For Real

Silk velvet evening coat by Charles James 1949

Today’s Featured Image:

I’m introducing a new category today. It’s called “For Real.” I see it as a sub-division of “The Dress is Everything” category. Only in this case, instead of a painting or an illustration, we get to study the actual garment in all its — let me stare as long as I want — glory. I hope you join me in considering the lines and construction of some of these wonders and then, imagine wearing them.

These days, most of us don’t get much glitz and glam in our lives. We save our snazziest outfits for weddings and once-in-a-lifetime celebrations. We put on lace and satin, velvet and silk, beads and embroidery. We add shoes and hair, nails and jewelry, and walk out the door ready to peacock a bit. But, come on, even when we stretch to the outer reaches of availability, the clothes we choose rarely exhibit the style and grace exemplified by the clothing worn by the rich and famous in earlier times.

Think about stepping out of a limousine, dressed in this scarlet evening coat. Charles James, America’s most prominent couturier, has personally draped and constructed the wrap. It’s made of the softest, drapiest, most luxurious silk velvet you’ve ever felt. You extend your gloved hand out to the handsome tuxedoed gentleman waiting to help you. Together, you sedately climb the stairs towards the cavernous opera house. My, it’s a scene right out of a movie or a novel.

The Met has an informative overview of Charles James and his importance as a designer here:

“Style” by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby from the movie “Robin and the 7 Hoods” (Be patient, the video may take a while to load.)

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