Fashion in Film Blogathon-The Tender Trap (1955) a Debbie Reynolds and Frank Sinatra Comedy

This is the story of a playboy and his many well-dressed loves. The women who trot through his revolving door are successful New York City professionals who dress to the nines.

In The Tender Trap (1955), Charlie (Frank Sinatra) is a womanizer - a very annoying character. His best friend asks one of the girlfriends, “Why do you put up with this?”  That’s what I’d like to know!

The story tries seriously (by Hollywood standards) to tackle the issues of dating arrangements and marriage options, but who are we kidding? This is mostly a frothy comedy. MGM is not about to let these people move around without creating a fashion show by Helen Rose.

The ladies are a series of movie "types" - the passionate one, the southern belle, the stoic/inscrutable one, the ingenue, the care-worn "spinster." They don't go much deeper than that. It's mostly about the clothes.

Let's get to it.

Then comes the crises. The characters, for various reasons, no longer enjoy their arrangements.

Wardrobe for the men is a plot point from time to time.

This is a contribution to The Hollywood Revue's Fashion in Film BlogaTHON. Click here for more information.


  1. Love how you zeroed in on the *innocence* of Debbie's/Julie's wardrobe. She's almost childlike compared to the others. And thanks for pointing out that when Carolyn Jones finally uses her sleeves as the Lord intended, she means business. I love that kind of detail. Great post.

    Here's my take on Travilla and Valley of the Dolls.

  2. Loved your spot-light on fashion in the film, The Tender Trap. I think that ladies of that era wore washed out colors to show sophistication..

    Also, have you ever noticed how wonderful grays, beige, black and white looked amazing when worn with their furs?

  3. The Gal Herself - I appreciate your comments. I certainly will check out your post.

    Dawn Sample - You're right the neutrals look good with furs. Fur is a dramatic statement and doesn't need much else going on when you're wearing it.

  4. Debbie always looks lovely in her film outfits, and I remember quickly the Good Morning number dress in Singin' in the Rain. I'd wear any of her dresses in Tender Trap, and I'd love to have clothes matching my bed and curtains!
    It's also very cool to see Carolyn Jones out of her Adams Family work.
    Thanks for the comment!

  5. I love the idea of the attention to detail that went into all of the outfits whether you were out on a date or walking a dog. Helen Rose was a keeper, and so is your article.

  6. This was a great choice for the blogathon! Even those not-so-special 50s films were given the royal fashion treatment by the Hollywood studios. Everything looks so chic and stylish. Great job!

  7. You know who Jessica's turtleneck/head scarf/cocktail dress outfit reminds me of? Little Edie Beale. That outfit looks like something she would have worn.

    Your commentary is awesome! Thank you so much for participating in my blogathon!

  8. Enjoyed your look at the outfits worn by the different characters, as well as your commentary! Good stuff!

  9. I've always thought Debbie looked like Frank's daughter in this one - it's all about the ponytail and her clothes. Not to mention her persona. Enjoyed your tour of the women and their clothes - and the plot - of "The Tender Trap."

  10. While Debbie Reynolds has some very cute outfits, I think Celeste Holms has the best wardrobe in this one.
    Jessica's outfits are all....what???? lol. None are very cute
    And I must say for some reason I LOVE those noisy, multiple, clangy bracelets in films. I've always wanted to make a ruckus with wrist wear.

  11. I am SO glad you included this movie! I saw it for the first time a few months ago and I couldn't concentrate on the plot at all because I was so busy studying the wardrobe.

    As far as Jessica's Outfit #2... I'm with you. What IS the deal?

  12. Just caught up with this posting after seeing the film - some great observations here! Totally agree about the oddness of the sweater under a cocktail dress, and it's also interesting that 'blue' is the colour of marriage here. The interior design of the fabulous apartment is also amazing - I have to laugh when one of the random girlfriends claims the room is messy!

    1. 1950s comedies about sophisticates in the city always have great apartments. Charlie's couch is a fabulous, must-have item.

      In Designing Woman, Lauren Bacall has a similar apartment.
      Thanks for dropping by.

    2. And thank you, Judy, for recommending my blog.


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