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Movie Inspiration: Clue

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Fashion from Clue
Photo Credit

When the weather starts to get chilly and bleak, one of my favorite things to do is to curl up with a blanket and a good mystery, whether it’s in novel or in movie form.

While I appreciate a properly dramatic and suspenseful thriller, there’s nothing quite as wonderfully wacky and morbidly fun as Clue, the 1985 film adaptation of the popular board game (known as Cluedo for our readers outside of North America).

The murder mystery parody stars Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, and Lesley Ann Warren as the guests at Mr. Boddy’s fateful dinner party.

It was___ with the ____ in the ____: About Clue

  • The film, set in 1954, has the same basic idea as the board game: find out who killed Mr. Boddy, with what weapon, in what room.
  • It features the same cast of characters: Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Professor Plum. Each of them has been invited to Mr. Boddy’s mansion, where it’s revealed that they’ve all been blackmailed by their host.
  • True to the game’s nature, the movie has three possible endings.
  • Although the movie was financially unsuccessful upon its release in 1985, it has since developed a cult following.

Outfits Inspired by the Characters of Clue:

Ready to find out whodunnit? Let’s meet some of our rather unusual suspects!

Miss Scarlet

Miss Scarlet header
Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

Miss Scarlet, played by Lesley Ann Warren (a dead ringer for Susan Sarandon, no?), is a sardonic madam who runs an escort service in Washington, D.C. She’s willing to do almost anything to protect her secrets.

Although the board game character is typically depicted as a femme fatale dressed entirely in her namesake color, the film paints her as a “scarlet woman” who actually wears very little scarlet. Capture Miss Scarlet’s sultry movie look with a silky teal cami and a luxurious kimono jacket paired with dramatic wide-leg trousers. A lacy bralette adds a hint of the boudoir, while a sparkling necklace glams up the ensemble. Finally, pay homage to the board game version with a sexy pair of red patent stilettos and a matching satin clutch.

Miss Scarlet outfit
Product Information: Jacket, Top, BraletteTrousers, Heels, Purse, Necklace

Mrs. White

Mrs. White header

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

While Mrs. White, played by Madeleine Kahn, is typically depicted as a maid in the board game, the movie’s version is quite the black widow. The darkly cynical and deeply jealous Mrs. White has left five deceased husbands in her wake, but denies involvement in any of their demises.

No need to develop homicidal tendencies to emulate Mrs. White’s killer style! Just pair a classic yet sultry LBD with lacy stockings and a pair of ankle-strap stilettos. A stark-white coat and luxurious faux-fur stole allude to the character’s name and will satisfy your Olivia Pope wardrobe fantasies. And what’s a black widow without a red hourglass? Make sure to complete the look with a swipe of bright crimson lipstick.

Mrs. White outfit
Product Information: Coat, Dress, Scarf, Shoes, Necklace, Tights, Lipstick

Mrs. Peacock

Mrs. Peacock header
Photo Credits: 1, 23

Mrs. Peacock, played by Eileen Brennan, is a chatty senator’s wife who’s prone to hysterics. She’s being blackmailed for taking bribes to ensure her husband’s vote, but denies these accusations.

Aside from the prominently featured feathers in her movie costume, you’d almost think that Mrs. Peacock was in fact Colonel Mustard! Nevertheless, Mrs. Peacock’s ensemble is wonderfully kooky, just like her. Steal her delightfully eccentric aging-socialite look for yourself by pairing a feather-emblazoned cardigan with a mustard yellow skirt and shimmering sequin top. Orange socks tucked into ankle boots are an unexpected touch, while an eye-catching necklace further references Mrs. Peacock’s namesake bird. As a final touch, slip on cat-eye shades and clip some feathers into your hair.

Mrs. Peacock outfit
Product Information: Cardigan, Top, Skirt, Socks, Boots, Necklace, Hair Clip, Sunglasses

Professor Plum

Professor Plum header
Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

Professor Plum, played by Christopher Lloyd, is a womanizing ex-psychiatrist whose medical license was revoked due to his philandering ways. True to his board game counterpart’s typical characterization as the absent-minded professor, Plum wears a tweed suit complete with a bow tie and wooden pipe.

Snag his style and wear it with aplomb: a plaid, double-breasted blazer pairs perfectly with sharp, wine-colored trousers and a tie-neck blouse. Oxfords and wooden-rimmed glasses complete the academic look, while a pair of revolver-shaped earrings allude to the weapon that Professor Plum receives at the start of the movie.

Professor Plum outfit
Product Information: Blazer, Blouse, Scarf, Trousers, Shoes, Glasses, Earrings

What did you think?

Would you wear these outfits? Are you a big fan of Clue? (Or should I say “Cluedo” for our friends across the pond?) What other movie inspirations would you like to see? Let me know by leaving a comment!

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Fashion Inspired by Art: Louise Bourgeois’ “Maman”

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For a hot second in middle school, I was a bit of a goth kid. I wore a lot (A LOOOOT) of black, wore my hair long and straight, and shopped at Hot Topic with my similarly black-clad friends. It was a good fit for me; as an introverted kid already deeply entrenched in writing, literature, and art-making, I found friends with similar interests who introduced me to new obsessions, like anime, graphic novels, and tarot cards, and their styles influenced mine. They showed me how to wear eyeliner and lipstick. The important things, you guys!

I moved out of that style phase pretty quickly as I discovered fashion magazines and… other stores at the mall? But there are parts of it that have stuck with me forever: my penchant for dark clothes and all-black outfits with edgy elements, or creepy-weird jewelry and accessories.

So imagine my happiness when, in the last couple of seasons, tons of goth-inspired trends have emerged: leather body harnesses, brooding florals, black lipstick! And some of this year’s fall runways, like Emporio Armani, Erdem, and Katie Gallagher, showed looks that draw from all these trends, ushering in an fresh, edgy, and feminine look I can only describe as ‘grown-up goth.’

In this Fashion Inspired by Art post, I’m going to show you how to rock this look using the dark, twisty, and feminine sculpture “Maman” by Louise Bourgeois:

Bourgeois Maman
Louise Bourgeois’ “Maman.” | Photo Credit

About Louise Bourgeois and “Maman”

Louise Bourgeois was born in 1911 in Paris to an upper-middle class family. Her family life was difficult as a child, due to her father’s affair with her governess; her tenuous relationship with her father would go on to inspire many works of art. Bourgeois enrolled in the Sorbonne in 1930 and studied art until 1938, when she met her husband and moved to the United States.

She slowly gained recognition throughout the next four decades, exhibiting with big name artists like Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and the De Koonings. She is one of the first women to have a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, (after Georgia O’Keefe, natch) and she represented the United States in the Venice Biennale and the Whitney Biennial many times. She continued to make art until her death in 2010, including a collaboration with Tracey Emin in early 2010.

Bourgeois is recognized as the originator of ‘confessional art’. Many of her sculptures and paintings focused on her childhood memories and her anxiety about the future, and easily evoked themes like loneliness, womanhood, and depression through psychic imagery that’s both creepy and comforting.

Her most recognizable work is easily “Maman,” a tribute to Bourgeois’ mother who died when Bourgeois was only 21; her mother was a weaver of tapestries, and Bourgeois always associated her weaving, cleverness, and motherly qualities with spiders. Bourgeois was reportedly so distraught with her mother’s death that she threw herself into a river, only to be rescued by her father.

Outfits inspired by “Maman”

While I would never accuse Bourgeois of being a goth or a Gothic artist, I can see why my inner goth kid is drawn to her work; her palette is dark, her symbolism is twisty and powerful, and her themes are difficult and sad. At the same time, her work is also incredibly elegant and sophisticated; there are no unnecessary flourishes or details to detract from the work’s message.

This philosophy can be applied to the ‘grown-up goth’ look: sleek, sophisticated, and unfussy silhouettes combined with dark colors and edgy accents.

Slayer

Bourgeois look two
Duster, Lipstick (in Slayer), Mascara, Eyeliner, Dress, Creepers, Tights, Harness

The easiest way to channel this edgy and elegant look is to update an easy outfit formula – like a comfy cardi and a floral dress with tights – with killer accessories, like creepers and a leather harness. If the harness is too intense for you, a daintier body chain will achieve a similar effect without being too in-your-face.

I think an outfit like this looks best with a bold black lip and a complementary cat eye, but if a solid black lip intimidates you (I totally understand!) you can try lining your lips with the black and filling the rest of your lips in with a red for a vampy ombre look.

Immortal

Bourgeois look
Blazer, Blouse, Bowler, Necklace, Tights, Skirt, Lipstick (in Immortal), Booties

The sophisticated goth ensemble draws a lot of inspiration from both boho and rocker styles, especially when it comes to luxe textures. So, if you already have a lot of velvet, lace, and faux leather pieces, creating looks like this one should be a snap.

A simple silky button-down becomes edgy and unexpected when paired with a black velvet blazer and a full-length lace skirt. Pointy-toed booties and a bowler hat add fashion-forward flair, while a metallic purple lippie provides an unexpected but gothy element. Pick up the purple in your lipstick with an edgy opal necklace.

Diva

Bourgeois look three
Vest, Blouse, Flats, Bag, Lipstick (in Diva), Perfume, Jeans

For a more subtle yet glam outfit, pair high-waisted jeans that have a steampunk-y detail with a floral tie-front blouse and a long, sleek vest. Finish with polished pointy-toe flats and a monochromatic bag for an ensemble that could totally work for the office.

A swipe of deep burgundy lipstick adds a perfect gothic punch, while a spritz of a complex but delicious perfume elevates the look from luxe to super-luxe.

What do you think?

Were you a goth kid in middle school/ high school? How do you feel about Louise Bourgeois “Maman”? Would you ever wear dark lipstick? Let me know in the comments below!

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An Incomprehensive Guide to Romanticizing Your Life

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Vienna photos
Wien, 2014.

We’ve talked about brands selling us stories before, but what about the stories we tell ourselves? This Thanksgiving I’m in Vienna and everything begs for romanticizing: the Christmas market lights, the warm punch, the mermaid-haired students in fluffy scarves, and the somber gaze of dead emperors as we dare to dance in their palaces or Instagram their statues.

Back in America, the settings are less poetic: at times Baltimore’s crime rate and fellow students’ obsession with grades convince me not to wear my white beret and not to listen to the Hairspray soundtracks, because life is life and maybe I should face it as it is. But soon something – a song, a movie, a lipstick shade – snaps me out of it and I am yet again the heroine of the carelessly fabricated plot.

101: Why Choose to Romanticize

As the ancient proverb goes, there are two terrible things that can happen to your dream: it can not come true or it can come true. The latter is possibly worse. We choose fables and semi-realities, because we are heroes, not humans. We are famous for 15 minutes. We fall into tropes and literary archetypes to derive courage from them.

This is why representation is so important: fictional characters are more real than we give them credit for and they can be there for you if needed. Relating to a character is like having a friend who is just like you, only with cooler remarks and a better wardrobe.

I recall the days of my youth spent imitating Blair Waldorf and only half regret the huge red headbands and classic green coats; I also channeled her determination to get into a good school and it made my SAT preparation more bearable. Romanticizing can be fun and useful, if you are careful in your choices.

Serena and Blair
Blair was the queen of my fashion past. | ELLE

102: Which Trope to Pick and When

Sometimes in my encounters with a certain type of jaded and sarcastic guys, I involuntarily follow the Manic Pixie Girl trope: I take them to museums, wear ’50s-inspired dresses, and make quirky, infantile remarks. Then I have to stop myself and go back to being me. It is important to pick and choose which character and in which aspects of your life to romanticize: Blair Waldorf in academics may be great, but Blair Waldorf in jealousy and arrogance doesn’t sound too delightful.

Being a trope in social interactions is only cool as long as you are willing to keep the performance up and never let them see the actual you – a sort of game of “conceal, don’t feel,” that doesn’t tend to end well. Be responsible in your choice of characters. Just because Effy from Skins makes her depression look blasé and cool, doesn’t mean it is. Don’t make up your aspirations either: I decided to be pre-med because Dr. House made it look so effortlessly smart. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.

Lana del Rey
Lana does the wrong kind of romanticizing so casually. | ELLE

In that sense, fashion gives you a complete freedom of choice: channeling anyone in style is fine, whether it’s Dracula or Barack Obama. Period dresses may difficult to pull off, but Lolita girls still manage. Somewhat separating the character from the style is a skill to practice as homework.

Another is to construct a fashion identity, like a potion, from the exact right measures of the characters you like, forgetting age, gender or race. I am now going to wear prison clothes to channel Poussey from OITNB, boots in Russell Brand’s style, and dye my hair Arabelle Sicardi’s hair color.

103: Options, Options, Options…

If anything, romanticizing can be a tool to a better self. Romanticize wearing long flowery skirts and pretend to be a fairy queen. Romanticize a healthy lifestyle by personalizing your body. Make-believe you’re in a romcom when you need to make the grand move in a relationship. Post songs online for a particular person to see. Pensively read Austen on a bench. Wear your hair old-fashioned, like a Greek goddess.

Romanticize everything that makes you feel and be better as a result. Leave mental illnesses to therapists and self-loathing to the self-obsessed. Romanticize life, not some version of death.

woman sleeping
Romanticize the hell out of enough sleep. | ELLE

104: Control

Ultimately, the main skill to master in the art of romanticizing is control. To quote Kipling:

“If you can dream –  and not make dreams your master.”

There’s a lot of satisfaction in thinking of tea, as the same tea that “danced” in the Boston Tea Party or as the same type of tea you and Lisa drank before she got on a train to Munich, or as the tea that gives life to dead leaves one last time. But romanticizing life, just like falling in love, is a choice to let reality (or a feeling in the second case) go to the edge of its potential.

It shouldn’t be capitalistic, because in many cases, the best romanticizing comes from no money at all – second-hand finds, protests in graffiti, and library cards as life-savers. It shouldn’t be desperate or escapist, because there is always a wake-up call. It’s a spice, a choice, an accent. It’s about letting your accumulated imagination and knowledge come out to play along with what actually is. Everyone’s at the same place, but some people take genial photographs of it. Some people see it better and who says they don’t see it true-er?

Mona Lisa Smile
How do you see it? | ELLE

Thoughts?

Tell us in the comments about your routine romanticizing or characters you channel. We’re curious.

Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , ,

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