inspiration: gene tierney

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know Gene Tierney is one of my favorite “classic era” actresses. When I was a teenager and watched Laura for the first time–the 1944 movie that she is perhaps best known for (along with 1945′s Leave Her to Heaven)–I was completely smitten. I have to credit Laura and Gene Tierney for ignighting my interest in recreating 40s looks in my own wardrobe. I thought it would be fun to pull a few of my favorite images from my picture files to share with you–lots of hair and makeup inspiration!

A classic slacks outfit (the slacks look so similar to the ones I made using the Smooth Sailing pattern from Wearing History!)–but I really adore the suspenders. I have some embroidered floral ribbon I’ve been saving for just such a project for years. An easy way to infuse a bit of late 30s “folk” style!

A floral quilted robe. I think every woman needs a truly glamorous piece of loungewear in their closet for times when you want to stay close to home, but don’t feel like getting fully dressed! I have a velvet dressing gown in a similar style, but am still on the hunt for a quilted or chenille piece.

I love the updo she’s sporting in this picture! I have been trying for years to master the half wave (the way her bangs are curled and waved), but have yet to get it right (partly because my bangs are too long and I don’t want to cut them). But one day I shall master the 1940s updo!

A beautiful sheer blouse sporting a novelty print! What I really love is that you can see she’s wearing a lace-edged camisole underneath. I am often asked “what should I wear under a sheer top?”, and although there seems to be a (rather odd) trend for showing one’s bra underneath a sheer top right now, this is a far more sensible option for most people. Camisoles like this are still sold in some stores, or are easy to thrift or pick up at vintage shops. (Though I warn you: it’s really easy to start a collection of them because they’re so handy!)

Let’s talk about this hat, shall we? I have a soft spot for wide brimmed hats and I love this one with it’s softly waved brim. I wish we could see a side and back view!

Another lounge outfit! These wide, palazzo-style pants have been a popular option for casual loungewear since the 1920s. Super comfortable for warm weather too! I love that the bodice is a halter style and her cute two-tone wedges.

Finally, a gorgeous evening look. I love the softly draped bodice and double halter straps. The embellishment adds just enough interest and glamour, but doesn’t take away from the elegant silhouette of the gown.

You might also enjoy a post I did on her outfits in the film Laura in 2010!

Please note: I’m not sure of the sources of these images, as I’ve collected them from various fan sites and random message boards over the years.

March 21, 2012 · 23 lovely thoughts
posted in vintage inspiration · tags: ,

LadyD March 21, 2012 at 07:10

For me as costume (and dance – I think she can match fred astaire any day) inspiration goes I rather like Rita Hayworths outfits. She’s a much taller build than me but all her clothes are so elegant.


Tasha March 21, 2012 at 08:00

Lovely! You’ve inspired me to look at more images of her via Google Images. (I admit I was tickled to see she often styled her hair similar to how I do mine when it’s a couple of inches shorter. Hee.)

I completely agree about needing a great piece of loungewear, although in practice I do not have one! I really need to change that once we move. It’s something I often think of but forget to look for. As for camisoles, I don’t get showing your bra, either (though straps I sometimes can’t help…I should be better about pinning them to the camisole straps). I have one ‘nude’ camisole that I got thrifting and it’s been going strong for years. It’s unobtrusive but doesn’t make me look naked. lol But one with a little more lace would be nice, I’m inspired to keep my eyes open!


Renee March 21, 2012 at 09:17

Beautiful pictures. I watched Laura again recently. I love the clothes the women wore in all those old movies. Love the quilted robe.

I don’t like seeing someone else’s bra or bra straps (I think I’m just getting old).


Anita March 21, 2012 at 09:31

Lovely outfits, such effortless glamour, but what strikes me most is how much you look like her!


Melissa March 21, 2012 at 09:41

Your looks have always reminded me of a blend of both Gene Tierney and Loretta Young, so I can see why Gene would be such a style inspiration to you! She was really lovely and glamorous. My favorite of her movies is “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” – such a funny and romantic film. “Leave Her to Heaven” is wonderful, too. Seeing her beauty in Technicolor is bliss, even if she’s playing someone evil! ;-)



Joen March 21, 2012 at 09:45

The lace overlay top is FABULOUS!


Rochelle New March 21, 2012 at 09:51

Gorgeous! My favorite era :)


Staci March 21, 2012 at 10:12

I just adore Gene and her style. And I just realized that you do resemble her. Both have beautiful smiles, same arched eyebrows and almond shaped eyes. Gorgeous!

Got a couple of questions for you off subject. Actually I’m asking all the lovely ladies that I follow. Do you serge each piece before sewing together or after? And do you ever serge garments together instead of sewing together?

I just bought my first serger and am interested in the how to of all the beautiful garments you all put together.


Casey March 26, 2012 at 11:57

Thanks so much, Staci for your comment! :) To answer your serging question, I tend to serge the piece after I cut them out, before I stitch them together. I just lower the blade on my serger, and carefully serge around the edges of each piece. This doesn’t work for all fabrics or projects (some things I wait to serge until I’ve sewn the seam–and just serge the edges together), but I tend to do this on about 80% of my projects. :)

I haven’t had a lot of reason to serge garments rather than sew them yet–unless it’s a knit material piece. Otherwise I find the seam allowances are too narrow for my taste–and just in case I want to rip and redo a portion, it is a bit more fiddly! ;)

♥ Casey


Staci March 26, 2012 at 19:37

Thank you for your enlightenment. You are such a doll!

I’ve been experimenting and looking at all my RTW items to figure out how they were put together. I have a couple of great knit patterns that I want to try but have been hesitant until I get a handle on serging. I’m excited to learn yet another new technique :)

Happy Sewing! I’m looking so forward to seeing your 1900′s gown!!!! The fabrics are beautiful!


Heather March 21, 2012 at 11:00

Beautiful! I had a pair of palazzo pants several years ago when they enjoyed some popularity, and that photo has me wishing for them again! Thanks for sharing!


Nathalie March 21, 2012 at 11:08

Gorgeous! I think I may have to watch that movie. . . ;0)


Brandy March 21, 2012 at 11:23

Fantastic post. I made it over to the Wearing History site and drooled over a few of the patterns. Did you see the pattern for the wide leg lounge pants and halter top? The material of the lounge pants in that photo Gene is wearing reminds me of the material used in those stretch cotton maxi dresses that are so popular.

Speaking of popular – sheer with bra is back in? I hated it when Carrie from SATC brought it around the last time. I don’t care how pretty my bra may be, I don’t want the people in line at the super market to see it!


Janey March 21, 2012 at 11:30

Simply stunning! She was an amazing actress and her clothes were simply to die for! Thanks for posting.

And to throw my two-cents in with Brandy’s question, I think it is. I was just at a Buffalo Exchange yesterday where I saw a girl doing it.


Logan March 21, 2012 at 13:02

What a lovely lady! Wow. The outfits!!!


Simone March 21, 2012 at 16:59

Thank you for introducing me to the beautiful Gene Tierney, these images are lovely. I am inspired by the lounge wear outfits.


Deanna March 21, 2012 at 17:31

Nice post, love the pictures! I’m very fond of Gene Tierney. Leave Her to Heaven and Laura were the first of her movies that I saw when I was a kid. But I much prefer Laura and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Leave Her to Heaven is a little too disturbing. Did you know she was married to Oleg Cassini? How awesome would it have been to have your husband design clothes just for you?


tasterspoon March 21, 2012 at 18:49

I want that last dress for me. I am small busted with narrow shoulders, so most slinky, strappy dresses look too bare or the straps keep slipping off, but this solves for both plus has enough material in front to give a little dimension. If I could sew, that would be the first thing I’d make for myself.


Sara March 21, 2012 at 22:02

I now must make palazzo pants and a halter for summer.

Also, I believe you have somewhat of a resemblance to Gene and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks so.


Cley March 22, 2012 at 02:36

this so nice and i like it.
thanks that you sheared this.


Mire Cantú March 22, 2012 at 13:57

Casey!! You remind me so much of Gene Tierney, Since the very first time I saw you on youtube, 2 years or so now… Rita Hayworth was the one actress who draw me into 1940s style, althought , I dont sport that look so often, I really just couldnt stop watching Gilda admiring her glamorous outfits and the beauty about her.
But also since I saw Laura, I also got caught by Gene style and beauty. Definetely One of my favorite actresses and favorite movies. Love your Blog :)


Lisa March 26, 2012 at 12:18

The up-do and the evening look are both from Josef von Sternberg’s “The Shanghai Gesture”… I just did a post on the clothes in that movie the other day, they are SO. GORGEOUS. As is Gene Tierney in just about anything, gosh, what a beauty. Great inspiration for a so-so glamour day on my end, thanks!


Gillian August 10, 2012 at 13:18

Lovely…..Her hair is to die for! And yes, Casey, you definitely remind me of her!

I’m 15, but I don’t like the visible bra trend, either. I see a lot of girls wearing it and I think it’s rather tasteless.


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