The first time I ever picked up “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was in my eleventh-grade English Comp class. This was a new, fresh experience for me, as the majority of literature I read in high school was written by men- usually pandering on about justice and freedom and the American Revolution. I’m not trying to say I don’t think that part of history is not important, but it bothers me looking back that I hardly ever learned about women’s lives in the 1800s, and additionally, their contributions to the founding of this country. Seriously, I started learning about the Boston Tea Party and the constitution and all those related events starting when I was ten years old, and where I come from, those are the only “American History” subjects I learned about every single subsequent year. I appreciate my English teacher for introducing literature written by African Americans and women, because by the time I reached high school, I was exhausted and bored from hearing about how our country is solely built on rich, white men.

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Anyway, this isn’t intended to be a rant on the public school system. This is going to be a different kind of a rant, I suppose, but it is backed by my unwavering love and appreciation for Gilman’s feminist short story. If you haven’t read “The Yellow Wallpaper” before, I’d advise finding a PDF online and giving this important piece of literature a read-through. 

First off, let’s talk a little bit about Charlotte Perkins Gilman herself, and how her life experiences ultimately inspired her to write this story. She was born on July 3rd, 1860, into a family of poverty after her father abandoned her mother. Her mother was not affectionate to her children, her schooling was often erratic, and her childhood was ultimately composed of isolation and loneliness. One of the ways Gilman found solace was through her love of literature, and she frequently visited her public library to expand her horizons. 

In 1884, Charlotte married and had a child- a girl named Katharine Beecher Stetson. After giving birth, Charlotte suffered from a serious bout of postpartum depression, though her symptoms were scoffed off and not taken seriously. She was ultimately believed to be a weak, fragile woman by her first husband, and thus, her interest in feminist literature was sparked. After separating from her husband (unheard of at the time), she had an extremely awesome lesbian relationship with Adeline Knapp, became active in several feminist organizations, and penned “The Yellow Wallpaper” in 1890.

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Ugh, what an icon.

Women’s reproductive rights and sexual health have always faced scrutiny, though perhaps the worst time to be a woman in this country was the 1800s. What we now know as PMS and PMDD was passed off as “hysteria” and “nervous depression”, and the believed remedy back then was to isolate women and confine them to their beds FOR WEEKS. Gilman herself was inspired to write this story after her postpartum depression, during which a male physician advises her a “rest cure” and told her to live “as domestic a life as possible.” After trying to live this way for three months and ultimately getting worse (because, as we know now, that’s not how hormonal-related depression is to be treated), she defied his commands and started to work again. Although “The Yellow Wallpaper” is an exaggerated version of her personal experience, there were certainly many women for who the story rang disturbingly true. Ever the badass, Gilman sent a copy of her story to the physician who initially prescribed her bed rest, but she never heard a reply.

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In short, the story is about a woman suffering from mental illness after three months of being isolated and closeted in her room (per her husband’s order, of course). She becomes obsessed with the ugly yellow wallpaper on the wall, and begins to imagine there is a woman on the other side, creeping through the paper, spying on her, and speaking to her. If that makes you feel unsettled, then I’m very glad. Paranoia due to being isolated is a very real thing women in the 19th century suffered as part of their “treatment.”

Charlotte’s story was published by the Feminist Press, and soon became a best-seller through that publication. Her story opened the doors to a new way of thinking- giving women control over their autonomy and thus power over their own physical/emotional well-being. As someone who suffers from hormonal-related depression and anxiety myself (PMDD), I cherish this story for shining a light on the power of women- not painting them in weakness. If you also suffer from severe PMS, PMDD, or have dealt with postpartum depression, you are entitled to a life full of vibrancy and freedom. Take care of yourself, socialize with the people you love, try to stay active, and most importantly, do what you need to do to feel better. Your health is the most important thing you own, so prioritize it and love it!

Read The Yellow Wallpaper here:


Coming up next: College Snack Hall | Vegetarian & Vegan

I’m the first to admit that my general taste in everything is all over the place. And as you’ll soon discover, none of these channels really have anything in common, but I love them all so much, I can’t just keep their glory to myself. I’m sure you yourself have a handful of channels you watch that not many other people have heard of, so this is me, sharing my collection. Also, I know 700,000 subscribers may seem like a lot (and it is!), but that’s certainly not considered “acclaimed” by YouTube’s standards. In fact, there are over 2,400 channels with 1,00,000 subscribers, and more than 24,000 channels with 100,00+ subscribers. You’d be surprised how many people haven’t heard of John Maclean, and he’s one of the biggest rising stars on my list.

It’s also noteworthy to add that the subscriber counts I included next to the channels are rounded up, and of course, they are subject to go up as time progresses. So just keep in mind that these are the estimates as of August 2019, and they may not be accurate anymore in a few month’s time!

Lou Lou & Friends | Pets & Animals | 38,000 Subscribers

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I had to include Lou Lou & Friends first because it’s possibly the most wholesome, relaxing, adorable thing I have ever come across in my life. There isn’t a lot of talking in the videos- it’s just high-quality footage of Lou Lou the dachshund going on adventures and hanging out with her other animal friends. The woman who owns Lou Lou also has sugar gliders, geese, chickens, bunnies, ducks, and hedgehogs, and if I’m correct, she rescues a large majority of them. It’s obvious to the viewers that she takes fantastic care of her pets- feeding them gourmet, healthy dishes, taking Lou Lou for strolls in the countryside, and giving all of her little friends so much care and appreciation! If I’m having a hard time sleeping and I need to put on something soothing, Lou Lou & Friends is one of the first channels I turn to. Because seriously, what’s cuter than a dachshund meeting a baby duck?

Buddhist Society of Western Australia | Nonprofits & Activism | 127,000 Subscribers

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I discovered this channel about seven years ago, when YouTube and the internet was actually still relatively new to me. I was going through a difficult time when I was thirteen wrestling with the guilt of being attracted to women (obviously I’ve gotten over that now, I’m a proud useless lesbian), but at that age, I was so distraught over my feelings that I decided to google “How to let go.” And thus, I found the Buddhist Society of Western Australia- but specifically a monk named Ajahn Brahm. Ajahn Brahm is well-known in Australia for giving casual, friendly, hour-long talks about life’s biggest lessons to those who visit his monastery, and many (if not all) of the talks are filmed and uploaded to YouTube. This might sound relatively boring to you, an old man talking about the meaning of life, but it actually holds a lot of ASMR properties for me. This is another one of those channels I like to listen to to help me fall asleep, because Ajahn Brahm’s voice is so soothing and nice (and I genuinely learn a LOT from his videos). He has accumulated an incredible amount of wisdom throughout his years as a monk, and after a rough day of feeling destroyed by anxiety and confusion, I always feel better after listening to one of his talks. It almost feels like going to a therapist, but for free. 

English Heritage | Entertainment | 700,000 Subscribers

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If you enjoy history, theatrics, and cooking, I guarantee you will love English Heritage. The organization itself is a charity that cares for over 400 historic buildings in England, and the videos are often period short films about what life would be like in the good old English days. My personal favorites are the videos featuring “Mrs. Crocombe”, who is the cook at Audley End House and prepares a number of dishes “the Victorian way.” Like, for real. Do you want to learn how to churn your own butter by hand? Whip up some authentic Marmalade Water Ice? Mrs. Crocombe has you covered. The channel also includes makeup tutorials about how makeup was applied in the 1800s (without the toxins, of course), along with instructions for making crafts and games popular in that time period as well. It’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole of watching these videos, and while you find yourself being entertained, you’re also learning quite a bit about English history!

Novympia | Entertainment | 155,000 Subscribers

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You might recognize Novympia as the drag-queen duo who created that impeccable My Strange Addiction parody- “I’m Addicted to Being Furniture.” Well, I have good news for you. They also make incredibly funny and realistic parodies of other YouTubers (including John Maclean, who’s coming up). Nova and Olympia have wickedly funny senses of humor, and the amount of effort they put into their parodies is actually really impressive. Some of my personal favorites are the Jenna Marbles parody, and the Poppen Atelier one, who is also on my list, by the way. I truly feel like their channel is underrated, considering how talented this duo is and the amount of work they put into their videos. If you ever need a good laugh, pop over to their channel and immerse yourself in the fabulous world of drag. 

John Maclean | Howto & Style | 640,000 Subscribers

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John Maclean is a makeup consultant, makeup artist, makeup connoisseur, dark immortal lord, and apparently…also a furniture designer? He’s extremely complex and hard to describe unless you have actually watched his videos, which I highly recommend you do. Even if you don’t wear makeup and have no interest in it, John Maclean is a fascinating person who can entertain me for hours on end. His voice and manner of speaking is elegant beyond words; it’s like he speaks in cursive when going through a makeup routine. John Maclean is not only extremely talented at makeup, he also knows a great deal about the industry and loves to keep his audience informed about new products, makeup tricks he’s learned over the years, and advice for making your makeup look seamless. To me, he truly is a perfect example of a hidden gem, and I’m looking forward to watching his channel/following continue to grow.

Karolina Żebrowska | Education | 410,000 Subscribers

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If you like history, vintage fashion, memes, and appreciate a clever sense of humor, you will immediately fall in love with Karolina. Karolina is a period dresser with an immense amount of knowledge about both European and American fashion throughout the decades- even going back to the early 1800s. She clearly puts a lot of care and research into her garments, and I appreciate that she also takes the time to properly inform her audience about historical fashion. She’s also a renowned meme queen, appreciated for videos such as “Jenna Marbles but She’s an Edwardian Lady”, “Thug Edwardian Lady”, and one of my favorites, “Recreating Iconic Vines in Mid-Victorian Attire.” Truly, there is nobody else on this platform like Karolina, and I have so much love and appreciation for her amazing, innovative videos. Similarly to English Heritage, you can keep yourself entertained while still picking up so many interesting historical Easter eggs! Keep it up, Meme Mom!

Poppen Atelier | Howto & Style | 414,000 Subscribers

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Maryna, the woman behind this channel, is a doll-repaint artist who posts a new video every Friday. She doesn’t just take an old doll and make it “pretty” again, she literally transforms it into someone new. In the past, she has done repaints of Moana, Ariana Grande, Merida, Marilyn Monroe, Daenerys Targaryen, and even Olympia from our favorite drag queen duo, Novympia! (Seriously, it’s the crossover we never knew we needed before). There’s no way for me to adequately explain how talented she is, you’ll just have to check out her channel for yourself! I personally am the kind of person who loves watching doll makeovers and painting videos, so I was absolutely thrilled when I came across this channel. Once again, it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole and watch 4-5 of her videos in a row. She also has an instagram, @poppenatelier, if you’re interested in checking out more of her work.


Lou Lou & Friends –

Buddhist Society of Western Australia –

English Heritage –

Novympia –

John Maclean –

Karolina Żebrowska –

Poppen Atelier –

All pictures are taken directly from the respective YouTube channels

Coming up next: The Yellow Wallpaper and PMDD

I feel silly even having to preface this, but for the people who don’t know: MBTI is NOT science. It’s a fun little personality test that I personally love, but by no means do I think you should base your entire life and opinions of others off of the MBTI.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I would definitely recommend looking into it. It’s one of the more famous personality tests, and while some will argue that the sixteen types are actually quite vague, I personally think mine was spot on.

I’m an INFJ, like everyone else coined on this list. Of course, some of these are just theories; we can’t actually go back in time and ask Plato if he was an INFJ, but researchers and psychologists have put a lot of energy into organizing these lists. These, to me, are the most interesting (and surprising) INFJs coined on the web. I mean, any time you can group Hitler and Eleanor Roosevelt together into anything is kind of wild.

Just a little background on the INFJ type- INFJ stands for “Introverted, Intuition, Feeling, Judging.” INFJs are sensitive people with extensive imaginations, but they are certainly not idle dreamers. INFJs are determined and passionate about what they love, and are willing to take all the necessary steps to turn their dreams into realities. Generally, INFJs are soft-spoken, but can become fiercely protective of what they believe in, especially when they think their morals are being tested. INFJs are also very often good at speaking in human terms, and tuning people into them emotionally. Even Adolf Hitler, a malicious, evil nutcase, knew how to sway the German public into falling for his politics, because of his passionate speaking abilities. In that sense, INFJs can be very manipulative.

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It’s also noteworthy to add that many INFJs are extremely private, and can sometimes have difficulty letting others in. I don’t listen to a lot of Taylor Swift, but from what I’ve seen, she is relatively quiet about her personal beliefs and matters of that realm.

Although I admittedly don’t care much for her music, I wanted to touch on Taylor Swift because she’s such a great, widely-known example. Taylor Swift is clearly a creative, emotionally sensitive musician, and definitely has that people-pleasing quality that INFJs are known for. She’s also a perfectionist when it comes to her music, and, based off her lyrics, probably gets lost from time to time in the little details of life. I myself do this a lot- I lose sight of the big picture- so I admire Taylor Swift for speaking about her imperfections in her music.

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Like I mentioned, Plato is believed to be an INFJ, and he’s actually one of the first results to come up on various sites when you google “famous INFJs”. Though I’m not familiar with a lot of Plato’s writing and philosophy, his personality reflects through his understanding and passion for “human” issues. Plato had an incredible understanding of human behavior, and his mission as a philosopher was to improve society in a gentle, sweet-voiced manner. Those who knew Plato described him as being gentle and soft-spoken, while still remaining passionate about his beliefs. Many INFJs (including Plato) are characterized as incredible writers, hence why I enjoy my personality type and identify with its traits.

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It’s initially surprising to know that Adolf Hitler was believed to be an INFJ, and honestly, I had my doubts too when I first read that. How could somebody so different from Plato, Taylor Swift, and well, me, share my personality type? Despite the fact that Hitler was a hateful, cold-hearted dictator, there are elements of him that align with the INFJ type. Like Plato and Eleanor Roosevelt, Hitler knew how to address an audience and gather their attention with his passionate speaking, even if it was in the name of evil. He was passionate in his endeavors, even if they were heartless. He was sensitive to the societal norms and desires of Germany, hence why he was able to manipulate the public so well and (initially) convince the nation to rally on his side. It’s kind of terrifying, really, how even a madman can understand human behavior and emotions so well, but lack any sort of empathy or goodness.

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Eleanor Roosevelt is another believed INFJ, and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. The former first lady was warm and friendly, with an interest and dedication in improving society for the better. Although she could be considered an idealist, she was still determined and willing to take the concrete steps that would turn her visions into reality. I have so much admiration for her selfless actions, like visiting hospitals and genuinely asking the patients how they were doing. Her quotes are also extremely inspiring to me, and I have a few of them jotted down in my notebook for when I need a spark of motivation.

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Moving onto fictional INFJs- there are dozens of them. As you may have expected, many of them are wise peacemakers, but INFJs also take the form of emotional, sensitive, hopeless romantics. Though I personally don’t watch Game of Thrones, I see Jon Snow’s name pop up a lot on MBTI forums. I think I know the basics about Snow from just hearing about the show- he is quietly forceful, original, sensitive, and likes to stick to tasks until they are completed. He also strikes me as being highly intuitive, and from what I’ve seen, is interested in helping the people around him with their emotional issues. He seems to be one of the most unproblematic, well-respected characters on the show, which would make sense, but correct me if I’m wrong.

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I was so happy when I discovered that Eponine is an INFJ. “On My Own” has always had an extremely strong emotional hold on me, and now I know why I relate to the lyrics so much. If you’re familiar with Les Miserables, you’ll recognize Eponine as the sensitive, romantic young woman who falls for Marius. INFJs can be extremely affected by their emotions, especially when their hearts are broken, which I can personally attest to. As an INFJ, she quickly feels betrayed by lies or misleading information, and can swiftly become self-critical of herself. Despite being highly emotional, however, I think of Eponine as a strong female character in the book and musical. She exhibits strength and humility throughout the story, and I admire her for that.

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Who else was a Star Wars fanatic as a child? I was! Obi-Wan Kenobi, of course, is one of those wise old man stereotypes I was telling you about in the INFJ realm. He serves as a counselor for several of the characters, and is well-known for his gentle, caring demeanor. Like all INFJs, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a complex character with strong, often private emotions, but his pursuit is always in the greater good. He lived his life with ambitions and great purpose, and was wholeheartedly devoted to the cause that he believed in. Honestly, I would have to say that he is one of my favorite fictional INFJs that I have discovered thus far.

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Last but certainly not least, I had to touch upon Nitta Sayuri, the focus of Arthur Golden’s famous novel, Memoirs of a Geisha. I read the book in high school, and to this day, I still consider it to be one of my all-time favorite novels. Even though Sayuri is fictional, I related to her emotions and felt her love and pain throughout the entire book. The writing is beautiful, and Sayuri (Golden) often uses metaphors and quotes to hint at the deeper meaning of her life. She is working through her ultimate goal with passion and desire- the goal of reuniting with “The Chairman,” Ken Iwamura. Though her sense of self is strong, Sayuri can be easily affected by the views of others, which makes her eager to please (even if it means getting into trouble). Ultimately, and perhaps unknowingly, Sayuri’s greatest mission is to understand life itself, no matter how troubling the life of a geisha may be.

If you’re interested in learning more about MBTI, there are tons of websites and forums out there. I love Personality Cafe, and Personality Club is very informative as well. If you want to take the test yourself and explore the other fifteen types, I’ll leave that link below!

Take the test yourself! It’s free.



Coming up next: Malachite: Balance and Abundance

All decades of fashion history are interesting, but now that we’re getting into the 1940s, I am getting especially excited! My style is a mixture of retro, metal, and psychobilly, so I draw a lot of inspiration from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. I even have some true vintage accessories from these decades, which I have mentioned in other posts related to fashion. With the emergence of World War II, all industries found themselves affected, and that includes the fashion industry. In Britain, clothes were even rationed during the years of the second World War, and many women actually painted seams on their legs because they couldn’t afford nylon stockings!

Left: Two-piece, 1945

On a happier note, the 1940s did bring with it some very exciting fashion developments. The two-piece, for example, quickly took off to become one of the most iconic designs of all time. On the left, take a look at this vibrantly-colored two-piece bathing suit worn by Gene Tierney in 1945. The two-piece swimsuit was so important to fashion (and feminism) because it actually drew attention to the womanly figure- something that society had tried to hide in previous generations. Interestingly, the “bikini” was named after the Bikini Atoll, which was the site of a nuclear bomb test in 1946.

Left: Woman in Hungary, 1943

The 1940s also brought a variety of different colors, shapes, and patterns to women’s dresses. Take a look at this colorful portrait of a woman in the mid 1940s, and just how similarly Modcloth has captured the look in their modern reproduction. Knee-length dresses were especially popular at this time, along with “shirtdress” details and tailoring. A shirtdress, as you may have guessed, is a dress that draws inspiration from a man’s shirt (including the collar and lapels). While the more modern dress has swapped the tailored collar for a simple v-neck, the similarities in shape, color, and length are still there.

Left: Man in overcoat, 1945

Now, let’s touch upon men’s fashion during this decade. Overcoats were very popular for men at this time, and really, they haven’t changed much over the course of seventy years. While colorful clothing was popular for men in the 1920s, this had fallen out of fashion by the 1940s, and men reverted back to wearing neutral, subdued colors. 1940s suits differed from previous generations in that shoulders were more padded, and the waist was slightly nipped. The overall goal of the suit was to emphasize the man’s figure, while still remaining tailored and clean. The coat on the right, designed by Reiss, resembles the classic 1940s overcoat in regards to color, cut, and length that the coat falls to. To me, they look like they both could have come from the same decade.

What’s your favorite piece from today? I personally love the vibrant shirtdress-inspired Modcloth dress, but then again, I love anything Modcloth puts out!


Shrimpton, J (2014). Fashion in the 1940s. Oxford: Shire Publications. p. 19.

Welcome back to the 4th installation of my fashion journal! Today we are going to be focusing on the 1930s, which at the conclusion of the Great Depression, proved to be a turbulent time in fashion industry. Man-made fibers were one of the most exciting inventions of the 1930s, and included materials like rayon, nylon stockings, and viscose for linings and lingerie. Fashion trendsetters at this time were The Prince of Wales (King Edward VIII, until his abdication), his infamous companion Wallis Simpson, and movie stars like Joan Crawford. With that being said, let’s get into some of the more specific garments of the 1930s, and how they have created a lasting impact on the modern fashion industry.

Left: Tea Frocks, 1930

First and foremost, take a look at this absolutely gorgeous frilled dress. The feminine flutters of the 1930s drew inspiration from the earlier 1920s flapper, and this art-deco dress. The dress on the right draws inspiration from the dropped hemline, loose calf skirts, and split short sleeves. Additionally, the color pink was a SHOCKING revelation at the time, so the modern dress on the right is a pretty spot-on representation of the time!

On the left: Mohair and cashmere coat, made by J. Lubliner of London for Marshall & Snellgrove

Another trend of the time was a luxuriously fur-lined wool winter coat, and it doesn’t take a lot of online searching to realize that has not gone out of style, either. While many designers today have adapted to look to incorporate faux fur, the overall essence and boxy design of the coat is still present. Elsa Schiaparelli is one of the most notable designers of the 1930s who is credited with “changing the outline of fashion from soft to hard”. This 1930s mohair & cashmere coat pictured on the left is the ultimate representation of Schiaparelli’s envision for a masculine, boxy frame, while still remaining bold and elegant. The coat on the right was actually hand-crafted by the women wearing it, which is absolutely incredible! I’ll link her blog at the bottom, if you want to check out her other designs.

On the right: Gold Embossed Silk Dress by Roland Mouret

As I said, Edward VIII’s abdication of the throne to marry Wallis Simpson was one of (if not the ultimate) groundbreaking event of the decade. Though she was looked upon with notoriety, she did have an influential sense of style throughout her life. Designer Roland Mouret drew direct inspiration from Simpson when he created this gold embossed silky maxi-dress, which he stated was meant to be a tribute to her iconic wardrobe. Simpson is quoted as saying, “My husband gave up everything for me. I’m not a beautiful woman. I’m nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.” Wallis, you need not worry- your iconic sense of style is just as inspiring now as it was eighty years ago.

This Old Life:


When you think of the 1920s, you may think of glitz and glamour, parties and flappers. And certainly, the Gatsby-era we associate with the 1920s is a pretty accurate representation of the times. The 1920s was a mish-mosh of modernization, jazz, sportswear, and feminism- and the clothes definitely represent those themes. Let’s take a look at three iconic styles from the 1920s, and see how they’ve translated into fashion today.

Left: circa early 1920s

The boyish figure was a newfound revelation of the 1920s, but ironically, the flapper was not considered “stylish” by any standards at the time. The midi dress we see on the left is a perfect example of the rebellious young gal of the 20s- her dress is embellished with theatrical details and beading, and she’s dripping in luxurious amounts of jewelry. On the right, we can see how the flapper dress inspired the brand Venus- this midi dress is only one of the dozens of dresses that draw inspiration from the 1920s flapper. The slimming fringed dress is extremely similar in style to the 1920s dress, from the color and cut to the actual embellishments itself. Fringe on dresses budded as a popular trend in the 1920s, especially for the flappers. Can you imagine how lovely it would be to dance in a fringed dress, swinging all around you with movement? Now, with these vintage-inspired evening gowns, you can.

Left: 1923, mother with hands folded

One of my absolute favorite websites for vintage-inspired clothes is Unique Vintage, because they consistently deliver great-quality clothes. They’re also generally historically accurate, and draw a lot of inspiration from a variety of different decades. You may look at the dress on the right and assume it’s based on the 1940s, and while there are certainly elements, I actually see a lot of 1920s inspiration. Sometimes we forget that there were other women besides the flapper, such as a the mother pictured on the left. Besides the obvious similarities in pattern (polka-dots were a popular pattern at the time), there are similarities in the collar, dress length, and slight flare in the hip area. A notable difference, however, is the way the two dresses hang differently. A more masculine figure was seen as beautiful in the 1920s, so many women liked their chests and hips to look flat. On the right, however, the dress has been updated to hug the model’s curves, and emphasis a more feminine cut.

Left: Joan Bennett wearing Coco Chanel in 1928

Of course, if we’re going to talk about the 1920s, we cannot leave out the emergence of the little black dress. You may have remembered it, in some form or another, on a more modern figure like Audrey Hepburn. However, Chanel’s little black dress had already started picking up momentum long before that. On the left, we can see Joan Bennett wearing a 1928 LBD designed by Coco Chanel, and on the right is a modern Grace Karin evening gown. I was immediately stricken by the similarities in the slightly-revealing mesh collar area, and, of course, the sleeveless, slinky shape of both garments. Keeping with the trends of the 1920s, Chanel’s dress falls on Bennett in a masculine shape, concealing her curves and womanly figure. While the dress on the right has been slightly modernized, it still delivers that old-Hollywood glam that Chanel first pioneered, and personally, I think it’s a great interpretation of the golden age of glitz and glamour.






Hello, lovely people! The spring semester here at college is winding down, and as a part of my final project for a fashion history class, I am going to be putting out a fashion journal for every decade, from 1900 to 1999. Because of that, I’m going to be publishing FIVE articles a week, instead of three, because I already have my normal articles planned out and set to be published on their normal days. Basically, this is how the fashion journal is going to go: I’m going to post pictures of three garments from each decade, and compare it to a modern garment that was inspired by it. I’ll also be including the sources to the images at the bottom of each article, if you’re interested in looking further into it. Without further adieu, let’s jump into the 1910s!

On the left: 1907

The first garment that struck my eye is the arrow shirt collar, which was popular in women’s blouses in the 1910s. This collar was desirable to women, because they wanted to appear slim, and with a low, full chest. At the time, being slimmed and elongated meant you were a confident woman, so the silhouette was well-sought out. The garment on the left is pictured from 1907, and perfectly represents that “pigeon-breast” shape. In turn, we can see the inspiration from the arrow shirt collar in this modern blouse, which is manufactured by Farfetch. The flare style, long sleeves, and even the embroidery are reminiscent of the ideal womanly shape in the 1910s, and to this day, it’s still a very flattering, popular design.

On the left: Early Paul Poiret turban

Hair turbans were also very fashionable at the time, especially with the emergence of Paul Poiret’s designs. As a very theatrical, bold designer, Poiret loved to dress a sophisticated woman, who literally dressed from head to toe. The glittery, dazzling, romantic aura of Poiret’s turban (seen on the left) undeniably inspired the popularity of fashion turbans today. The turban on the right is designed by Julia Clancey, and everything from the backdrop to the turban itself screams “Poiret” to me. The modern turban strikes me as being very theatrical and glamorous, and that’s exactly the aura Paul Poiret wanted to put out.

Top: Early Homburg Hat, 1907

Now, let’s not leave out men’s fashion! Interestingly, the popular men’s hat on the left, the Homburg Hat, has now become universally unisex. The Homburg Hat was originally made of stiff wool felt, and was characterized by a single dent running down the center of the crown. On the bottom, we can still see the iconic dent, but this hat is made of faux fur and has an embellished bright feather on the side. Like I said, this hat has become a gender-less accessory, while still upkeeping a classic, old-fashioned beauty. It’s interesting to me how shapes and designs can transform socially, while still staying the same structurally, and the Homburg hat is a perfect example of that.


Coming up next: How Pixar Changed the Path of Animation Forever

I’ve always been a bookworm, so during my winter break, I spent dozens of nights pouring over new books. Some of them were books I’ve had on my bookshelf for years and wanted to pick up again, but most were brand-new books I purchased just last month. They’re all extremely different, from both the publication date to the overall content, but I’ve fallen in love with everything I’m reading so far. And maybe, you will too!

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First and foremost, I’ve been weirdly interested in American history lately. I never enjoyed history in class in high school, which I mainly attribute to having boring teachers combating my flaming ADHD. I feel like history class should feel like storytelling, not a dull lecture, and that’s exactly why history class turned me off. Now that I’ve graduated from high school and started to pursue my own interests, I realize that I actually am interested in knowing about history and what turned our country into what it is now. I picked up this book, America: The Last Best Hope. I’m not really a big fan of the author or his politics, but his book is really interesting. Like I said, I’m interested in history presented as storytelling, and that’s exactly what this book does. Because of this book, I’m now super into the American Revolution, the Boston Tea Party, and all that jazz. It’s kind of nostalgic, too, because I remember being interested in American history when I was very young. Overall, I give this book an 8/10- the only thing I don’t like is William J. Bennett himself.

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Another book I’ve been glued to lately is The Witch Elm by Tana French. I’ve read another one of her books before- In The Woods, to be exact, and was absolutely obsessed with it. There’s something so unique and tangible about her writing; you feel like you’re in the middle of a real crime television show. You end up getting emotionally attached and involved with the characters, which makes the actual plot twists all the more devastating. If you enjoy Stephen King, you’re bound to love her novels (King himself enjoys her books, too!). I’m only about a third of the way through the book, but so far, I’m giving it a 9/10.

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The Woman in White is a book I’ve owned for about three years, but never really gotten into. I’m giving it another shot, and it seems to be going along well this time! I think the biggest problem I had with this book when I got first tried reading it is its slow-paced nature. The book was published in 1860, which explains the complex language and objectively “boring” plot, but once you get into it, the book is actually quite interesting. The Woman in White is widely regarded as being the first mystery novel, even before Sherlock Holmes. It’s a nice, spooky book to read on a rainy night, and I’d have to give it an 8/10 so far. I’m only about a third of the way through, so we’ll see how the book progresses…

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Speaking of spooky books, I’m also currently reading Ghostly Tales: Spine-Chilling Stories of the Victorian Age. You might recognize the title from another article I wrote, where I recommended this book as a Christmas gift. The book is a compilation of a handful of stories, and includes works from Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I wouldn’t say all of the short stories are necessarily scary, but they are definitely mysterious and compelling. The book also inspired me to do some additional research on the authors- that’s how interested I got in the stories. I’m so close to being finished with the entire book, and at this point, I feel certified to give it a 10/10.

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On a happier, more light-hearted note, I recently started reading one of the more adorable books of all time. It’s called Pilgrim of Tinker Creek, and essentially, it’s just an observation on nature/life/theology by Annie Dillard. I’ve actually just recently become interested in nonfiction work, like history, philosophy, psychology, and…The Bermuda Triangle? I don’t know what category that falls under. Conspiracy theories? Pilgrim of Tinker Creek is narrated like a personal journal, and essentially contemplates the shifts of life as the seasons change. It’s a really beautiful book, and I’m so happy I decided to pick it up. 10/10 from me!

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Like I just said, I’m getting increasingly interested in books about philosophy and sociology. If you’ve seen Ever After, the 1998 film starring Drew Barrymore, you might recognize Utopia as the book Danielle cherishes. That’s honestly the primary reason I started reading Utopia– I loved Ever After growing up, and wanted to understand Danielle’s love for the book. It’s definitely challenging to read, considering it originally written in Latin and translated to English in the early 1500s, but I do genuinely enjoy reading it. It’s fascinating how the morals and notions in the book are still relevant in society- crime, punishment, power dynamics, etc. I might not fully understand every sentence of every page, but I’m getting the basic idea, and I do feel like I’m learning a lot about societal issues from the book. 8/10; I’m deducting 2 points for not being an annotated text. The only modern print publication I could find of Utopia is kind of shoddy and poorly arranged, so just keep that in mind if you want to buy a copy yourself. You might be able to find it easier as a PDF, because the entire publication is only about eighty pages. 

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I, like many others, had to read Macbeth as a part of my high school curriculum (and yes, like many others, I despised it at the time). However, as I looked back on that experience, I realized that I actually did really enjoy the book. Yeah, it’s about the gruesome murder of King Duncan, but it’s also absolutely hilarious and satirical. Most versions of the book are also annotated, so you can translate the Shakespearean language as you read along. Side note: I recently became aware of a conspiracy theory that Shakespeare didn’t write any of his own work, and it’s REALLY compelling. Look it up!! Also, the book gets 9/10. 1 point deducted for being difficult to read, but hey, that’s what you have to expect when you pick up a Shakespeare play.

Anyway, that’s everything I’m simultaneously reading right now. I usually read one chapter of each book every night, which takes about 1.5-2 hours total. People are amazed when I tell them this, and can’t believe I don’t get the stories confused, but it genuinely really relaxes me to read multiple books at once. Does anybody else do this? Let me know below!

Coming up next: What’s in Season for the Month of February?


*Spoilers, duh.*

Y’all, I have happy butterflies in my stomach today. I am so, so excited to start Movie Meaning Monday, and even better, kick it off with one of my favorite movies of all time. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is really one of those movies that will hold a special place in your childhood, assuming you grew up watching it. I’ve tried to show it to friends my age, and the truth is, the magic just isn’t the same when you watch it for the first time as an adult. It’s slightly tragic, but it’s the way things are.

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I’m generally not a big fan of musicals, but there’s something about this 1968 film that I love. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has been forever preserved in my memory as an important movie from my childhood, no matter how old I get. It’s vintage, it’s creative, it’s catchy, and the character development is there. Even the film itself has some deeper, darker allusions planted in it, but we’ll get into that later.

Basically, I think this is how the article’s gonna go down: I’m going to rewatch the entire movie in one sitting, and then step-by-step analyze the plot, characters, themes, etc. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so I’m curious if I’ll notice things I hadn’t picked up on before.

First of all, this was nearly f*cking impossible to stream online. Even more annoying, I own a physical copy of the movie, but my laptop doesn’t have a disc drive. Nice!

The movie opens with in 1907 with a montage of the European Grand Prix, which was a popular car race at the time. One particular car is seen winning the races again and again over the span of two years (hmm, wonder where this is going), until the car tragically crashes and essentially burns to a crisp, effectively ending its racing career. Growing up, I actually thought Dick Van Dyke was the race car driver, and frequently wondered how he could have survived such a horrific accident.

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That being said, the racing montage is more or less not relevant to the plot. In fact, about 25% of the movie isn’t even relevant to the plot, but, uh let’s carry on.

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So, our ‘ole friend the dilapidated race car ends up in an old garage in rural England, where brother-and-sister Jeremy and Jemima Potts fall quickly in love with it. And so we enter the cliché subplot of “Children of a Poor Single Dad Beg Him to Make a Financial Exception for Them.” Their father, eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, struggles and toils over how to afford the car. We’re also introduced to crazy old Grandpa Potts at this time, who isn’t too active now, but trust me, he comes back, so remember that name.

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Soon, another subplot arises. Jeremy and Jemima, out playing hooky from school, meet a beautiful upper-class belle named Truly Scrumptious. Yup, that’s her real, spankin’ name.

Admittedly, I had a major crush on Sally Ann Howes, but who wouldn’t? Have you ever seen such an angelic face before in your life?

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In her true snoody, upper-class manner, Truly Scrumptious marches Jeremy and Jemima back to Caractacus to blow the whistle on their evil, hooky-playing deeds. We experience some awkward romantic tension while Truly chases Caractacus around, complaining that he doesn’t manage his children well enough, while Caractacus fires back that she should keep her nose out of other people’s business. Insert the next cliché of “Beautiful Woman and Outlandish Man Start Out on the Wrong Foot, But Inevitably Fall in Love.” While this awkward argument occurs, Caractacus leads Truly around his…laboratory? Invention room? Factory?

Interjection: There is something I really admire about Truly Scrumptious. I know the movie is trying to introduce her as being a snoody bitch, but I personally think she’s just a smart, independent woman. A 1910s beauty with her very own motorcar, a newfangled mind, and a free-thinking attitude? 

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Anywho, after that intense introduction, and Truly storms off, Caractacus finds himself down in the dumps over how he’s going to be able to afford this sloppy jalopy for his ungrateful, hooky-playin’ children. And so we enter the scariest frame in the entire movie (which is really saying something)- the family dog takes one of Caractacus’ failed inventions- a piece of candy- and starts blowing through it like a flute in the still of the night.


NIGHTMARE. FUEL. Seriously, is that a dude in a dog costume? My eyes cannot unsee this. That’s not a dog, that’s the f*cking Abominable Snowman. 

And so the seed is planted in Caractacus’ head! He can package up these sweets, market them to a major company as “Toot Sweets”- the magical candy you can also use as a musical instrument, and make some big bucks. All thanks to a terrifying dog who somehow became self-aware of the gift of music!

The following day, Caractacus and his two (hookying again?) children embark on a journey to a prestigious sweets factory, where Caractacus tries mercilessly to sell his idea to the CEO, Lord Scrumptious. And low and behold, Lord Scrumptious is no other than Truly’s dad.

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In the midst of Caractacus excitement about his candy, and maybe to add some filler in the movie, we’re interrupted by a catchy dance and song number in the factory. The friendship between Truly and Caractacus continues to blossom, and Lord Scrumptious is so close to giving in to Toot Sweets when of course, disaster strikes. The sound of the candy’s whistle causes a pack of dogs to go crazy and infiltrate the candy factory, and Caractacus loses his chance. By the way, none of this is really relevant to the plot at all yet, but we’re getting there.

Back in the depths of despair, and unsure how he’s going to buy this LOAD of CRAP for his children, Caractatus sadly watches the sunset on rural England while a windmill slowly spins behind him. And that’s when we see it- a carnival, far in the distance, and Caractacus’ next chance to make some fast cash money. He breaks into the carnival and decides to disguise himself as a barber, of all things, using yet another one of his inventions as a hair cutting tool. Are you surprised when his hair-cutter turns this poor guy into Kevin Malone? Because I’m sure not.


In a fast-paced chase, Caractacus escapes the rightfully angry customer and hides himself in a random carnival tent. This tent happens to be a song-and-dance act, which Caractacus nearly perfectly performs on the spot, and of course, we have another musical intervention: The ‘Ol Bamboo. Not gonna lie, The ‘Ol Bamboo is kind of a bop.

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Finally, finally, after charming the audience with his sexy Van-Dykiness, Caractacus raises enough tips to pay for that burnt huck of shi-cough, I’m sorry, I mean the race car at the junk garage. He purchases the car, drives it into his secluded barn, and spends many days and nights bringing the car back to life. And so, after an undisclosed amount of time and about 4,384 irrelevant plot points, we are introduced to…this sexy piece of metal. Uh, I mean, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For those of you who are confused, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” refers to to the sound the car makes as it drives. And yes, it does have its own musical number.

Finally, the plot of the movie begins.

Caractacus, Jeremy, Jemima, Truly all pile into Chitty on their first trip in the new car- a trip to the beach. It’s here that Caractacus and Truly start to get a ‘lil bit more friendly, and we even see some weird 1910s variations of flirting…

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While relaxing in the car, Caractacus begins to tell a fictional story to Truly and the children about an evil tyrant named Baron Bomburst, his country, Vulgaria, and Bomburst’s imperious quest to steal Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Why the tyrant ruler of a fictional country would want a loud car from  rural England is a mystery to me, but oh well, it’s a fictional story, right?


Okay, this is when things in the story start to get kind of weird, in a sense that reality starts to merge with fantasy. Because while Caractacus is telling this story about Donald Tru-*COUGH*, uh, I mean, Baron Bomburst, things take an unexpected turn, and the car is suddenly surrounded by water. And who is that we see looming in the distance on an evil pirate ship? None other than Baron Bomburst himself!

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So okay, if you’ve gotten this far, we’ve accepted that we are now in the story. Which means that this evil tyrant is really gonna try to sail on over and steal Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. So Chitty does what any average vehicle would do- it automatically deploys huge flotation devices and transforms itself into a power boat. Chitty and her passengers swiftly return to shore and narrowly escape Baron Bomburst, who then proceeds to send out two spies after the car.

This movie really sounds like a madlib, doesn’t it? I promise you, it’s real film that I genuinely enjoy.

So let’s recap: Caractacus Potts renovates a dilapidated race car and turns it into a glorious chitty-chitty-chonking machine with automatic flotation pads. And somehow, Ford was the leading car manufacturer instead of this guy?!

Anyway, the spies. Oh, the spies. They’re the classic buddy duo that every comedy (and musical) needs. The entire movie is pretty much comic relief, but these guys are pretty much the icing on top of the cake. Predictably, they’re pretty shitty at their job, and accidentally kidnap Grandpa Potts instead of Caractacus. Remember him?

Okay, hold on. Weren’t they trying to take the car? Why did they decide to take Potts captive instead?

And they don’t just take Grandpa Potts captive. That would be far too mundane. Instead, they attach a hook to his weird little shack and transport him to Vulgaria via giant blimp. That’s not inconspicuous, right?

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Of course, as Caractacus, Truly, and the kids are driving down the road in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, they see ‘ole Grandpa Potts being airlifted away in a giant blimp. So what’s the best course of action? Drive after the blimp!

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And then, during the chase that was doomed anyway, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang accidentally flies off a cliff!

No, seriously, the car flies. The fucking car sprouts magical wings and propellers and shoots off into the sky after the blimp. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

The journey takes about a nice, based on evidence that the sun sets and rises, but eventually, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang lands in the fictional country of Vulgaria. It’s not actually disclosed why Caractacus Potts knows to go to Vulgaria, but hey, movie magic, right?

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Now, if you were confused by the title of my article, it might start to make sense from here on out. Like I said, we had to cover a lot of fluff first to actually get to the plot of the movie. As they land in Vulgaria, Caractacus, Truly, and the kiddos find themselves in this quaint-looking little village. There’s no sign of any civilization, and there certainly isn’t sign of Grandpa Potts and the giant, evil blimp. Confused and probably freaking the fuck out, the quartet is taken in by a toymaker, who spills the piping tea on the magical land of Vulgaria. Essentially, it is illegal for children to be in Vulgaria, and if any are detected, the Baroness Bomburst will abhor and imprison them. All the remaining children are hiding underground in tunnels and safety camps, where the kind-hearted toymaker goes to bring them food and clothes.

A shunned population of people, hiding from the government in underground camps and tunnels…interesting. Oh, did I mention that everyone in Vulgaria speaks with a thick German accent?

Because Jeremy and Jemima are children and thus at risk for being imprisoned by Baroness Bomburst, the toy catcher hides them underneath the floor in a secret lair while Caractacus and Truly go off to find some food. Considering most of the movie so far was light-hearted and kind of goofy, this weird, anti-semitism hinting allusion comes off as quite a shocker. And it’s not just me who figured out this allusion- I’ll link some other articles about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with similar points below.

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Anyway, back in Baron Bomburst’s castle, Grandpa Potts is stressing big time because this evil tyrant thinks he is Caractacus Potts, and expects him to build a flying car. Alas, to avoid being executed, Grandpa Potts goes along with the whole weird situation but continuously bluffs his abilities. This brings us onto our next song and dance number: a group of old man prisoners singing about rising up from their terrible fate and trying to build a car that none of them know how to build. And, yet again, it’s truly a bop, and truly some movie magic filler.

Back in the village, Baron Bomburst and his raiders have seized Chitty, and this terrifying dude named the CHILD CATCHER seizes Jeremy and Jemima. Seriously, where the fuck did this guy come from?

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Yes, once Baroness Bomburst hears a whiff that there are children in the village, she sends out this terrifying dude to lure them into a trap by using the classic “hey, I have candy!” line. Sure enough, Jeremy and Jemima fall for it, and Truly Scrumptious gets to see them being snatched away in a giant cage. Surprisingly, this scene doesn’t include a musical number, though I hear Robert Helpmann is an excellent dancer.

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With Jeremy and Jemima kidnapped, and Grandpa Potts on the verge of being executed, Caractacus and Truly put their heads together and plan to secretly infiltrate the Baron’s castle. The toymaker brings them to an underground grotto, where all of the village’s remaining children are hungrily hiding together (again, with the allusions to Jews hiding from the Nazis, you might be getting the picture a little clearer now). After hanging out with the hiding children and hearing about their experiences, Caractacus declares he is going to rescue all the children and free them from the Baron. The children, in turn, agree to help him rescue his family. And rescue Chitty, for that matter.

Oh yeah, remember Chitty? The car that this entire movie is named after?

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This upcoming little tidbit is actually my favorite part in the entire movie. The toymaker sneaks Caractacus and Truly into the castle disguised as life-sized dolls, the former as a puppet, and the latter as a doll on a music box. They each perform their own little routines- Caractacus dances around does a pretty convincing job pretending to be a giant puppet, and Truly performs a lovely little song as a doll spinning on the music box. If you watch interviews with Sally Ann Howes, you know that this scene was incredibly difficult and required a lot of concentration on her part to remain robot-like at all times. Somehow, she managed to pull it off in one take, which makes the scene even more magical. You really see the chemistry between Caractacus and Truly go as well, especially when he starts singing about how much he loves her in sync with her music box song. It’s hard to describe, but if you watch the scene, it makes more sense and it’s extremely adorable.

After charming Baron Bomburst into thinking he’s a puppet, Caractacus pulls a wild one and attaches the Baron to a giant pulley hook when he’s not looking. And so, while Baron Bomburst is flying around in the air attached to a giant rope, hundreds of children infiltrate the castle and wreak havoc. They capture the Baron and the Baroness, and the child catcher, and the evil tyranny of Vulgaria appears to be over now. With Chitty Chitty Bang Bang back in their hands, Caractacus, Truly, Jeremy, and Jemima begin the long flight home.

In the next scene, we’re back on the beach in England, and Caractacus is finishing his story. Oh yeah, remember that 75% of this film is a fictional story being told on a beach?

As Caractacus drops Truly off at the Scrumptious Manor, she asks him if he could envision the two of them having a future together. Then Caractacus kind of fucks up and says nah, probably not, and Truly basically accuses him of being a snobby loser.

Later, when Caractacus arrives home with his children, he discovers that Lord Scrumptious (Truly’s dad) is waiting for him with news that he wants to buy the Toot Sweets, and use them as…dog treats.

Nonetheless, Caractacus and his family are ecstatic with the news that they’re now super rich. Caractacus runs off to tell Truly the news, and apologizes for being a dick, and then…he asks her to marry him!

Aww. But didn’t they just meet, like, yesterday?

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The film closes with Caractacus and Truly riding off in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, who takes off into the air again. As the car rides off into the sunset, Caractacus discusses the importance of pragmatism, and the movie ends.

So! Here’s my general analysis of the movie, which I’ll try my best to keep short and sweet. I think the overall theme of the movie is pretty innocent and enthusiastic: an energetic, quirky family musical, about a flying car and a wild adventure. On the surface, it is a pretty tame movie. But beyond that, if you analyze the subplot, there is a deeper meaning. At least, in my (and my other) opinions, there is.

Allegedly, though I haven’t found proof of this, Chitty screenplay writer Roald Dahl was supposedly anti-jew. I read another article about this issue, published on a Tumblr page called “Sometimes I lie awake at night…”. I can’t find an author name, but I’ll link the article at the bottom of the page. One of the most interesting paragraphs goes as so…

“Ian Fleming wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with the fascist militarism of Prussia and Nazi Germany in mind. Vulgaria’s elite are characterized by overwrought Germanic stereotypes – the accents and costuming gives it away. Having children is illegal in Vulgaria. Cognizant of that terrible policy, the lederhosen-wearing parents that we encounter in Vulgaria hide their children in a subterranean cave and the toymaker helps hide Jeremy and Jemima knowing full well the Child Catcher will do anything to root any children out. Some of the language the Child Catcher uses refers to certain pests and equates the children to these savage, animalistic terms. The Child Catcher and his de facto Gestapo are a force even the adults fear with all of their funny moustaches and comically crooked noses. The Holocaust-tinged allegory is too obvious to ignore. All of this history will easily escape children but, for adults, it comes off as the most sanitized treatment of such horrific issues. Co-screenwriters Roald Dahl (yes, that Roald Dahl) and director Ken Hughes preserved Fleming’s metaphors and illustrations. Again, keep in mind who this film is intended for.”

The Child Catcher does indeed have a quote alluding to Jews hiding to escape the Nazis. In the scene before he takes Jeremy and Jemima, he says to the toymaker, “You have to know where to look. Like cockroaches, they get under the floors, in the cracks in the walls, in the woodwork…” If that’s not a Holocaust metaphor, I don’t know what is.

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Furthermore, when the Child Catcher introduces a caged Jeremy and Jemima to the Baron, he describes them as “Unique Specimens.”

Although the toymaker is unable to protect Jeremy and Jemima, he is definitely something of a hero- hiding all the abandoned village children in underground cellars and grottos. It’s definitely an interesting plot point, but I find it somewhat distasteful that the writers decided to weave an anti-semitic allusion into a family. It’s just a little weird to me.

Besides that, however, I really do enjoy this movie. And maybe that is because I grew up on the film and it forever holds a soft spot in my heart. And though I’ve hammered on and on about the odd themes in the movie, it is just a family film on the surface. It’s one I continue to find intriguing, interesting, and forever classic. 8/10 from me!

Further reading and sources:

Movie trivia about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:

Picture Credits:

(And LOTS of YouTube screenshots)

Coming up next: Winter Reading List: What I’m Reading Right Now

The chances are, you’ve probably seen a picture of a corset at some point in your life. They were an integral part in women’s fashion, for both aesthetic and “medical” purposes, and have remained relevant for four hundred years. That being said, most modern-corset wearers aren’t using the corset for medical purposes; instead, it’s most often used to give its wearer a desired, hourglass shape.

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The widespread use of the corset started in the 1550s, when the wife of King Henry II of France enforced a ban on thick waists. After that, for better or for worse, corsets essentially became part of the woman anatomy. It was the primary means of support for a woman, serving similar benefits to that of a medieval…bra? Slouching wasn’t an option when you had a whalebone laced against your spine, that’s for sure. Some women’s corsets were bound so tightly, they could only breathe through the top of their lungs, causing the bottom part to fill with mucus. How lovely!

As the corset evolved throughout the 17th and 18th century, subtle changes started to develop in the structure of the corset. What started out as a simple bodice became a cylinder-shaped, laced-up corset with extra boning and support added to the bust. It sounds absolutely painful, and that’s because it was. Women in the 19th century were even expected to wear “maternity corsets,” which hid the appearance of pregnancy. Tragically, this often lead to miscarriage, as the restrictive nature of the corset could easily damage the growing fetus.

While the corset has been celebrated for embracing the womanly figure and offering support for the torso and bust, I think it also offers a darker look into society’s outlook on femininity. The womanly figure, especially during the natural and unavoidable changes during pregnancy, were essentially scorned and nervously hidden, as if there was something wrong with going through motherly changes as a woman.

By the time the 1920s hit, corsets quickly fell from fashion and were replaced with girdles and elastic brassieres. This new style offered more comfort and flexibility to women, and also gave ladies a new silhouette that had not been widely seen before in the US. Though there was a brief revival of the corset in the 1940s and 1950s, girdles had forever taken over the scene. I mean, who doesn’t love that pointy-breast glory?

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The greatest movement of corset/undergarment liberation came in 1968, when at the feminist Miss America protest, women threw their bras into a “Freedom Trash Can.” Corsets were included in this protest, which ladies referred to as “instruments of female torture.”

Periodically, corsets continue to make comebacks in modern times, though mostly they are used for historical costumes, fetishes, and in the gothic subculture. Whatever your view on corsetry may be, it’s undeniable that the garment has created a long-lasting impact on culture, fashion, and feminism.


Picture sources: Wikipedia, 

Coming up next: My Favorite Winter Recipes