. You'll look like you should be slopping hash or toting a basket of chocolate eggs and bunnies.

Gee. I can't get enough film fashion these days. Can you tell? March 19, 2009 16:27 1 Comment


Ahh, period movies. The clothes so often make me cringe. They make me cry. They make me sneer. They make me whine. You know it, girls and boys.

Beyonce_etta_dress But, today, a pleasant surprise: Cadillac Records. Costume designer Johnetta Boone nailed the period. Totally. She did not strive for the lowest common denominator. She did not go for that generic Monkey Ward look that mars Mad Men, that had me grinding my teeth as I watched Far From Heaven. Ms. Boone reached for the stars, and she caught a handful.

The clothes are fabulous. Sexy. Beautiful. Authentic. Of the time. And yet, classic. Gorgeous. For the ages.

Cadillac_records_fashion And Beyonce, as songstress Etta James, has never looked better. Sorry, Weight Watchers. Ms. Knowles is a luscious advertisement for packing on twenty pounds. And for wearing a curly blonde wig. Not to mention feline eyeliner. (Alas, I have never once skillfully applied frisky kitty liner. Mine always looks more like the work of a rogue kindergartner left alone with fingerpaint.)

And what is it about Adrien Brody? So irresistible on the big screen, even when his character is a wee bit sleazy, yet so skinny, so limp on the small screen.

That Touch of Fashion: Doris works the skirt and blouse March 16, 2009 11:28


I am in the mood for skirts and blouses. This frame of mind could be inspired by Doris Day's wardrobe in the 1950 movieYoung Man with a Horn. Could be. But then, she also wears form-fitting ­yet ladylike suits and frilly evening gowns as big band singer Jo Jordan. They leave me cold. They leave me frigid. Indeed. Do I still have a pulse? Mmmmm . . . it's fading.

McCalls_5082 Of course. Doris is a good girl. (That goes without saying. I suppose.) In fact, she's such a trusting, devoted, clueless gal pal that she introduces her alleged buddy Amy North, played in slinky psycho fashion by Lauren Bacall, to the man she quietly, silently loves. Girlfriend, bad move. Very. Be a good girl. If you must. But a sap? No. Amy isn't worth it. Her soul is fuzzy green with mold.

So. If I had been a good girl — and you know I haven't been. Alas ­ — then I would stitch up McCall 5082, copyright 1959, and Woman's Day 5001, View C, copyright 1951. This is the Jo Jordan look that gets my whistle blowing. It's sexy. Classic. Hard-working. Ever so.

Have Rick Martin (played by Kirk Douglas, muscles abulge, skin aglow, complete with jazz-dot dimple) check my pulse. Please. Right now. This minute. There is no time to waste.



Oh, Oscar! Inspire me. Please. You owe me after Sunday night. February 23, 2009 15:42

Oscar_tomei I refuse to restrain my inner Ms. Snippy. She yearns to be free. She begs for release. And who I am I to tell her no? I won't I won't I won't. Especially after that boring Ambien-equivalent Oscar program last night. It seemed endless. Positively. And as dull as a sack of dirt. Oh. Yes. A heavy sack, indeed.

Where were the movie clips? The Oscar is — last time I checked - a movie award. I want to see clips. And what was up with the silly, time-wasting presentation of the acting awards by five former winners? And Hugh Jackman? Please. I want Jon Stewart. I want Steven Colbert.

But enough. On to the clothes. (Most of them were snore-inducing as well. Alas.)

Actually, now that I think about it, there were only two gowns I consider worthy of mention.

Marisa Tomei's pleated, architectural Versace. Astounding. Beautiful. Sexy. This is the way to bare a shoulder. Absolutely.

Oscar_fashion_beyonce Beyonce's gown has been the object of much derision. Seems some fashionistas decry it as worthy only of draping one's windows. I disagree. Totally. I love the leaf print and its reference to the 1940s. I love the bodice. I love the 1950s sexy chanteuse silhouette. 

And, by the way, just so you know: I do not want to see any more headlines that tout the revival of old Hollywood glamour. So overused. So worn out. So done. No more. News outlets, you should know better. For shame.

We all make mistakes. Don't we? Even Ella. January 19, 2009 09:55 2 Comments

Oh. My. God. And that, my internet buds, is a prayer.  A prayer for organization. A prayer to stop clipping. A prayer to recycle Paul Krugman columns instead of saving them. (I could, after all,  just read his blog, The Conscience of a Liberal. ) A prayer to find CD jewel cases. Where do they go? Are they like that one sock in a pair? That one sock that scampers off when I'm not looking. Egads!


And speaking of deities: Thank God for Ella Fitzgerald. She calms me down. She reminds me that I should reach for perfection. Absolutely. Even if I never attain it. Even if I don't get past the first step on that particular stairway.

But. Chaos is not what I intended to blog about. Let me rein myself in. Whoa. Come back, Denise, come back. Your topic awaits you.

And that topic is . . . drumroll, boys and girls . . . Renee  Zellweger's frocks. This, inspired by Amanda, she of the evocative sense of place, she of Still Life in South America.

Frankly. I hated Renee's Golden Globes gown. It shocked me. Completely. I did a double take. She's usually picture perfect. Elegant. Sleek. Perfection. (To use that impossible word again. I refuse to ban it from my vocab. Despite its unpopularity these days.) As is, for that matter, Carolina Herrera, who designed both of these dresses. The black one — the miss by several miles, heck, the miss by several solar systems — is the Golden Globes nightmare.Reneech  The blue one, well,  I'd love to have it in my closet. Love it. It's floaty. Dreamy. Flattering. To the nth.

So. What was Ms. Zellweger thinking? She obviously misplaced her unerring sense of style. Perhaps it's run off to join my socks, my Best of Julie London and Squirrel Nut Zippers Perennial Favorites jewel cases. Anyway. I hope she finds it soon. Perhaps she can also tell my socks to come back home. And the jewel cases.

Meanwhile. I'll let Ella's Harold Arlen Songbook console me. But. I've got a right to hang around down around the river. I've got a right to moan and sigh. Mr. Arlen says so. And he wouldn't lie. I know it.

The Un-Martha Chronicles. Or a Day or Two in My Life. September 16, 2008 19:02 1 Comment

Martha Stewart, I fear, would be most unhappy with my progress at putting the house back together after the carpet installation. Most. She might take me out behind the woodshed, in fact. Because. I took yesterday off to see The Women with a girlfriend. (Contrary to what one snippy critic said, I thought Annette Bening looked fabulous. But couldn’t Mary Haines have said “thanks, but no thanks” when that unfaithful lout of a husband begged for her hand again? And couldn’t the director have said a loud, emphatic “no, thanks” to that silly, manipulative birthing scene? Heavens to Betsy, it was endless. Absolutely.)

But back to my Monday and what I did and did not accomplish. (Because I know your day won’t be complete if I don’t share these scintillating details.) I did a yoga class. I finished an Ann Rule book. I made tuna salad. (When I said scintillating, I meant scintillating. Really.)

Today, I did a yoga class. And I did do a bit of work on restoring order to our home. A bit. A tiny bit. Not enough to win Martha’s smile of approval, though. Not enough for a gold star. Oh, well, there’s always tomorrow. Just ask Ms. O’Hara. Or perhaps I could beg Ms. Stewart to sprinkle some magic dust on me. Please, Martha. Please. Please. Please. I beseech you. I'm on my knees.

I made my muslin in a past life, and then my dog ate it July 27, 2008 17:43 1 Comment

Simplicity 4237
Greatpants_2It’s happened. My life today was so devoid of focus that I am writing about it. That dreaded and overused blog subject: What I Did Today. Yes, that is my topic. I'm not pulling your leg. Is that total, complete conceit or what? No need to answer that. I can do it for you. Yes. A loud, bellowing yes. But what is, is. And there ya go.

So, I was actually, once upon a time, going to tell you about my muslin. I was going to show it to you. See? Isn’t it pretty? Isn’t it the most lovely muslin you’ve ever seen? And so on and so on. But I got scared. Make that sca-a-a-y-errrd. Many syllables. Draw it out. Way out.

And what does a good Southern girl do when she’s sca-a-a-y-errrd? Well, she goes to church. And then, feeling somewhat uplifted, she goes to see a friend who sews. Someone conversant with that strange and intimidating language of pattern instructions. Someone who could interpret. Someone who could tell me whether I should cut facings when crafting a muslin. Someone who could reassure me that my chosen pattern, which I know y'all remember is Simplicity 2925, was indeed easy. Someone who was wearing a pair of slacks that were the most. Slightly updated Carole Lombard. Sassy yet comfortable. Slacks that she herself made from Simplicity 4237. Slacks that she assures me are very easy to make. We’ll see. I remain unconvinced. Ever so.

I could also tell you about the rest of my day: cooking potatoes freshly dug from a bud’s garden; learning about past life-regression from another friend (I told you I was blue, didn’t I?), and going to see the latest Batman movie (isn’t it grand that Morgan Freeman is working so much these days?). I could tell you I added fresh dill to the potatoes. I could tell you I’m considering past-life regression, something that a few months ago I would have considered as likely as serving a platter of wriggling earthworms at a dinner party. I could tell you I find the blond good guy in The Dark Knight as abrasive as a brand-new emery board. I could give you even more details about my day. I could. But I think I’ll moisturize my skin instead. And think about tomorrow. When perhaps I will be less scattered and most certainly have softer skin.