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Last night I was trying to dress for a date with a very special man. It wasn’t going so well. Still too warm for sweaters, but too chilly for a dress. Tights and boots entered my head but quickly fled again–too winter just yet I decided. Scarves are hard to eat dinner in, have you noticed? So those were out. Then there was the whole different issue of my hair (or, my arch-nemesis). The front right side of my hair delights in making me exasperated, grumpy, and thoroughly frustrated almost daily. Last night was no exception. Pin it back? I look twelve. Curl it? That looks overdone. Straighten it? That looks even worse. Cut it off? Hmmmm…..

In the midst of my closet chaos and hair meltdown, I thought of a woman who seemed to never have these disasters: the always charming, Sandra Dee.

The Muse: 

You may only know her as the innocent, girlish star of the 1959 movie version of Gidget, or as the inspiration for the mocking songLook at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” in the movie Grease, but beginning in the 1940s she made quite the name for herself first as a model and later as an actress and singer. Whatever your opinion of her, sickeningly sweet or classicly beautiful, you have to admit, the girl’s got style.

 

Sandra Dee

What I love most is that she dressed so simply: usually a plain sweater, often in a bright color, paired with some outrageous patterned pant. Or, a simple dress with a beautifully tailored coat. Her look is timeless and so easy.

A Modern View: 

These pants from J. Crew are oh-so-Sandra. They weren’t, of course, helping me last night while I tried on combination after failing combination of outfit, but in the future they might come in handy if I am lucky enough to add them to my closet.

Or this jacket from Modcloth could have solved my outfit-issue easily. What else does a coat like this need?

Another find from Modcloth, this little black dress with a twist. Classy and a little retro–but definitively modern:

While watching one of Sandra’s movies a couple of weeks ago, I was entranced by a hat she was wearing while sunbathing at the beach–the hat had built-in sunglasses and I wanted one so very badly:

Such a brilliant idea, and, apparently, Kate Spade thought so too. In her Spring 2012 collection, she offered this little nod to some retro chic:

For all our attempts to be fashion-forward with each passing year, it seems you never can beat a little vintage musing. For your next closet catastrophe, hopefully thinking of Sandra will give you an inspiration.

– ❤ A. 

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