Fashion In Film Blogathon: Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
Although Singin’ in the Rain is a film made in the 1950s, the action of the film takes place in the 1920s, making the fashion in this film a unique mix between classic 20s style and the splashy colors of the 1950s.
All the fashion in the film (both men’s and women’s) are defined by the same characteristics: glitz, glamour, and color. The film seems to overdo these characteristics, but hey, no complaints! It’s great fun and is one reason why Singin’ in the Rain is considered the quintessential frothy 50s musical. And ladies, it’s impossible not to want one of Debbie Reynolds’ or Jean Hagen’s dresses in this film!
The Guys (Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor)
Sporty clothing was all the rage in the 20s (games such as tennis and golf were gaining popularity at the time) and most of the costumes worn by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor really reflect that:
For most of the film, the boys wear sweaters and baggy pants, typical 1920s casual clothing. But to make it more fun, the color of their sweaters match the color of their eyes! (O’Connor had blue eyes and Kelly had brown eyes) I’m not sure if that was done deliberately or if that’s just my brain noticing these things…
Again, Kelly wears a sweater vest (quite popular at the time) and high-waisted baggy pants. White was also a popular color for men to wear during the 20s. Debbie Reynolds’ dress has an ultra-low waist and straight silhouette, something that all 20s dresses were to help in getting the boyish look that was so in vogue at the time.
Of course, I couldn’t forget this famous scene! It’s a very basic suit, but it’s made to mirror the rainy, gloomy weather. Kinda to make Kelly blend in with his surroundings.
Again, basic colors such as black and white populated the men’s wardrobes. A matching hat is like the icing on the cake. As for Donald O’Connor’s, I found that many men at the time liked to juxtapose their dark coats with a light-colored scarf. I also love how the older woman is fashion forward too! As for Jean Hagen, she is always the picture of 20s opulence, with metallics, sparkles, and furs. Very much the kind of wardrobe I’d want to raid
Gene Kelly takes basic white to a new level with patterns. Plaids were incredibly popular.
I love this one! In the grand dance number of the film, the “Broadway Melody Ballet”, Kelly’s white, muted wardrobe is suddenly replaced by fluorescent colors and fun patterns (usually worn by the women in the film) but since this number is fun and glitzy, he gets in on the fun too. His outfit is charmingly mismatched: bright checkered jacket, striped shirt, and floral kerchief. Pink also seems to be a popular color: the man behind him is wearing it too.
One of my favorite outfits in the film: the green checkered suits worn by Kelly and O’Connor in the “Fit as a Fiddle” number. They’re fun, bright, and happy, reflecting the mood of the entire film. I also love how the shoes match the suits exactly.
This one is very simple: black and white, dark and light convey the emotion in this moment of the film. No attention to fashion trends here; the costumes are quite basic, and very “dance-y” especially Gene Kelly’s (who looks mighty fine in all black).
Of course, every dapper 20s man is able to rock a classic tux!
The Girls (Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen)
The girls of Singin’ in the Rain had fun, colorful costumes that all of us ladies wish to have in their closets too!
Everyone loves Debbie Reynolds’ dress in the “Good Morning” number! It’s simple and sweet, yet chic. It has a very clean silhouette and powdery-blue color and also incorporates Art Deco with the zigzag pattern. A drop-waist and pleats were quite popular, and the hemline is typical of many 20s dresses: at the knee or about an inch below it. Her shoes are to die for!
Every 20s dame had a cloche hat to offset her finger wave and frame her face.
A fun, lovely outfit! The colors are whimsical and cotton-candy like, and because it’s a showgirl costume, it’s quite short and scandalous. You still see the 20s element with the tight, head-hugging caps.
Another one of my favorite costumes: Debbie Reynolds’ green dress. Again, the silhouette is clean, straight, and simple, reflective of her character’s personality. The colors of the dress remind me of the suits Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor wore in the “Fit as a Fiddle” number earlier in the film. This dress’ design is basically an exact replica of the one from “Good Morning” but it has a green leaf Deco pattern and a green sash to highlight the waistline. A beautiful, flattering dress.
My obsession with the villain continues. Although we aren’t supposed to like Jean Hagen’s character in the film, I couldn’t help but love her. She is hilarious, wonderfully nasty, and most importantly for this post, stylish! Check out her cream-colored coat trimmed with monkey fur (something that was quite trendy at that time) Her glasses are also envy-worthy. Overall, a very trendy yet elegant look.
Baggy silhouettes that hid a woman’s curves were all the rage in the 20s. The trend was to look as athletic and boyish in figure as possible. Jean Hagen shows the trend at its best, with colors that are totally on opposite ends of the spectrum that each one stands out on its own. I love how her tights are a sheer purple as well! Her friend is quite trendy too.
A closer look at the gorgeous mint green and silver sparkle dress Hagen wore in the beginning of the film. I own a dress that looks quite similar to this one and I love it with all my heart <3
Others/The ‘Beautiful Girl’ Number
How important was fahsion in Singin’ in the Rain? There is a fashion show within the film! The number ‘Beautiful Girl’ is an exhibition of bright, beautiful 20s fashions:
All the outfits featured in the fashion show: lounge pajamas (if only they still made them that way! I love them), a monkey fur cloak, tennis whites, a dinner party dress, beachwear, a garden party dress, a modern dress with a cloche hat, a tea party gown, a tweed suit with pearls, a dyed fox-fur cloak, a simple black dress, and an Art Deco wedding gown. Each outfit is an overdose and exaggeration on glamour and drama and 20s fashion, but oh what fun! The colors are deep and bright, and guaranteed to make any lady the center of the party. My personal favorites are the lounge pajamas, the swimsuit, the purple and light blue dress, and the fashion-forward, short wedding gown. The fashion show literally presents an outfit for every moment in a woman’s life.
Totally random extra who had one of the best outfits in the film. Sequins, bright green cape, feathers…it’s like my dream dress! Her role should’ve definitely been expanded, in my opinion.
Perhaps one of the most famous dresses in musical history was Cyd Charisse’s emerald-green sequined dress from the Broadway Melody number. The color is incredibly attractive, and the dress has an overall sexy, vampy look to it. I dare you not to wish for this dress! It is very iconic.
I hope you enjoyed this post! As Jimmy Thompson sang in the Beautiful Girl number: “A beautiful girl is like a great work of art. She’s stylish, she’s chic, and she also is smart”.