The Meeting & Interviewing Hilary Swank Outfit … As promised so long ago, here are the details to this amazing encounter which happened in October 2009. (And as to why the gross delay? Well, more to come on that shortly, but it is no less than a tale of life’s unpredictable challenges!)
Every girl has this challenge at least once in a while — an event where you have to dress to impress, but where there’s a tenuous line between being overdressed and too casually trendy. This was my such moment. Seriously, how do you dress to meet a two-time Academy Award-winning actress?
Knowing that I was going to be among a fray of journalist scrambling to get my questions answered and that rapport had to built in a nano-second, the pressure was definitely on!
So to the wardrobe I went, and what should I find but a perfect mid-fall ensemble. Certainly, there is not much credit I can take in putting together this outfit, since this dress — a red, tweed wool-blended pencil dress and bolero jacket — is a beautiful classic from the 1950s.
While this dress managed to survive 60 years completely intact — meaning as a complete set: Dress, Jacket and Belt — I usually choose not to wear my vintage belts because they can be the most stressed part of an outfit and to respect the frailty of my luck, and the extra mile I am squeezing out of such fashion, I try to pair these outfits with modern belts. This time I went with a skinny (period correct) black faux alligator-skin leather belt with silver buckle. It highlighted the flecks of black tweed, but also commanded that I complete the outfit with black shoes, and top it off with a black headpiece.
Now, what shoes to wear with such a vintage outfit? Well, I have found, that especially with the pencil-skirt silhouette, that the basic pointed-toe heel adds a nice modern sexy flair to complete the look … especially when paired with Cuban-heel back seam stockings!
Now, the thing with wearing an outfit like this — one where it has such clean lines — the hair cannot have the natural, wind blown look AT ALL! So I swept my hair back into a pseudo pony tail, then took long sections and curled it with a hot iron, then twisted the pieces in to a maze of pin-curl looking knots. As for my “bangs” or layers in the front, I parted my hair at the crown and swept a large section forward, and even worked in a nice detail of a braid just to add an extra layer of texture to my face.
So, what is the grand total for this Fabulous Red Classic? $114.25
$65 Red, Tweed 1950s Pencil Dress Set — Zap & Co., Lancaster, Pa.
$30 Black, Pointed-Toe Heels by Enzo Angiolini — Marshalls, Paramus, NJ
$.25 Black Skinny Belt — Goodwill Clearance Outlet, Lancaster, Pa.
$9 Cuban Heel, Back-Seam Stockings — StockingStore.com
$5-10 Black 1950s Headpiece — found at unremembered thrift store
But what did Hilary Swank think?
While I can’t pretend to know what she specifically thought, I do know that the dress accomplished the mission at hand — to make an impression. Being at the bottom of the press list, for the closed media event, I had to bid my time as all the big shots, People Magazine, Entertainment Tonight, etc., were with the Hollywood A-lister. But, during the downtime, I bumped into some of her people — among whom were her stylists, actually — and we chatted fashion, with them noting what a rare find I was wearing — in that it fit me perfectly, and for me being 5’10” it was extremely unusual to see something from the ’50s fit my tall proportions. Some kudos and nods of approval came my way … and I was on cloud nine!
But as the day was winding to a close, my interview was slipping away … so I made my way to the fourth floor, where there was a flurry of activity as crews and “people” were shuffling Hilary from one room to the next. And as she walked down the corridor, I saw my moment … made eye contact and proceeded to introduce myself, shake hands, exchange a business card, and immediately met her handler, where an alternate interview date was set-up. They say fortune favors the bold and that is so true! While anybody might have been able to elbow their way into shaking her hand, it was my appearance and stature which obtained the respect of being heard and my request granted.
What’s the take-away lesson? Be bold, wear red!
Yes, whether it is a vintage number or a modern ensemble, the thing to remember is that color plays a very important role in the message you send to folks throughout your day. Red happens to be a color that exudes confidence, authority and power. Don’t believe me? Well, check out the latest edition of The Economist or tune into CSPAN, and there you will see the abundance of politicians and dignitaries wearing red ties, while female leaders will often be seen wearing red suits.
So embrace your inner Margaret Thatcher and don red to give yourself a little boost up the chain of command!
And, if you would like to read my story based on my interview with Hilary Swank, click here: Hilary Swank Helps 1.3M Pets Find Forever Homes.