I love a movie where the clothing is an integral feature, almost like another character. In the film Carol, which is set in 1952, the costumes are very much a part of the story.
The era portrayed here still looks much like the forties, very low-key and restrained. This is not the fifties people usually think of, all brightly colored and optimistic. The costumes are gorgeous and glamorous but subdued and never flashy; they’re part of an overall mood of simmering unease that permeates the film.
1952 is a transitional period in many ways, fashion included. The silhouette was moving from the wide-shouldered forties cut to the slim waist/full skirt look of the mid to late fifties. The dresses Carol wears in the film are more of a sheath style, made with a less tightly fitted waistline than later in the decade.
All of Carol’s clothing is very conservative in how little skin it exposes,nothing revealing yet supremely sensual. The character’s style is sophisticated, mature and elegant but never matronly. She wears fitted suits that are so of the moment yet in only a few years they will look overly formal and prim.
Carol wore the wardrobe of a wealthy woman: fur, gloves worn for formal daytime, modest necklines, superb jewelry.