Friday, August 26, 2011

Fashion In Film Friday - Racing With The Moon

The 1984 film 'Racing With The Moon' starring Nicolas Cage & Sean Penn was a romantic drama set in California in 1942 & centered around the lives of two young men trying to get in their 'last flings' before heading off to war.  The characters played by Cage & Penn, 'Henry & Nicky', work together at their local bowling alley setting up pins.  After work one night, Henry heads off to see a movie and meets Caddie played by actress Elizabeth McGovern.  After following her home and seeing that she lives in a mansion, he immediately assumes that she is a "Gatsby girl" (meaning 'rich').  In reality, Caddie is living there with her mother who is a maid.
The term 'Gatsby girl' originated in the roaring twenties and defined the era that saw women becoming more rebellious (i.e. drinking & smoking) and it trailed into the mid forties gearing more towards defining women who were the 'haves' in comparison to the 'have nots'.  To be a Gatsby girl in the vintage 40's meant they you afford panty hose and perfume in spite of the fact that you were in the midst of the 'great depression' & in the throws of World War II. 
The 1940's Gatsby girls were modest yet still had the ability to produce a valid amount of sex appeal. Skirts/dresses were knee length or longer and necklines were modest & button down sweaters were 'in'. Maybe it came more from their attitude than from their clothing style? Either way, they made it work!  Maybe it was the allure of 'innocence' that was at an all time high from that point thru to the 50's?... 


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