Friday, August 15, 2014

She Dresses for Men, Likes Slacks and Spends $10,000: Slim Hawks

When I was writing the post on Lauren Bacall, it got me me remembering Slim (Hawks) Keith.  She was my first Style Icon crush - it was a combination of her chunky blonde streak (I eventually brought a photo of Slim Keith into Brad Johns and asked him to do it in my hair in the mid 90s), her amazing and sure sense of style, her marriage to Howard Hawks, her friendship with Hemingway and her book, Slim: Memories of a Rich and Imperfect Life.  You can still buy the book here.

Slim Hawks was voted best dressed woman in 1946 and here is what she had to say to LIFE magazine about it...

After two weeks as America's best dressed woman, "Slim" Hawks says wearily, "Now I have to be fixed up all of the time.  It will probably force me into a life of seclusion; I may go to Honolulu, rent a few palm fronds and never be seen again."

This proposal would probably save Mr. Hawks some $10,000 a year in clothes allowance, not counting jewelry and furs and her maid's salary. At the moment, Slim's glass-door wardrobe contains considerably more than two palm fronds:

9 fur coats
24 suits
47 dresses
35 evening gowns
10 negligees
23 pairs of slacks
46 blouses
21 pairs of shorts
12 girdles
14 slips
35 bags
120 pairs of shoes.

Of model proportions (5ft 8 1/2") Mrs. Hawks wears from a size 12 to a 16 dress.  Her blonde hair is pulled back by a solid gold barrette she had copied from a 10 cent store model, has a bleached streak across the front which she says is "half God, half me".  She changes her clothes twice a day but unlike most women, does it in jig time.  She spends most of her time in shorts or slacks.

Mrs. Hawks has no set rules for chic but advises women to develop their own sense of style.  "If you know crab doesn't agree with you," she advises metaphorically, "just don't eat it."  Mrs. Hawks suggests: never dress for other women, dress for men, don't follow fads and always be mysterious.  Her pet hates are white fox and lucite bags, the latter because by revelaing their contents, make the observer feel like they are in a woman's bathroom.
Excerpted from LIFE magazine, 1946

For me, my style crush on Slim Keith started with this photo:

Slim Hawks.  Photo by John  Engstead, 1945

Sorry it is so small but it is the only one I could find but how great does she look?!  I love the sandals, the rolled up pant, the cigarette holder... too chic.  And so timeless too.

By the way, her $10,000 a year clothing 'allowance' is about $128,000 in today's money.  And hey!  I would like a clothing allowance too!  Is my husband listening?  Anyone?  Helloooo??!  (cue, sound of crickets... : )

Here is Slim in an Adrian dress from LIFE magazine -which she did not buy.  It was $300 ($3800 today)

I love the black jersey top with the pink silk trouser shorts...

xo, Juliana

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