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Rear Window: Grace Kelly in Jeans

This is the last outfit Grace Kelly wore for Rear Window (1954), during the very last shot in fact. This is complex as opposed to absolute Kelly womanliness, though no less appealing for it:

Red casual men’s shirt with button-down collar and pushed up sleeves. Tails are held together with a scarf ring to form a decorative side sash on the waist.

Grace Kelly was known for her love of scarves so this might have been her own decorative touch. It definitely adds a hint of ‘womanliness’ to what is essentially a male item of clothing.

Slim indigo denim jeans with turned up, calf length cuffs (pedal-pushers), no selvedge and cut high to fit on the natural waistline.

The appropriation of denim as fashion largely came from motorcycle culture of the early 1950s. In actual fact with Kelly in her mid-twenties during filming, these jeans are ever so slightly young for her. They were typically worn by the burgeoning teen fashion market, a young Brigitte Bardot eventually becoming synonymous with the look.

Dark brown loafers in pintucked leather with wedge heel.

Originally trendy during the early 1940s, ten years on these sensible shoes bestow Kelly’s Lisa a mature vibe to contrast the inherent rebelliousness of denim.

In Hollywood, jeans for women were made popular by Katherine Hepburn (off-screen) and later Marilyn Munroe (on). The rock and roll denim youth culture is not something we readily associate with Grace Kelly, though she carries it off well here. In essence Lisa now ‘wears the pants’ in her and L.B’s (James Stewart) relationship.

Teaming with a man’s button down shirt (fashionable in the 1950s following its requisition from polo sport wear) demonstrates her acknowledgment of the sporty action gal inside. The sash represents not a compromise, but a feminine flourish.

© 2009 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.