Geek chic ... Jennifer Grey in 'Dirty Dancing'.
Cardigans make women look frumpy
Quick, what’s the best way to make a beautiful woman look as unattractive as possible? Throw a cardigan on her, according to the Hollywood movie machine, which consistently does this to downplay an actor's allure. If the role doesn’t call for an absolute overhaul (for example, a bigger nose prosthetic, a la Nicole Kidman in The Hours), but just a gentle nod at “real”, they go straight for a drab knit piece.
I’ve always been a bit partial to a cardigan. They’re the perfect trans-seasonal cover-up and can be thrown over anything from a dress, to jeans and a cami. Sure, they’re not super sexy, but sexy isn’t the aim of fashion. And besides, they’re functional.
Jennifer Lopez in 'Maid in Manhattan'.
, That's probably why filmmakers have chosen the cardigan as the standard item to make gorgeous women look frumpy. Downtrodden. Dull.
Take Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. She starts off as the ultimate, daggy female, daring to wear – gasp – a blue sweater. Her boss, editrix Miranda Priestly, takes her down in a monologue few will forget, about the runway origins of her cheap jumper. And Anne ends up bowing to style pressure in slick blazers and pencil skirts.
In The Long Kiss Goodnight, Geena Davis goes from overall, sweater-wearing housewife to a gun-toting, newly blonded, action spy. Jennifer Lopez is too glorious for just one shabby knit to make her look average in Maid in Manhattan. They layered those babies up, one on top of the other, to get the undesirable effect. And as soon as Jennifer Grey traded her oversized cardi for a crop top, she turned into Dirty Dancer extraordinaire.
Michelle Pfeiffer, before making the transformation into Catwoman.
This trick is even used on Michelle Pfeiffer in Catwoman, who starts out as timid Selina Kyle in a brown jacket, and ends up as an overconfident, PVC-clad feline. While it’s not a cardigan, brown is clearly meant to represent the dowdy colours a woman supposedly wears while in frumpy mode. The same can be said for Lindsay Lohan’s brown jacket in Mean Girls, pre Plastics makeover. Filmmakers are sending us a message: wearing brown will render you invisible. Who knows what a brown cardigan will do!
It must be said that with each character’s transformation, the leap from homely to hot is a big one. Everyone knows the fastest way to makeover your image is to change your clothes, even in real life. Just ask Angelina Jolie who went from black leather-wearing, blood-vial-necklace toting, sword-hobbyist weirdo, to global do-gooder, with the help of, you guessed it, a knit-led wardrobe. Or Kidman who years ago ditched her cardigan and floral dress to bounce straight to the top of the best dressed list in embroidered Dior.
The thing is, knits are having a moment. They’re being paired with swingy skirts and skinny pants to create a modern look that girls are loving. It’s high-comfort meets high-fashion - a woman’s Holy Grail. And we’ve never been swayed by what’s considered “sexy” in our sartorial choices, nor do we much care what men think when we get dressed, and whether they see it as drab or not.
Dressing down: Nicole Kidman flirts with a cardigan but favours Dior. Photo: Marc Piasecki
As long as we’re channeling Rose Byrne’s cardigans in Bridesmaids rather than Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones’ Christmas jumper, we’re on the right fashion track.
Lusting after Angelina’s Maleficient shoes?
The incredibly artistic pair she wore on the promo tour, natch. Angelina Jolie debuted the patent wedge heels, which look more like a sculpture than a pair of shoes, first in black, then in white and gold throughout her press tour earlier this year. The rather special shoes were created in collaboration with Jolie and were, of course, inspired by the movie, with mesh panels and a heel resembling a curling whisper of smoke. “The result is an exclusive shoe that's dark, dangerous and altogether seductive, on the red carpet and off,” according to the brand. Made to order in London, the shoes cost about $1726. "It is exciting to work with someone who has such a strong aesthetic and character. Getting to know Angelina through a fun collaboration has been one of my greatest pleasures!" said Louboutin.
Rihanna, Rihanna, everywhere
Get ready for a fashion line by Rihanna. The singer has just trademarked her surname, Fenty (I didn’t even know she had a surname!), for use on products including lingerie, apparel, makeup, nails and swimwear among others. Well known for her fashion choices, I wonder if the clothing lines will bear any resemblance to her unique style, which is not what one would call wearable by the masses. Will you be a fan of the Rihanna onslaught?
Wanted: Missoni x Converse
Trainers are having a moment, and if there was ever a trainer to be on our most wanted list, this is it. A collaboration between cult designer label, Missoni, and cult sneaker, Converse. “The possibility of collaborating with Converse was very flattering to me, a fascinating chance of stylistic dialogue and interaction. I liked the idea that Converse and Missoni, with their very strong, well recognisable and universally known identities, could get together in such a special way,” says Angela Missoni, creative director of Missoni. The shoes come in four different colourways, in either high or low top and will be all over the most fashionable feet this summer. From $120 at selected retailers and converse.com.au
Spot of Shopping
Head to Intersection in Paddington on Saturday, August 23, for a fun shopping time with participating stores offering up to 20 per cent off instore, plus free gifts for registered shoppers. The Intersection is on the corner of Glenmore Road and Oxford Street Paddington, and is home to great Australian labels like Alice McCall, Josh Goot, Shakuhacki, Zimmermann and Ellery. The area will be transformed into a market-like street shopping party with pop-up stalls, music, food, drinks and a VIP outdoor terrace. Head to http://www.shoptilyoudrop.com.au/win/2014/7/shop-til-you-drop-the-intersection/ to register.
Bendon Bra sale
Get Bendon bras for only $15, plus sleepwear at 60 per cent off, at nationwide Bendon outlet stores. Bendon brands include Elle Macpherson Intimates, Pleasure State, Bendon, Lovable, Fayreform, Macpherson Men. Visit www.bendonlingerie.com.au/stores to locate your nearest store.
Shop brands like Toi et Moi, Fairground, Saints and Secrets at up to 70 per cent off. Online only at www.nikicollection.com.au
Tony Bianco shoes are up to 50 per cent off right now, online only at www.tonybianco.com.au. Our picks are the Glison ankle boot in mushroom, now $120 and the Kody heel in white for $80, which will both take you right through summer.
Stock up on fluid basics at up to 50 per cent off, at MESOP’s online sale. Easy pieces like cardigans, dresses, tops and skirts in MESOP’s signature, comfortable fabrics. Some great trans-seasonal buys here like the Freya cardi for $99 to see you into spring. Visit http://mesop.com/sale-2