Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970) is an incredible film for late summer/early fall fashion guidance, because 80% of the film entails characters traipsing around in virginal, summery dresses and the other 20% involves accessorizing with autumnal shawls and capes. I might not be selling this very well as a film with, like, a plot and a moral, but that’s about right! One watches Czech surrealist films for the vibes, and those in Valerie are sacrosanct, elated, terrifying in a confusing way, and above all, stylish as hell.
Letterboxdheads, don’t come for me, this is one of my favorite films or I wouldn’t be writing about it in the first place, and yes of course there are Themes and stuff but this is not a Themes blog, and here at HR we stick to the apparent frivolity of aestheticization, which is really just a facet of dialectical materialism, no, I swear, I’m really fun at parties,
If you like these posts, please let me know by sharing (tag me if on IG so I can see and thank you!), liking, saving, and commenting on HR’s Instagram, subbing to the HR Patreon for as little as two bucks a month (extra posts, personal styling, and more available on there!) or throwing me a few shillings on Ko-fi if you’re able.
Thank you SO MUCH for your support, whatever you are able and willing to do to help is extremely valuable to me and I’m honored to be a small part of your life on the web.
On with the show!
The perfect Valerie dress is white, preferably true white but off will do, and has one or more of the following components: a square neckline, eyelets, lace, plisse, floral motifs, and/or a lightness that suggests sleepwear.
When searching for a Valerie dress, keep in mind that in addition to “dress” you should also consider the key words/phrases “nightgown,” “wedding dress,” “slip,” “peignoir,” “gown”, and “chemise.”
Separates with the characteristics listed above work just fine as well, exemplified by the two items below (a corset cover makes a great tank top, FYI).
Here are some dresses that I think capture the sylph-like, but not too Lolita-leaning, vibe that can allow for an adult to be inspired by the dress of a pubescent girl without it being creepy or sad.
If you want something a bit more *matoor,* go the creepy young sexy grandma route with a high-necked, Edwardian or Victorian (or E/V inspired) blouse or dress with a cameo brooch as a talisman over the throat. A brooch featuring Medusa, like the one below, will sure give off a vibe!
Now, to accessorize either your Valerie Dress or your Young Grandma Dress, you can go one of three routes (ok, there are literally infinite routes you can go with a fucking white dress, you can get married in one or buried in one or whatever, but for the sake of this post I’m narrowing it down to three and claiming they’re the best).
To transition into cooler weather, add texture, or just funk up the look, throw on a crocheted cape or shawl over your Valerie dress as many of the uncanny but stylish girls in this film choose to do. Bonus points if the dress is optic white and the cover-up is not. The first one below is my favorite, though these all would absolutely rock with any of the above dresses.
The only other accessory needed for route one is a hair bow, if you have enough hair for a low pony that covers the ears (yo, didn’t we just talk about this? There will be a low pony moment and I am anxiously growing my hair out in preparation). An antique silk bow or a sliver of an old sari (a very affordable way to buy a bunch of silk ribbons) is preferable.
For all you Halloween nerds and lite Catholics out there, this one’s for you! Grab a pearl rosary if you feel comfortable doing so (if not, there are suggestions of necklace alternatives below) and a lacy black jacket and suddenly you’re spooky-hot! Vampire teeth could potentially be an integral part of this look, I haven’t decided.
The fuck it, we ball option. The most badass option. The, dare I say it, best option. Cover up that pretty dress completely with a velvet cloak (or, heck, wear nothing underneath it, your body does not exist once inside this haunted garment) but stay cool in the hot cocoon you’ve created with a vintage silk fan. Your crusty little white dog will love this one.
I hope you gleaned some transitional weather vibez from this post and if you haven’t seen Valerie you consider doing so. There will be more posts in this late summer/fall series, either one or two, I jumped the gun on saying it’d be a two-parter. More to love! Or feel ambivalent about!
Today I’m copy/pasting my pleas for much-needed support because my wrist hurts and I’m sleepy: Instagram (free! costs no money!) Patreon ($2 a month! That’s less than a slice of ok pizza after tax!) Ko-fi (pay what you wish $3 and up, one time only!)
Don’t forget to frolic while it’s still August!