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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fashions in WC Fields Films

Despite his oft quoted dislike of dogs WC Fields remains one of my favorite film stars, and gets my vote for funniest comedienne ever.    I love all of his 1930s films and watch them every January in celebration of  his birthday.  Field's films, brilliant as they are, would not necessarily come to my mind when thinking of cinematic fashion.  Generally Fields plays an everyman sort, usually a hen pecked husband, with a fondness for drink, and often a sympathetic daughter.   As such his films do offer a wonderful glimpse  1930s fashions, there might not be any glamorous gowns, but his wives and daughters where the sorts of clothing that regular women would have worn.   As such I find myself drooling over many of the outfits in fields films, here are a few of my favorites.

The sweater and skirt set and bow trimmed dress below are worn by Joan Marsh as Pauline Bisbee, Field's Daughter in 1934's You're Telling Me!  The outfits, particularly the skirt and sweater, would have been common fare for any young women of the decade, but the platinum hair would have likely raised some eyebrows among the older generation:


You're Telling Me!  Actually has a more glamorous female character then most Field's films, Adrienne Ames who plays the Princess Lescaboura.  She wears elegant outfits like the fur trimmed one below throughout the film.    

In 1935 Field's made perhaps his most enduring film, It's A Gift, in which he played a hapless grocery store owner who inherits a large sum of money, buys an orange grove, and moves his dubious family to California.  This is my favorite Field's film, its side splittingly funny and the jokes, surprisingly contemporary and has some fantastic every day fashions.

His daughter Mildred, played by Jean Rouverol, wears the sort of clothes every day young ladies would have worn.   I particularly like this casual flower sprigged dress below:

It very much reminds me of a dress from Revamp vintage that I've been longing for:

One nice thing about It's A Gift is unlike a lot of films it also offers a glimpse of what an older women,  a middle aged house wife in the 1930s would have worn, Kathleen Howard play's Field's wife, Amelia Bisonette and wears a range of clothes form casual house dresses to more dress styles.

In the breakfast scene you can see Amelia's 30s style apron and house dress.

Etsy seller GreenBagginIt makes 1930s style reproduction aprons:

Or you can find the genuine article on Etsy too, this pink ruffled one from ZestVintage is particularly cute:

Later in the day when she goes to visit her husband at the store, she wears a tilt hat and a black floral dress:

For the wealthy Uncle Bean's funeral she wears a black crepe dress trimmed with a giant bow:

Etsy seller Vintage Dress Maker, makes a prices but beautiful 30s day dress that vaguely reminds me of a prettier version of both dresses:

Later in 1935 Field's made a very similar film, Man on the Flying Trapeze,  again with Kathleen Howard as his wife, in which he played a memory expert who attempts to take a day off to go to a boxing match and gets in a world of trouble.
Howard wears a nice dotted 30s day dress with a smaller bow:
and Mary Brian as his daughter wears a ruffled blouse and a cute straw boater.
I have one or two 1930s dress in my own closet that reminds me of the sorts of dresses worn in Field's films, they are my favorite dresses to wear because they are practical and comfortable for every day:

I just have to make sure I don't become a dreadful nag while wearing them!



  1. You look like you stepped out of that movie.
    stella rose

  2. ohh what wonderfully fantastic clothes! Sigh the 1930's had such wonderful style and I think your pink dress at the end looks wonderful on you and would 100% fit perfect in those movies.

  3. Wonderful post! I know what you mean, when I find out that someone isn't a dog (or cat) person, it can't help but affect how I feel about them. The fact that some of my closest relatives aren't though, has given me plenty of practise with curbing said negative feelings.

    ♥ Jessica

  4. You are so lucky that you can find the clothes you love....

  5. Love the floral dresses...look so pretty and also comfortable!

  6. Really, really great post! You look so lovely. xx

  7. That style really is you. LOL about the nag. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  8. Swooning over all these dresses! I love how you showed modern remakes and available true vintage alongside these dresses! Swooning over all of it!

  9. all these wondereful dresses ... i love the ones you own and the ones your longing for ... how could i miss this post earlier?!


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