“Your girl is lovely, Hubbell” – I am ashamed to say that I am one of a generation who heard those words for the first time in an episode of Sex and the City, despite my well-documented love of all things Barbra. In fact, my mum went into labour with me while watching The Owl and the Pussycat, so it’s possible I imprinted on Barbra in-utero.
The Way We Were, just as the SATC girls said, is terrific and terrifically sad; but Babs’ wardrobe does a fine job of keeping the viewers’ spirits up – who can be distressed around such perky lapels, such beguiling prints! She wears almost exclusively shirtdresses for the first part of the film (set during the 40s), providing sharp characterisation for the earnest Marxist activist Katie Morosky, and a contrast to the mimsy, buttoned-up peter-pan collars worn by Hubbell’s WASP girls.
Katie: I don’t have the right style for you, do I?
Hubbell: No, you don’t have the right style.
Katie: I’ll change.
Hubbell: No, don’t change. You’re your own girl, you have your own style.
Babs’ polka dot version in this scene is close to my ideal dress. In fact I have a very similar dress, an 80s St Michael number which I thought was indestructible but is now starting to disintegrate – so of course I’ve been trying to recreate it. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have already seen a few versions. I might never wear anything else. What’s good enough for Barbra is good enough for me!
Make your own: Grainline’s Alder shirtdress has a simple silhouette, great for showing off fancy fabrics. Jen has posted a tutorial for adding sleeves now, so you can make a winter-appropriate version! If you prefer more of a vintage vibe to your shirtdress, Vogue V9051 has some beautiful details and raglan sleeves, which I’m so into right now. I also love Vogue V9000, which would look great in a light wool. Kathryn at Yes I Like That made a gorgeous pink version of New Look 6180, and there’s the popular Simplicity 2246 Lisette, too. Spoilt for choice!
[Click through for details on Polyvore]
Buy your own: I love this Preen green checked shirtdress so much. They have a crazy metallic one too, which… wow. The Saint Laurent one on the left is lovely, too. Just as well I can sew really, because Katie Morosky would never condone spending £2,317 on a shirtdress – and that is just one of the myriad reasons why she is a far, far better role model than Carrie Bradshaw.