When she wasn't plotting ways to use fashion in dangerous and creative ways (more on that in a minute) Marlene Dietrich, starlet of the 1930's, was known for her military-inspired fashion in an era that preferred pink and butterfly sleeves. One of the first fashionistas to pioneer trousers, we have her at least partially to thank for our comfy sweatpants and "mom jeans" that have been so incredibly popular this year (with no sign of any slowing down in 2017, though skinny jeans are reportedly still the best sellers).
The 1940s Fashion Icon with Killer Style [Literally]
Donning a trench coat in the film "A Foreign Affair" (pictured here), Dietrich stars as an ex-Nazi cafe singer suspected of being a spy. Marlene helped make the trench popular as an everyday piece for women, but the piece that is now considered a fashion staple actually has its origins in World War I. It was created by Burberry and Aquascutum (like the coveted pina colada recipe, who really knows which luxury outfitter got to it first?) for the British Army.
Now the trench coat has become a must-have for any fashionista's closet for good reason -- it conveys a sense of power and subtle seduction in a "I'm wearing nothing but lingerie under here and you don't know it" kind of way.
It is fitting that Marlene wears a trench coat in a film about World War II. You see, Marlene waged her own little war against the Nazis when she decided to take the art of seduction to a whole new level -- assasination.
1940s Fashion: Styling the Classic Trench Coat for an Updated Look:
- To channel a street-style look that's simultaneously very on trend this year, simply drape the trench over your shoulders
- For the post-World War II fashion look, leave your coat unbuttoned and tie the strap the same way you would a tie (see Marlene's photo for inspiration)
- Emphasize the rest of your outfit by leaving a gap in the front to show off what's underneath. You can tie the belt in the back or the front.
Why not offer myself up as a little seduction trap to Adolf, she thought. And when I get him alone... poison hairpin to the neck!
Ok, those are my words not hers. The point is, all she needed to do was figure out a way to hide a weapon that would make it all the way to Adolf's bedroom, if need be.
I am sure this made for interesting conversation with her boyfriend at the time. In the end, Marlene's plan didn't work out. Perhaps because she was suspected by the U.S. government to be a spy, perhaps because she still had family in Germany that would have been affected by her scheming.
Still, it's pretty badass if you ask me.
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