I love movies, but I’ll admit that I love television just as much. If you’re looking for vintage inspiration for your modern glamour, the obvious choice is Mad Men. There’s a role model for almost any type of woman in that show, whether you are a Joan, a Betty, a Peggy, or a Megan. But there are only six seasons so far, and the seventh season will be the last. Not enough! I need a constant drip of vintage fabulousness!
Dear Reader, let me introduce you to your new best friend: Netflix. You’ve heard of it. Streaming on Netflix, available any time, are these four wonderful, entertaining television shows set in bygone times. I wouldn’t recommend these series for their clothing alone. It’s hard to watch more than an hour or two of wooden dialogue and predictable plot lines, no matter how cool the costumes. These shows are pretty and engaging. First, let’s take a trip to a little village in post-war England.
Agatha Christie’s Marple (2004-present) stars a lovely little old lady who seems to be followed by murder wherever she goes (actually, Miss Marple is played by two different lovely ladies over the course of the series). She solves mysteries by being more observant than all the people around her. She listens to gossip, she knows her neighbors’ habits, and she knits quietly while people spill their guts (usually figuratively).
Miss Marple herself is not very glamorous, though she sure can rock a handmade sweater. But her friends and acquaintances are often the British uppercrust or young glamourpusses who get into just a little bit too much trouble. Nary an episode goes by without some impeccably dressed woman with just the right shade of lipstick.
As long as we are in post-war England, let’s see what life is like in the slums of London. Wait, what? That’s not a great place to find glamour, I’ll grant you that, and Call the Midwife (2012-present) is about a bunch of nuns and nurses who catch the babies of the poorest women of London…but stay with me! These ladies have nights off, and their style is lovely and authentic. The main character, Jenny Lee, is the perfect girl-next-door, and her fellow midwife Trixie is a spunky bottle-blonde who never forgets to put on the finishing touches.
Jenny’s outfit in this picture is adorable–coordinated in soft colors, but the dress’s pattern is unusual enough to avoid being boring. If you’re looking for sweaters, heels, and pencil skirts, pay attention to Trixie on her nights off.
Now, let’s go back in time to WWII-era Canada.
Bomb Girls (2012-2013) is set in a Canadian munitions factory during WWII. The plot revolves around the dramas of women from all walks of life doing their part by taking on the very dangerous job of building bombs while the men are off fighting the war.
Sure, they wear uniforms at work, but most of the action takes place outside of the factory, where we see the rich girl, the vamp, the girl-next-store, and the naif hang out in their pajamas, dress up to go dancing, and wear the most flattering wide leg pants I’ve ever seen.
And now, for the most glamorous woman of all time, Phryne Fisher!
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012-present) is set in 1920’s Melbourne, Australia. Miss Fisher is a wealthy adventuress who decides to fill her spare time solving mysteries with the occasional help of her ladies’ maid, doctor, and cabbie friends. She flies planes, drives fast cars, carries a revolver, and will never, ever settle down.
The costumes for this series truly match Mad Men’s for meticulousness, luxury, and authenticity. The costume designer, Marion Boyce, has described using fabrics from her personal collection and reshaping vintage dresses to fit the actresses. For Phryne alone, Ms. Boyce estimated that she created over 120 costumes for just the first two seasons of the show. As you can see the results are fabulous, and if you only watch one show on this list for glamour inspiration, this must be it!
Written by Team Glamorous Housewife Movie Expert: Mary D. Freiman.