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Thursday 19 September 2013

Sluttishly Vintage: Love Story's autumnal 1970s style

Now that the weather is getting a little bit chillier, this month's vintage column is looking for comfort as well as chic. Unless you want to go full on Dr Zhivago, perhaps one of the most referenced films for autumn/winter style is 1970s schmaltz fest Love Story. If you haven't had the joy, it's the story of love against the odds between a filthy rich Harvard law student and a "smart but poor" music student.

More interesting than the film itself is the wardrobe of Ali MacGraw's character, Jenny. She completely nails keeping warm in style: brilliant coats, cute kilts and colourful tights with coordinating hats and gloves. Thankfully, I've found this youtube video which runs through her key looks so I don't have to.

Step one for any cold weather look is finding yourself a great coat. Vintage coats are brilliant buys because a coat doesn't really date, plus they're made in nicer materials than contemporary high street equivalents. The three coats at the top of the post date from the 1960s through to the 80s but all have a classic look. All are also made from wool and under £70. For the Love Story touch, add a belt (or there's a nice 70s coat with belt on ASOS marketplace here), and always, always wear your collar up.

Scarves, polo neck jumpers, cardigans, tights and tank tops - the whole film is like a love letter to the joys of knitwear - and almost all of Ali MacGraw's wardrobe in the film is in beige, black or shades of burgundy and red. To attempt to echo her style, I like this burgundy cardigan from Beyond Retro, or the cream wool cardigan shown above as it looks as if you might have stolen it from your American preppy boyfriend. It's £28 from Beyond Retro. And, if you really want a tank top too, there's a 70s number available from Vintaholic on ASOS Marketplace for £22.

There's also a lot of tartan in Love Story - the whole 90s revival thing going on at the moment means it's easy to buy this new at the moment - but equally easy to buy second hand. You can get your own 70s tartan skirt from Penny Dreadful Vintage for £20, or I can imagine this dress, also from Penny Dreadful Vintage and priced at £45, looking great. It's easy to pick up a tartan or striped scarf too - my favourite I've found is this houndstooth 1960s scarf, £7 from Wee Red Suitcase on Etsy.

Before acting, Ali MacGraw had a bit of a fashion career, working as an assistant at Vogue and as a photographer assistant (she was 31 by the time she played college student Jenny in Love Story), so she must have had some opinion on her costumes. Apparently one of the hats she wore was definitely her own, a very cute 1920s knitted cloche style hat which subsequently started its own trend. I wonder if the 1970s number pictured was created as a result of the film? It's a mere £12 from Dolls and Daisies on ASOS marketplace.

One of the most important accessories in the film has to be Jenny's specs. Just in case the viewer was failing to realise she was clever. But her completely huge frames do look pretty cool as part of her geek chic look. You can get this pair of original 1960s frames from Nelson Eyeware on Etsy for £59.

A final Love Story styling tip - always have an amazing red dress in your wardrobe to pull out when going to visit your snobby in-laws. This 1970s design from schmooozin is pretty wonderful and only £23.14, but take a look at these Little Red Dresses too.

Oh, if you are actually going to watch Love Story, there's another accessory you'll probably need - don't forget your handkerchief(s)...


  1. love, love, love. And, a blub.

  2. Ugh! I hate Love Story. I think I'm too cynical. It puts my mum in floods though. Though thinking about it, the last time I saw Love Story was years ago and I've become way more like my mum since then, so maybe I'd cry at it now?
    Funny, I have 2 cardigans knitted by my late Grandma which are almost the spit of that one in the middle. Round necked rather than with a collar, but otherwise identical in pattern, leather buttons and pockets.

    1. It's full-on cheese - doesn't stop me blubbing though!

      I am very envious of your cardigans - your grandma was obviously an excellent knitter.


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