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Off-Screen Style: The Notebook

The Notebook may well be my favorite overly sentimental love story on the big screen. Not only is it the ingress of Ryan Gosling as a millennial heartthrob, but when I first saw it in the theater at age sixteen, my romantic heart was just as swept away by the impeccable costume design and interpretations of 1940s fashion.

Sure, the plot is nothing new—poor boy falls in love with the wealthy girl, then the pair is separated by social circumstance. Their love conquers the odds through a never-ending pursuit—and it's schmaltzy to a fault. Still, I dreamt then (and, honestly, still dream now) of Rachel McAdams’ tidy ensembles and secretly wished I lived during the era of A-line midi-skirts and peep-toe shoes. With so many great retro-inspired pieces on the racks today, there’s nothing stopping us from bringing it back!

To make these lovely ensembles work for you, look for more traditional feminine silhouettes and modernize with on-trend accessories and colors. Be sure to finish with a peep-toe wedge—whether espadrille, T-Strap, or pump—in true homage to McAdams' character Allie Hamilton.


A modernized take on Allie's famous rowboat-scene button-down blue dress, this boho embroidered denim number from Madewell is a darling alternative. Keep pearl accessories in line with the more casual feel by trying chandelier earrings and stacked eclectic bangles. You also can't go wrong with a standard, strappy cork wedge in white!


1. Lucky Brand / 2. Madewell / 3. Asos / 4. DSW


Dancing in the street and talking about dreams . . . this heartwarming picture is perfect, as are Allie's burgundy wedges. Seychelles' remarkably similar suede peep-toes are a statement for all seasons! Spruce the high-waisted midi-skirt with a peplum tank and highlight your figure with a vintage-inspired belt. A statement collar necklace tops it off and keeps the overly old-school feel at bay.


1. Express / 2. H&M / 3. Oasis / 4. ModCloth / 5. Seychelles


Wearing a full-on green chartreuse frock is bold—real bold. While ModCloth's popular green number is more of a direct take on the vintage style, you can keep it fresh with a yellow color block wedge and wicker J.Crew clutch plus a playful pop from daisy earrings!


1. J.Crew  / 2. H&M  / 3. ModCloth  / 4. Sole Society


While it's nearly impossible to replicate Allie's two-piece maroon plaid swimmer, we found the high waist, sweetheart neckline, and halter tie in this blue Topshop gingham suit. Throw on a pastel oxford as a beach cover-up and keep your hair back with a retro wire headband—we dare you to sport a super-chic bow in the front!


1. Forever 21 / 2. Gap, similar one here. / 3. Topshop / 4. Mango / 5. TOMS