Style Inspired by The Notebook: Get The Look
Love The Notebook and the 1940s-inspired fashion featured in the film? We help you get the look with our take on The Notebook Style. Our Brand Director, Lucy explores the beautiful styles that make this film such a huge source of vintage fashion inspiration.
There are times when life gives you lemons and you feel a little blue. You need to stop the world and take a little ‘me time’ and just maybe have a good old cry. For this I would usually prescribe a movie, specifically a rom-com, featuring one of the Holy trinity of Jennifers: Garner, Aniston or Lopez. There are other times however, when the usual Jennifers simply don’t cut the mustard. In this scenario there is only one movie for the job, The Notebook.
The Notebook, a 2004 film adaption of Nicholas Sparks’ 1996 best-selling novel of the same name. Two young lovers torn apart by war and class difference. A love letter to 1940s style, this sentimental tear-jerker has just the right about of schmaltz, and REALLY tugs on those heart strings. The chemistry between the two leads, (secretly Canadian actors, Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling) crackled both on and off screen. The starring role however goes to leading lady Allie Hamilton’s 1940s style - the wardrobe department truly excelled themselves. We take a look at the outfits and fashion that make the movie a cult classic. (Spoiler Alert - contains plot and ending!)
Allie & Noah First Meet
We meet our star-crossed lovers on June 4th, 1940. More specifically, at the carnival in Seabrook, South Carolina. Southern belle Allie Hamilton and local boy Noah Calhoun first cross paths during a tumultuous ride on a Ferris Wheel. Noah is drawn to Allie, probably by her bold coloured shirtwaister dresses and cotton knit cardigan combinations. Button down dresses and playsuits dominate the early 1940s look. Steal Allie’s style in our Notebook inspired 1940s edit, perfect for riding on bikes, jumping in lakes or squishing ice-creams into lovers’ faces.
“It was an improbable romance, he was a country boy, she was a girl from the city.”
Summer love blossoms after a date night at the pictures - and another tea dress and cardie combo leads to the iconic dancing in the street scene. The red and white colour motif continues throughout the ‘summer love’ section of the film - the styling and accessorising alone deserved an Oscar. Allie’s hair majestically set in classic 1940s styles pin curls and victory rolls, complemented beautifully by classic pearl jewellery and suede ankle strap shoes, topped with a lipstick in the most perfect shade of orangey red that makes the look pop. Not to mention the vintage swimsuits currently providing a wealth of inspiration in our design studio!
You look good, really, really good
Allie: Say I’m a bird….
Noah: You’re a bird
Allie: Now say you’re a bird too
Noah: If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.
Big Dreams & Big Obstacles
Noah introduces Allie to a wreck he describes as the ‘dream house’ and promises one day to purchase the fixer upper for her and fulfil her list of requests - it sounds pretty damn perfect to us. As the romance heats up between the young lovers, Noah navigates Allie’s complicated girdle, suspender belt and seam stocking under garment combination with a level of ease that has never been seen before in undressing vintage lingerie! Interrupted in the heat of the moment, our couple are torn apart by Allie’s pushy family and going to college in New York, the teenagers break up.
I want a white house with blue shutters and a room overlooking the river so I can paint. I want a big old porch that wraps around the entire house where I can drink tea and watch the sun go down.
A year goes by and fashions of the day move on. War breaks out and Allie volunteers as a Nurse’s Aide, treating injured soldiers where she meets future fiancé, Lon Hammond Jnr from old Southern money and heir to a cotton fortune.
We see Allie’s style evolve too; a Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake starlet look replaces the 1940s style we fell in love with. The hair is bigger, the makeup bolder, statement hair flowers and beautiful veiled millinery accessorise designer gowns and formal skirt suits. Bicycle riding replaced by horse riding, dancing in the street replaced by glamourous nightclubs with full big bands.
One letter a day for a year. 365 letters but they all went unanswered.
The Labour of Love
Serendipity strikes when Allie see’s Noah’s completed labour of love; her dream house lovingly renovated in a newspaper, and the wedding jitters begin. Recurring references to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass pepper the movie and mirror the scenes, as their sensual illicit romance is rekindled when Allie returns to Noah in a beautiful Burgundy Tea dress.
Most famous of the dresses in movie is probably the pale blue, Nehru collar, button down through wiggle dress that seems particularly unsuitable for a rowing boat trip. Nipped to an impossibly tiny waist with contrast covered buttons and turn back sleeves; again showing a more grown up, evolution of Allie’s style… but it doesn’t last for long as a storm comes in, dishevels her put together look and soaks them through.
Love prevails and the clothes come off again. Noah’s surprisingly long boxer shorts and Gosling’s talent of walking with trousers around his ankles steal the scene.
Mercury Dress - Blue, Barb Polka Dot Dress - Navy, Petunia Dress
Love Conquers All
Momma returns the stolen letters, Allie leaves her fiancé and future riches, and gets her happily ever after with Noah. It might not sound like the page turner but the twist of this being set as flashbacks, from an aging couple in a care home certainly hits home.
Allie has degenerative Dementia. Older Noah (or Jim Rockford for our more mature readers) reads their story back to her day after day, the repetition of their love story promotes her memory recall but in a heart-breaking second, she loses it all over again. Pass the tissues.
Read this to me and I‘ll come back to you.
Shop our 1940s Edit for The Notebook style you can wear now!