At Revival, we believe that vintage fashion never goes out of style, which makes it a great sustainable gift option, so this festive season, we're looking to the fashions of iconic midcentury Hollywood stars for our gift ideas. So many vintage lovers, our customers included, find these celebrities a source of inspiration, so we're examining the enduring sense of style each belonging to Audrey Hepburn, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Norma Shearer and Gene Kelly to select timeless gifts any vintage fashion enthusiast is sure to love.
Hollywood celebrities are often best remembered for their most glamorous eveningwear ensembles. But for a vintage lifestyler, or someone looking to add a retro flair to their everyday wardrobe, the daytime fashion of midcentury film stars makes for an incredible guide to selecting - or gifting - long-lasting, versatile pieces that make for a enduring, refined look still appropriate for everyday wear.
Next up is the Breton stripe that Audrey was known for in her off-screen wardrobe, which remains a chic choice for casual wear. We’ve taken inspiration from it in selecting a striped dress with a similar nautical feel, and paired it with a cable knit tank top for layering.
Lastly is Audrey at her casual best in 1967’s Two For the Road, wearing a classic pair of indigo jeans and carrying a small suitcase. We’ve selected a similar pair of ladies’ jeans and a weekend bag with a classic check pattern to capture this look.
Clark Gable - the "King of Hollywood" - remained an immaculately stylish masculine icon throughout the silent film era and into to the onset of colour “talking” films. Though he was perhaps best known for his three-piece suits and tuxedos, his sartorial eye extended to his more casual outfits as well.
We’ve looked to those more relaxed styles for our gift picks for Mr. Gable, beginning with a candid photo from the forties in which Clark wears a herringbone jacket and a spearpoint collar shirt with a striped tie. We selected our new Clubman herringbone wool jacket and a similar spearpoint shirt from the Revival catalogue to create an ensemble Clark - or any other gentleman inclined towards such a classic style - would love to wear.
Second is a dashing outfit Clark wore on his ranch in 1947. It features a leisure shirt, a pair of pleated trousers and a cravat that adds an finishing note of the sophistication Mr. Gable was so known for. Our own cotton leisure shirt in navy blue is a great match for this outfit when paired with a silk cravat.
Lastly is a photo of Gable in a V-neck sweater with another striped tie. For this look, we think our grey knitted Rufus waistcoat would make a great choice. We’ve also chosen a monochrome tie to complete the look.
Next is Marilyn Monroe, a star who is perhaps no less relevant today than at the height of her career, thanks to our persistent fascination with her sultry style and carefully-crafted on-screen personas that made her the definitive sex symbol of the 1950s. Away from the spotlight, however, Marilyn - real name Norma Jean - wore a stylish and minimal wardrobe comprised of lasting staples.
The first outfit of Marilyn's is a simple and striking ensemble she wore arriving at New York International Airport in 1961, consisting of a cotton dress and a patterned coat. The contrast between the shapes of the form-fitting dress and the slightly oversized coat is what really makes this outfit pop, so we've selected a similar wiggle dress and a houndstooth wrap coat that are sure to be sophisticated wardrobe staples.
Next is Marilyn wearing a casual shirt dress in 1952's Clash By Night, a film full of great inspiration for more casual but immaculately put together vintage style outfits. To copy this style we've selected a floral patterned dress with a similar shirt-style cut and a complimentary pure wool cardigan.
Lastly is an image of Marilyn on set filming 1961's The Misfits, wearing a sweet cherry-printed dress that was designed by Jean Louis for the film. Though she's actually sat in a shaded director's chair in this photo, we couldn't resist pairing a white lace parasol with our own vintage style cherry print dress, for a romantic daytime look.
Famous philanthropist, race car driver and actor Paul Newman should not be overlooked for his contribution to fashion throughout the fifties and sixties. His nonchalant and effortlessly cool off-screen style is a master class in preppy, well-tailored vintage fashion for men, so he was an obvious choice for this list.
Our first style point is perhaps one of Paul's most famous ensembles: a dapper yet casual ensemble worn in 1965, featuring a pair of corduroy trousers, a leisure shirt, and a V-neck sweater, accessorised with a watch. Our new men's corduroy trousers are a great match for Newman's, available in the pictured moss green and chestnut brown. We also selected a classic white cotton leisure shirt, an essential for any man who'd like to emulate Newman's laid-back style.
Our second inspiration image is a photograph of Paul from 1952, pictured in a classic check shirt with a wide fifties collar. Our just-arrived men's Logger check shirts are a fantastic double for this lasting style, with carefully-replicated and similarly wide collars that create an authentic vintage look. The Logger shirt is available in both Pennine green and spruce blue.
Lastly, the iconic image of Paul en-route to the March on Washington in 1963. His outfit consists of an impeccably tailored jacket and shirt, which are well-accessorised with a squared-off sixties tie and large leather holdall bag. A larger men's leather bag like our doctor holdall or other leather bag offerings would make for a Christmas gift that is both thoughtful and sure to see plenty of use. We've also selected another simple white spearpoint shirt and a knitted silk tie with a similar sixties style.
Comparatively less seems to have been written about the fashion of this 1930s film star, but we found some of the more casual outfits Norma Shearer was photographed in to be particularly interesting combinations of masculine and feminine style. Through her career Shearer consciously developed her image beyond that of the "girl next door" in order to secure more provocative and sexually liberated roles, a move that perhaps makes her a precursor to the fame of later stars like Monroe and no doubt impacted her fashion choices.
Our first style reference is Norma wearing a fairisle knit tank, tie, and white collared shirt, a cosy and yet striking combination. We have plenty of high-quality women's Scottish wool fairisle knits to match to this look - premium knitwear always makes for a classy gift. We also picked out a wool tie if your giftee or you would like to complete Shearer's look.
Next is another similar ensemble that features yet another tie, this time paired with a sweet knitted wool beret or head cover. We love the spunky style choice of the collar bar also. Our own fairisle knit turbans and berets would be a great gift choice inspired by this image, practical for the winter season - pair with one of our men's spearpoint shirts.
Last is a polished and perfect checked ladies suit, which immediately reminded us of our wool blend 40s style Amity suit, another stellar choice for chillier weather which can gain extra mileage in the wardrobe of a vintage enthusiast when worn as separates. We also selected a classic black pillbox hat, an absolute vintage fashion necessity.
Gene Kelly, legend dancer and star of 1950s filmography, was often contrasted against his contemporary, Fred Astaire, for Kelly's comparatively casual style both on and off-screen. Where Astaire favoured starched collars and three-piece suits, Kelly wore more relaxed outfits that make him another ideal choice to study for everyday fashion inspiration and, equally, gifts that will be loved and used regularly.
Our first look from Mr. Kelly is his iconic ensemble from 1952's Singin' In The Rain, featuring a bright yellow waistcoat. We couldn't resist this outfit because our own Socialite range has a perfect match with our hand made yellow moleskin waistcoat, a truly premium gift choice for a man not afraid to experiment with colour. Our light brown Edwin trousers are a versatile and neutral shade of trouser which would be useful in almost any vintage-inspired wardrobe.
Second is Gene wearing a casual suit jacket and striped shirt, accessorised with a staple fedora and pocket square, both which would make a considered gift choice for a vintage fan. Our brown striped spearpoint is a personal favourite among our shirt offering.
Lastly is an outfit Kelly wore with Fred Astaire in their performance of The Babbit and The Bromide. He wears a light-coloured suit with a timeless straw boater. Our similar Gadabout suit has proved incredibly popular this year, and would be an indulgent gift for a man looking forward to warmer weather, vacations or vintage nostalgia events like the Goodwood Revival in the new year. We paired this last selection with our Wedgewood blue spearpoint for a nice contrast.
What Revival items would you choose to emulate the classic style of these stars? Do you think they’d like our choices? Have you found some gifting inspiration for vintage lovers in your life? Let us know in the comment section.