Comedy · Musical

The Gold Digger’s Fashion Guide

Moon Over Miami Betty Grable
Betty Grable (centre) calls the front desk and orders a Millionaire. Image: Vintage Clothing Love

We are of the opinion that a person should marry for love. But, for those who insist on finding a millionaire and marrying for money, may we recommend some valuable fashion advice?

We ourselves had no idea what to wear when chasing millionaires until we saw the perfect Millionaire* Chasing Attire in the 1941 musical comedy Moon Over Miami.

(*A million dollars in 1941 is worth $16,528,297.87 today. In case you were wondering.)

About the plot: Betty Grable, her sister (Carole Landis), and their aunt (the scene-stealing Charlotte Greenwood) move to Miami, where “rich men are as plentiful as grapefruit and millionaires hang from every palm tree.” (Take note.)

Grable poses as a rich young socialite on vacation, while Landis poses as her personal assistant and Greenwood as the maid. Turns out Grable meets not one, but two! handsome millionaires (Don Ameche and Robert Cummings), and is faced with the awkward dilemma of which millionaire to marry.

About the wardrobe: Everything in this film is designed to accessorize the clothes, from the sets to the co-stars – Cummings and Ameche being the most prominent accessories in this film. The scrumptious wardrobe was designed by famed Hollywood costume designer, Travis Banton. (For samples of his work, click here.)

Before we begin our Wardrobe Analysis, we must remember one important principle: The millionaire must think he (or she) is catching you, not the other way around. (And let’s face it, Dear Reader, you are a catch.)

Now, let us examine Grable’s wardrobe savour-faire, which we can classify in three main categories.

1. Evening Wear

Grable (left) is Millionaire Hunting. Because Landis (seated) is wearing sleeves, she's obviously not. Image: dkjf jeu
Notice Landis (seated) is wearing sleeves, so she’s obviously not Millionaire Hunting. Image: Beauty Bombshells

As you might have guessed, millionaires attend only the best parties where everyone dresses in Very Expensive clothes. This means your party attire must be made by this season’s most sought-after designer. It cannot be last season’s frock purchased at a designer outlet or – heaven forbid – at any place bearing the word “depot”.

2. Everyday Wear

Notice Grable's green suit. It screams, "I'll look good in your money." Image: tumblr
Notice Grable’s emerald-green suit. It screams, “I look good in your money.” Image: tumblr

Despite all appearances, Millionaire Chasing is not a casual, happy-go-lucky activity, so just forget about polyester-blend attire. No stretchy jeans and no – [shudder] – yoga pants. You must be strict with yourself: this is Serious Business.

3. Cultural Wear

Grable alksdjf djs fImage: alskdjf sd
Notice Grable is ready to perform an impromptu number at a moment’s notice. Image: dvdbeaver.com

If you’re moving to another city/country to pursue your millionaire, you must accept the fact that, at some point, you will star in a floor show at a local nightclub. Here’s your chance to show your spouse-to-be that you elevate the local culture. Make sure your outfit pays homage to the locals, but is obviously something they could never afford.

Now you’re ready. Dress in your best outfit and go find that lucky Millionaire. Be sure to send us an invite to the wedding!

♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦

Appendix: Wardrobe Checklist

1 Cowboy Waitress Outfit (a reminder of your humble roots)

1 Fur-Trimmed Coat-and-Dress Set

1 Gate-Crashing Party Dress

1 Driving-in-the-Country Suit

1 Sight-Seeing Outfit (suitable for submarine travel)

1 Swishy Gown (with sequinned appliqué)

1 Impromptu Cultural Dance Outfit

1 Trench Coat (for hasty getaways)

1 Breakfast Pantsuit

1 Butterfly-Themed LOOK-AT-ME Dress

1 Swimsuit (not for swimming)

Moon Over Miami: Don Ameche, Betty Grable, Robert Cummings. Directed by Walter Lang. Written by Vincent Lawrence & Brown Holmes. Twentieth Century-Fox, 1941, Technicolor, 91 mins.

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23 thoughts on “The Gold Digger’s Fashion Guide

  1. Dang! Now I know what I have been doing wrong. Love the post, but gotta run to see if I can get a cowboy waitress outfit. I smell a millionaire in the neighborhood (or is it a freak with a Roy Rogers fetish?)… hmmm. I’ll let you know.

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  2. Terrific! So nice to see a sense of humor about fashion–especially with icons like Travis Banton. I first saw this film in B&W but it was a lot of fun. Not as much fun as your post, though. The checklist is hilarious. Rock on!

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  3. I love this post! It’s a lot of fun. That top shot looks familiar! I used it as a Daily Diversion last year, I think. I’ve always enjoyed this movie, and Betty Grable’s blue-and-white outfit is one of my very favourites.

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  4. Oh my gosh, I loved this post! So so funny. I laughed all the way through it. Sadly though, I realize from reading it I cannot chase millionaires. I love my yoga pants too much. Maybe it is best since I’m already married!:) I will be looking for this movie to watch. Thanks, Ruth!

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  5. Ruth, I always enjoy pretty clothes, though I mostly window-shop because my budget is nowhere as lush as my pocketbook or my imagination! I got a kick out of your comment: “.! 1 Swimsuit (not for swimming)

    This was great fun, Ruth! I also got a kick out of ” 1 Swimsuit (not for swimming)”! This is why I buy Land’s End bathing suits; they last longer! Great post, pal, and have a great weekend, my friend! 😀

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