You Stepped Out of a Dream: Fashions of Lana Turner

Nightclubs would play “You Stepped Out of a Dream” as she entered.

Men adored her, including actor William Powell, and showered her with gifts.

Though Lana rarely wore low cut dresses, this fuchsia gown was a favorite.

Though Lana rarely wore low cut dresses, this fuchsia gown was a favorite.

Lana Turner’s glamor, beauty and style made her one of the top film stars from the 1940s through the early 1960s.

Her fashionable presence and perfection of her appearance has left a lasting impression on classic Hollywood fans.

Before Comet has looked at Turner’s beauty regimens such as moisturizing with Nivea or exfoliating with Boraxo soap once a week.

Today we are looking at how Miss Turner dressed.

“She had a presence, style and beauty,” said her daughter Cheryl Crane in her book LANA: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies. “But she was approachable, rather than  film goddesses like Greta Garbo.” (56)

Her clothes and jewelry were her star persona that she used as a shield and felt vulnerable without them, Crane said.

“Her appearance, whether for screen, at home or in public, was always ‘camera ready,’” Crane wrote. “Make up on, hair done-no matter the time or place.” (82)

“I would rather lose a good earring than be caught without make up,” Turner said.

Turner togs:

Crane describes her mother’s lifestyle and interests in the book in detail-including her clothing.

Turner’s closet in her 1950s home was the length of half of their home complete with a platform for fittings, climate controlled closets for furs, jewelry vaults and revolving closets.

When it came to evening dresses, Turner liked form fitting gowns but rarely wore low cut dresses. She preferred wearing all white or all black for a dramatic look that complimented her skin tone and hair. (95) She also liked clean, bright colors such as yellow.

All white and black ensembles were looked dramatic with her coloring

All white and black ensembles were looked dramatic with her coloring

Lana also liked clean, bright colors such as yellow. Here she is in 1942. (182)

Lana also liked clean, bright colors such as yellow. Here she is in 1942. (182)

For professional performances Lana never wore clothing off the rack so that she wouldn’t be copied by department stores. Her casual clothing was tailored as well.

Her favorite designers were Jean Louis and Nolan Miller, later in life.

“More than often she would look at the latest issue of Harper’s Bizarre or Vogue and then put her dressmaker to work on a vision of the styles she liked,” Crane wrote. “Mother’s perfectionism caused trouble during fittings. It was not unheard of for a dressmaker to walk out because she was so detail oriented.” (96)

Lana locks:

When Lana started in Hollywood, her hair was a reddish brown. It was eventually died blond, which it stayed for most of her career. In other films like “Green Dolphin Street” (1947) and “Betrayed” (1954) her hair was brown.

Various Lana Turner hairstyles in the 1940s and 1950s

Various Lana Turner hairstyles in the 1940s and 1950s

Turner’s hairdresser, Helen Young, experimented with up-dos and wove jewels and flowers into her hair, Crane wrote (88).

“It (her hair) was long one moment, short the next,” Crane wrote. “Mother was constantly changing her hair. It was very easy to style.”

Along with jewels, Lana often adorned her head with hats- from flowered pieces to feathers, veils and Spanish influenced mantillas.

“Mom had a face that allowed her to wear any hat,” Crane wrote. (100)


Lana Turner in various hat styles in the 1930s and 1940s.

Finishing touches:

“No dress, however startling, can stand alone,” Lana said.

She coordinated jewelry with outfits and preferred colored jewels to diamonds. (104)

“Even when wearing sweats she had jewelry,” Crane wrote.

Her shoes were by Ferragamo that were designed to match gowns. (96)

When Lana liked a style of shoes, she bought it in ever color. At one point she had 698 shoes. (99)

Fashion copycats and admirers:

On the nightclub scene in a white evening gown in the 1940s.

On the nightclub scene in a white evening gown in the 1940s.

It wasn’t just men who admired Lana.

Though Ginger Rogers wrote in her autobiography that Eva Peron copied her style in the 1930s, Cheryl Crane wrote that Peron was fascinated with Lana.

“Eva Peron copied fashions and a number of unique hairstyles for which mother was known for,” Crane said. (177)

The fascination made it awkward for Turner when she visited Argentina in 1946.

“Customs seized all of her jewelry and held her up for hours,” she wrote. “She learned that every piece was photographed to be copied later.”

Another notable person fascinated with Lana was artist Salvador Dali-but he was only obsessed with the corners of her eyes, which he wanted to paint. (177)

A legend

Though Lana Turner is one of the most beautiful women in the classic age of Hollywood, she didn’t think so.

“It’s interesting that mother never thought of herself as beautiful,” Crane wrote. “To her, the great beauties were brunettes.”

Regardless of Turner’s personal opinion of herself, her fashion and beauty made her a one of Hollywood’s ethereal and beautiful stars.


“Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies” by Cheryl Crane

This is part of Fashion in Film blogathon by Hollywood Revue Blog.

Fashion in Film blogathon hosted by our friends at Hollywood Revue Blog

Fashion in Film blogathon hosted by our friends at Hollywood Revue Blog

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Actress beauty tip #21: Fashion copied from films

This is the twenty-first installment of the monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

First, I would like to apologize for not posting a beauty tip in February-it’s the only month I’ve missed a beauty tip and I don’t plan on making it a habit.

March’s beauty tip is going to focus on fashion I have copied from films. For the time being I’ve run out of regiments to test, but I’m still digging around for some.

However, fashion, hairstyles and jewelry are just as important to a film star’s beauty as how she washes her hair or face.

As many of you know, “West Side Story” (1961) is one one of my all-time favorite films. The music, the colors, the sadness, all make the movie perfect, but another thing that has drawn me to the movie are the beautiful outfits.

Who can forget the purple dress Anita wears to the dance and the white dress Maria feels makes her look like a baby? But my favorite three are the yellow dress Maria wears while singing “I Feel Pretty,” the blue dress Maria wears as she waits for Tony after the rumble and the orange dress we get a brief glimpse of Anita wearing in the dress shop when she catches Maria and Tony together.

Anita warning Maria she must be home in 15 minutes-both wearing two of my favorite outfits in "West Side Story."

I buy several vintage clothing items on Ebay that reminds me of classic films: peasant blouses, fiesta skirts, silky formals, pinafore dresses, flashy earrings.

But I rarely find anything in a contemporary clothing store that reminded me of an outfit I’ve seen in a movie. The only other time I’ve seen something similar to a film outfit was a white dress in Dress Barn that made me think of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

Then one day I was in TJMaxx and sticking out of the rack I saw a sleeveless orange dress. I immediately thought of Anita in “West Side Story” and bought it.

Bought this dress at TJMaxx because it reminded me of my favorite movie.

To review: Fashion is important to me, but particularly if it reminds me of something I’ve seen in a movie. The best places to find movie like clothing is on ebay or stores like, but sometimes you can get lucky!

UNRELATED REMINDER! Comet’s Gone Too Soon blogathon is on the 9 and 10th. Follow this link for more details and a list of who bloggers are covering- Further updates will come this week.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page for the latest updates.

Different look, same great product

“Comet Over Hollywood” has received a slight make-over. Not that I don’t love Cyd Charisse in “Party Girl,” I just felt that we needed to put on our bathing suits with Constance Bennett and dive in to summer movie fun blogging!

My mink hat on Christmas Day 2009

Cheesiness aside, Constance Bennett is an actress I really admire and try to follow. For years she was known as one of the best dressed women in Hollywood. Why was Bennett such a fashion icon? Because she wore what she liked and didn’t follow fads.

I admit she is the reason I buy a lot of the vintage clothes I own and wear. Within the past year I’ve bought: a mink hat, turban, orange 1960s cape/poncho or 1940s yellow strapless formal.

Therefore, I dedicate this blog to my fashion inspiration, Constance Bennett.

Here is a video that shows Bennett’s glamour and fashion: