The 1967 production of Bonnie and Clyde is undoubtedly a vintage film gem, in part because it is infamously considered one of a flock of films that modernized the Hollywood movie promoting more graphically violent scenes than ever before. But also because in the 40 years since its debut, the flick has become a fashion-on-film superstar.
Bonnie & Clyde Trend
Plus Size Vintage Style
Faye Dunaway’s deadly heroine Bonnie Parker holds her own in history alongside the likes of Diane Keaton’s Annie Hall as a silver screen fashion icon. And beyond the clothes, these were female characters with unique senses of self, unabashed confidence and a pseudo masculine style, surely a new kind of woman for the American masses and channeling the political and social changes already underway.
Dunaway’s Bonnie is outright sexy and the actress herself is probably the most recalled historical image in the public memory of the crime vixen, but one look at pics of the real Miss Parker and you can see where Faye got it from. The real Bonnie was boyishly coy, classically tailored and seductively fetching. Her sporty, easy dress read both practical (for jumping out of speeding getaway cars, of course) and mischievous. While nothing about her clothing was overtly come-hither, Parker’s total package was relentlessly alluring. She may have been only playing at the character of an American bad ass, but given the eventually bloody results, you’ll find no argument here.
And beyond the clothes, these were female characters with unique senses of self, unabashed confidence and a pseudo masculine style, surely a new kind of woman for the American masses and channeling the political and social changes already underway.
This Fall/Winter, several ready-to-wear collections were clearly haunted, or rather, inspired, by the ghost of Bonnie as criminally cool separates were walked by the dozens. These looks are really beyond the dusting off of a vintage trend. Instead they are a fresh perspective of the confident, androgynous sex appeal of the tomboy or the mobster. Plus size fashionistas – whether you plunge full on into the head-to-toe or just stick to super cool accessories, there’s a bunch of ways to do this look.
Here are some of our favorite designer interpretations of the Bonnie effect.
Hands down one of our favorite Fall collections, the long line blazers, full trousers and Saville Row type suiting patterns and colors created a Godfather-worthy runway. And who can forget those modified fedoras to cap off every look. Chic. At Privé the cropped pastel sweaters with generous shoulders would have had Bonnie swooning.
Posh Spice no more, Mrs. Beckham’s fashion is respected by critics and customers. We adore her cute and sexy jersey dresses, contrast-color cuffed for pulse-racing shaping – talk about feminine wiles. Alone they certainly have that vintage “Je ne sais quoi” but topped off with a slouchy beret they are ringers for Bonnie style.
A vintage effect is always somewhere to be found in Ralph Lauren but this season’s interpretation is decidedly more literal than others. And we like it! With the layering of plaids and patterns, wonderful jodhpur and harem cuffed pants and outerwear for days, this is somewhere between Gatsby, Capone and the English Hunt. A bit more fussy than typical Miss Parker, we like to think that a more sophisticated (and perhaps less crime-committing) Bonnie would have relished Ralph.
Plus Size Vintage Style Tips: Get the Bonnie Look
An unassuming plus size vintage style sweater, fitted just right, is very Bonnie. Try a meek-seeming fair isle version from Old Navy or an Italian merino wool vest from Land’s End. One that’s boxy, cropped but yet still body skimming will create the criminalista silhouette when paired with trousers or a midi or maxi skirt.
Either a blazer, jacket or even another sweater will do fine, but make sure it’s tailored and just a bit more obviously than subtly masculine. Greys, browns and blues with pin striping or strong plaids do the job well. We’ve featured both Lauren Ralph Lauren and Talbots tweed equestrian blazers before and either works awesome in the Bonnie & Clyde capacity too. We also like Torrid’s grey plaid blazer, cropped to enhance curves and a great way to do a bold pattern without going overboard.
Definitely snag a mid- or max- length skirt with an ever-so-slight flip at the hem over a mini. We like Simply Be’s wine colored drop hem midi or a Ruche to-the-floor in navy or stripes. If you go pants, be adventurous! Figuresque’s harem pants are actually pretty versatile. Pair with pumps or booties for a plus size jodhpur appeal.
Manolo Blahnik Campari mary janes. Enough said. But if you’re not quite ready to splurge, try Comfortview’s version for under $50 – up to double-wide sizes too. These are a sweetly affordable way to dabble in plus size vintage style.
Top it Off
Not so fast – you can’t do Bonnie without doing hats. Fedoras in a zillion styles from Eric Javits are a tad more mobster than maven – but we like an eggplant velour one anyway. Get in serious Parker character with Rachel Zoe’s sequin covered beret or Lanvin’s knit cap with grosgrain bow.