Style inspired by Marilyn Monroe

My Nan tells me that, “back in day”, the clothes you bought in store were also tailored to fit you in store. And if not, you’d go immediately with your new dress to the tailors, and have it pinned and sewn exactly to you. The personal fit of a garment will make or break an outfit, and I envy the mentality that my Nan’s generation had about clothes. They would never even begin to consider buying a piece of clothing that didn’t fit them exactly, made to measure.

All of this has come to my mind after watching the movie ‘My Week With Marilyn’. It happened to be on BBC the other evening, and engrossed me just as wonderfully this time as it did the first. Michelle Williams is riveting as Marilyn. I romanticise Marilyn Monroe just like almost everyone else does. Is it because we can see now, in hindsight, the sadness in her smile? Her melancholy made her only more beautiful. I wonder if, whilst she was alive, people could tell that her heart was broken or that this was the reason for the depth of her eyes, within which everybody fell. She reminds me of the Nat King Cole song, ‘Mona Lisa’.

Marilyn’s style was absolutely sexy, oozed with class, effortlessly hugging her in every gorgeous place. Her feminine figure is famous, we know this. But I do believe that, with the correct outfit architecture, a similar feel can be achieved. High, belted waists; tight skirts or ankle-grazing trousers with heeled pumps; and perhaps my favourite part, wide, curving necklines to reveal pretty collar bones and soft décolletage. Mesmerising.

It would be marvellous to have a life that allowed for dressing like Marilyn Monroe everyday. However, even for a current celeb, our culture isn’t that same kind of glamour anymore. You could pull up to Tape or Roka in a tangerine chiffon Swarovski crystal gown if you wanted to – really, you can do what you like. Realistically though, most people won’t, including myself. So how do we channel Marilyn’s grace and style to work in the 21st century? I’ve been having visions of a modern-day Monroe and how she walks into the room.

The style board above was obviously inspired by vintage eras although the outfit is still contemporary, and the current Brigitte Bardot, off-shoulder trend lends itself well to the Monroe look. Typical of me, the blouse and skirt are both solid black, but are accessorised with tropically coloured Dolce & Gabbana pumps, and deco gold and onyx drop earrings by Signature Gold. Playing to the palette of the heels, a slick of moisturising, burnt orange lipstick by Ellis Faas finishes everything so beautifully.

Isa Arfen’s tulle, knotted-front top bares some skin beneath the sheer, providing temptation, yet the fabric is so light and precious, a paradox that could be used to describe Marilyn: both naughty and nice. The Isabel Marant mini skirt sits there on the waist, with tight buttoned tabs like warm hands. It’s asymmetric shape is modern and the black silk-chiffon is almost gothic with its dull shine, yet a close fit around hips and bum that then playfully flits into frills and curls, has that wondrous, enticing element of the Hollywood star. Look but don’t touch!

Featured image/style board by me: full size image on my Flickr
Marilyn Monroe photo source

Novel Opening: a University assignment from 2014 being brought to light

I could not move when I woke up. Forced to lay in the glare of white sun, sliced into pieces by the blinds over the windows. The rings on my fingers pushed hard into my teeth through the skin of my cheek. Murky waters, like a swamp, swished back and forth over my sticky eyes. The scene grew cleaner, the place growing more and more unfamiliar. My flesh felt as if it were a bag full of damp sand, and I did not kid myself that I would be exploring soon. I did not kid myself that things would turn out well from this. I ground my already grinding jaw some more, in hopes it would slip and snap and I would spill out, and all the grime and dirt would leave me. Dragging my skull across the cheap metal on my knuckles and the hot pillowcase, I dropped it over the side of the bed, and saw his black eyes twitching from behind their lids. In between the petrifying moments, sticking out like turrets through a mist, are these images of searing clarity. I find that my mind tries to erase most things, leaving just the pressure marks on paper behind, the faint idea of an idea. But moments of him are recorded in ink; ink on skin. When he lifted his stare from his bottle of Sol, choosing me from the rest. These are the dots that connect each loose line.

Let’s begin at dot number one – it is seven in the evening, mid-November, and it is cold and dark. Lucy and I are walking carefully down the metal steps of a rollercoaster ride’s exit. ‘Inferno’, eight corkscrews, five loops, no build up, abrupt ending. He stands over six foot tall with a cigarette in hand and bleached buzzcut, zipped into a chunky, nylon, khaki coat, a bit metallic, looking all over a bit sickly, almost done with living. He has a strong nose and sleepy eyes. He is waiting by the wall of one of those gravelly flowerbeds that seperates the theme park tarmac into curving pathways. Lucy slows down with me, to figure out what it is I am gaping at. “Molly”, she says, “he is gonna catch you looking!” I want him to, so much so, that I stop walking, to continue wondering, to properly wonder, at the figure glowing by the overflowing bin, lit up by the green and purple rollercoaster lights. The sounds of the screaming and the adrenaline-induced blasphemy, the deafening spin of rushing, shaking wheels, layered over indecipherable announcements from rusty tanoys like foreign tongues through radio noise – all together they weave themselves into a loud and perfect drone. Nothing can describe him except for that, devouring, simultaneously numbing and purging, terrifying and euphoric symphony.

Prose and featured image by Y.L.H.