June 18, 2015

Age of Adaline's Clock-Stopping Style


In The Age of Adaline, Oscar winning Costume designer, Angus Strathie, used both vintage and haute couture  fashion to dress Blake Lively for  her incredible journey through the Twentieth Century--and beyond.

 Poster showing Adaline through the decades.

The movie begins in 1972. A library archivist is assigned a box of film reels depicting the history of the San Francisco Bay area. One of these tells the story of Adaline Bowman, born in 1908.

Ombre striped turtleneck by Gucci


In 1925, while walking with her mother, Adaline meets a young engineer who gallantly retrieves her hat, blown away by San Francisco Bay breezes.

Late 1920s chic worn by Adaline and her mother

Adaline and the  dashing engineer are married in 1931 with all the  elegance of a traditional ceremony.

Beautiful bridal wear circa 1931

And, soon after, have a bouncing baby daughter.

Early 1930s fashions and headgear


One night, in the late 1930s, while driving on the Pacific Coast Highway, Adaline's car plummets into the ocean during a freak snowstorm. Although she survives, the accident has bizarre consequences. Adaline stops aging and will remain 29 years old--seemingly forever.

Blake Lively on the set, wearing a Vintage sweater and skirt

Widowed,  and with a young daughter, Adaline's life continues fairly normally through the World War II years.

Post-war celebrations--and first glimpse of a burgundy velvet gown...

Fortunately, shrewd investments in a fledgling company named Xerox  will secure Adaline's financial future.

Blake Lively as Adaline investing at the Bank c. 1940s

By the early 1950s, Adaline's never-aging face and body begin to draw attention from old friends.

Adaline and her daughter, looking like sisters:  1950s

When a routine traffic check by the police draws attention to the fact that she is forty-nine years old, Adaline begins to panic.

Adaline in 1950s hair and makeup.

A year of personal research at a medical college library garners no explanation of--or solutions to--Adaline's condition.

Geometric gray and white sweater with slim black pants

After being detained by FBI Agents and escaping from their custody, Adaline realizes she will be forced to run and change her identity regularly.

Stylish in her rain gear--Adaline has a close call with the Feds in the mid-1950s


In 1963, Adaline meets a young medical student in Europe.  They fall in love but she can neither commit to him nor explain the reason why.

Pre 'mad mod' 1960s casual wear on both Adaline and William (Anthony Ingruber)

You guessed it!  The library archivist is Adaline herself. What better job and place of employment in which to maintain a low profile?

Pretty ombre striped turtleneck by Gucci

Living in Chinatown has its perks:  anonymity; crowds in which to lose oneself and skilled forgers to whip up those ever-changing Identity cards.

Topped with the de rigeur 1970s Earth-toned coat and accessories

Adaline is still close to her daughter (Ellen Burstyn), and tries to talk her out of moving into an Assisted Living facility.

Ellen Burstyn and Blake Lively in Gucci

This way, they can continue to spend more time together. (Please to ignore the cell phone--it's only the 1980s).

Adaline in olive, charcoal and black Gucci ensemble

The 1990s pass quietly:  studying Braille on the Library steps...

Kate Spade cardigan and Gucci printed dress

lunching with her daughter...

Gucci tweed suit accessorized with ear bobs and pretty flower brooch

...and spending quality time with her pooch.


Flash forward to the present. It's New Years Eve and yet another birthday looms for Adaline.

For the evening's festivities she chooses a backless burgundy velvet gown with black sequined waistline detail. 

Adaline arrives in a burgundy evening gown

Hmmm.  Methinks we've seen this dress before. Back in the 1940s when the war ended.  How it lasted so many decades is puzzling.  Great looking gown, though.

Closer view of the NYE dress

Adaline sees a historic photo of herself and a couple of soldier boys, on the wall of the hotel--wearing the selfsame burgundy velvet number. Time to go home.

A truly great dress looks as good leaving as it does entering

As Adaline steps into the elevator to leave, a handsome young man joins her, just for the ride down.

Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) chats up our girl in the Art Deco elevator

This great looking guy just won't take "No" for an answer. Why is life so difficult?

Waiting for a taxi in a fabulously flared Gucci coat

Pure style--his and hers: exquisitely tailored greatcoat from Gucci offset by navy three-piece suit

Ah c'mon Adaline!  This one has it all. Grab another Gucci out of that enormous closet and give him a chance.

Blake Lively in a gorgeous border print coat

Ellis Jones even tells really bad jokes.  On the condition that if you laugh, you're promising to see him again.

What will become of our star-crossed lovers?  Ellis will take Adaline to meet his parents.  She will discover that a long lost astronomer named a Comet after her.  How do you follow an act like that?  Hang in there, Ellis! It will be dicey, but you may stand a chance yet...

Blake Lively in pure gold from Gucci

Ah Adaline.  We've come so far together, and, you look marvelous for 107!
Since film, fashion & frivolity reveals no endings--see the movie.  It's definitely worth a look.  The makeup and hairdos for each decade are both accurate and spectacular; the Gucci gear elegant; and...there's a generation defying love story to top it all off.



  1. Wow - what a great job you did bringing us along with Adeline though the years. Every decade was a knockout. There has to be an Oscar nomination for costume design here, no?

    1. Thanks! I love 20th Century costume and fashion. Oscar nod? Not sure. Depends what costume type epic is out. The voters seem to go for those.

  2. Fabulous review and summary of the fashions from the film, Inge. Blake Lively is an actor and model I've admired for her work as well as her ability to wear clothes so well. This movie seems to rise up to her level in both respects. Thank you for covering this beauty of a film.

  3. Thank you, Christian. Blake is very good in the film, and looks terrific, but it was the previews with that amazing burgundy gown that sent me running to see it. Thanks again!