Another Mogambo Reference

Recognizing that there is some difference of opinion between me and my readers in the Commonwealth nations about what “khaki” is — is it a color, a fabric, or a feeling you get deep down inside? — I think we can all agree that The Directrice cannot resist a khaki dress.

And that the discovery, purchase or wearing of a khaki dress usually prompts a reference to Karen Blixen/Isek Dinesen/Out of Africa or Mogambo or both/all/every!
Check out my Mogambo dress.*
Khaki is a feeling you get deep down inside

It may show itself to us in the form of color, texture, or style
But trust me: I know it when I see it

Here is where I would ordinarily say something like, “The beauty of this dress is its versatility” but that’s not true here.
This dress has far too much going on to be versatile: shirred yoke, graphic buttons, gusseted pockets, french cuffs. There are only two ways to wear this dress: with a belt and without. This dress can bear no jewelry, no scarves, no layering under or on top, no distinctive footwear.
Fortunately, this dress doesn’t need to be versatile because it is very charming exactly as it presents on first glance.
So Blixen!

Chocolate-covered almonds in right pocket, guinea pig in left; is not to put them in same pocket
Let’s take a moment to focus on the versatility-denying details.
These over-sized pockets expand. Think of the treasures I could carry in them: a trade-sized paperback novel, a guinea pig, a bag of Dove chocolate-covered almonds.** What else?

I feel, quite strongly, that this dress requires a substantial belt and that the belt should be black. I tried the Kick-a$$ belt, but liked this two-headed number better.
You’ve seen this belt before, more than once

We’re darting around here. Next up: the cuffs! These cuffs are more like bands around the wrists.
Atypical cuffs

A little gentle fraying
Zipping back up, the yoke features French seaming, which is shirred and unfinished.

I bought this dress in an end-of-year sale, marked down roughly 65 percent — which was necessary (from my perspective) to subsidize some alterations.
I had sleeves re-set at my natural shoulder (they were dropped) and had Fatima shorten the overall length by adding a seam at the waist (rather than simple hemming the dress).
Atypical alterations

For those who care, a quick look at the accessories: ankle boots and a glossy black bag.
Big bag
Granny boots

Dress: Rejina Pyo; Belt: Maison Margiela 11 from YOOX; Bag: Orla Kiely; Shoes: 8 from YOOX
* In trying to find some contemporary commentary on Mogambo, I ran across an article comparing it to Red Dust, a film with a similar plot also starring Clark Gable. My general takeaway is that Red Dust is the better film (even though the reviewer noted that Clark Gable shouts all of his lines for the first half of the film) but that Mogambo is the less offensive in its portrayal of the local population. Note that I said less offensive not inoffensive. I doubt I’ll watch Mogambo again — once, 30 years ago was enough, but I did watch Singing in the Rain last weekend and was as delighted as ever to do so. My favorite line in this watching was “Believe me, I don’t like her half as much as I hate you, you reptile.”
** I have worn larger pockets. Once.

7 thoughts on “Another Mogambo Reference”

  1. This whole ensemble is PERFECT. You say “There are only two ways to wear this dress: with a belt and without” but you have chosen the ideal belt and shoes to pair with it (I especially like the shoes! The combinations, is, as you have said, Very Effective.

    • Came back because on Netflix’ Queer Eye last night, the fashion guy (Karamo) was wearing the same weight securing system belt that you have! I got really excited. My husband was baffled why I was so worked up. šŸ™‚

  2. This dress and shoes stir the imagination and conjure up new text if you were writing a novel and had writer’s block. Just the perfect outfit for bringing character to life in an instant. You wear this so well.

  3. If you do decide to use the pockets for chocolates, don’t do as I once did and leave one inadvertently uneaten. I know you think that would never happen with a good chocolate so close to hand, but I did it once and the dry cleaner held it against me for months. They had to re-do an entire machine load as all the items came out covered in chocolate. Really they should have checked all the pockets, but they admitted they aren’t used to women’s dresses having pockets. Too bad really ,as you note, pockets are so very awesome.

  4. I do not know this “Mogambo” of which you speak, but I adore “Singing in the Rain”. This dress is quite attractive, and the French seaming along the bust with the gathering makes a sort-of bustier effect.

  5. Kismet – I saw “Out of Africa” only 2 days ago and sighed to myself wishing I had a closet full of safari clothing. This dress fits the bill perfectly!

  6. Kittens.
    You could stuff a kindle of kittens in those pockets. Not that I am advocating kitten stuffing. Not at all. I wish I had a kindle of kittens. Imagine the delights to be had!

    The dress is charming, and Iā€™m glad to be able to examine its manifold charms up close, since I did not do so when we met. I was then, and remain, very taken by the boots.


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