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Working-class (fashion) heroine



Carole Lombard may look a bit upset here in this scene from "Hands Across The Table," but the outfit she is wearing drew plenty of smiles from both working women and apparel manufacturers.

From G.D. Hamann's research, here's a news tidbit from the Aug. 5, 1935 Los Angeles Evening Herald-Express, specifically Harrison Carroll's column:

"Our movie designers are at last giving working woman a style break. Carole Lombard plays a manicurist in 'Hands Across The Table,' and her clothes are going to be smart but not out of reason for a girl at a moderate salary. Travis Banton promises that any costume in the picture can be authentically duplicated for about $25, hat and shoes included. Everything is going to be specially designed too, and just as carefully as the elaborate gowns for Carole's society-girl roles."

"Hands Across The Table" was released that October. More than a year later, Carroll reported:

"Remember Carole Lombard's trim uniform as the manicurist in 'Hands Across The Table'? An eastern manufacturer decided to copy it and has just wired designer Travis Banton that 144,000 outfits have been sold. He makes them up in washable gray pique trimmed in white. Short flaring sleeves, flaring collar and a heightened bust-line give the uniform the sex appeal that the old white ones didn't have."

So for decades, manicurists, cosmetologists and others in similar professions could thank Lombard (and Banton) for giving them an extra dash of style in the workplace.
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