I’ll admit it, I love vintage movies. I have since I was 5-years-old, and watched “Gone with the Wind” with my mother. Back in the late 70s, you could catch it on network TV. After one viewing, I knew I wanted to grow up to be Scarlett O’Hara. I didn’t know at 5 that it was impossible to grow up and be a movie character, but I suppose you could say I knew I wanted to have her glamorous wardrobe and amazing sense of style.
I know that Scarlett has lots of terrible character flaws, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about recognizing something fabulous at a young age, and how it shapes you. Here’s what made a huge impression on me at 5.
1. Scarlett’s raised eyebrow: I remember spending hours in front of the mirror after seeing “Gone with the Wind” and practicing the raised eyebrow. By the time I was nearly 6, I had it down. I could scorn kids from across the room with my eyebrow alone. It’s a powerful tool.
2. A love of being pale: After hearing about how prized pale skin was in the film, I stayed out of the sun, and never tanned. I got teased my entire childhood/teenage years. Now, I reap amazing benefits of staying out of the sun, wearing gobs of sunscreen, and I have been known to purchase the occasional excessively large floppy hat.
3. A love of feminine dresses: It was impossible for me to watch Scarlett flounce around in the largest dresses imaginable, and not want to wear pretty flowy things. I love a good pair of well tailored trousers, but there’s nothing like a beautiful dress.
4. A deep need to have long hair: Throughout the film, Scarlett’s hair is styled in so many different and beautiful ways. I realized at an early age that long hair doesn’t have to be boring. When I have the time, I love to curl and find creative ways to put my hair up. I was much better at it when I was in my 20’s, but I might have just re-inspired myself!
Watching “Gone with the Wind” at 5-years-old only started me down the road of vintage film. I started watching everything I could find. By the mid 1980’s, AMC (American Movie Classics) was my favorite channel on cable. After Ted Turner purchased all the rights to most of the classic films, TMC (Turner Classic Movies) was my favorite.
I have a deep and abiding love of red lipstick and pin curls because of all the 1940’s war films I saw. I love hats and gloves from all the times I saw glamorous film stars sport them on screen. Dresses cut on the bais make me melt. I’m a complete sucker for anything that’s art deco. The larger the jewelry, the better!
I know that in 2014, I can’t sport a pure on 1930’s or 1940’s look, but I can take inspiration. A jeweled hair clip here, a swipe of red lipstick there, and a beautifully cut dress.
I love that all this comes from my favorite screen star Vivian Leigh who brought Scarlett O’Hara to life for me, and many others. It had a huge impact on me at 5-years-old.
P.S. Maybe it’s time to watch “Gone with the Wind” with my 4 and 6-year-old girls and have them stop watching Jem, or who knows what they’ll love in 20-30 years.