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Great Outfits in Fashion History: Josephine Baker in a Glam Dress With a Bunch of Cookies

Listen, if you're an iconic entertainer, anti-Nazi spy and Civil Rights figure, you're allowed to carry pastries as an accessory.
Josephine Baker in an undated photo.

Josephine Baker in an undated photo.

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In 'Great Outfits in Fashion History,' Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

Josephine Baker might be better known for her banana skirt than anything else she ever wore. But the truth is that the iconic figure — who was a vaudeville entertainer turned anti-Nazi spy turned Civil Rights speaker in the 20th century — had great style beyond what's commonly remembered. 

One of her best looks comes by way of an undated black-and-white film photo estimated to be taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. In it, Baker is depicted wearing a dress with a full, flowing pleated skirt made of a diaphanous material with a lacy print. The dress was nipped at the waist to create a bold silhouette. Meanwhile, the top featured a high-cut neck with a slit and plenty of embellishment in the form of sequins and beads in a flower shape. To finish off the look, Baker added some bold jewelry and her signature false eyelashes.

That's not to mention her final accessory, which appears to be a glass full of... cookies? Baked goods? While a little more context on the photo would be helpful in understanding why she's posed in a fancy dress with a bunch of what appear to be sweet treats, it's also kind of delightful to just let history obscure any facts that might try to make her cookies-as-accessory look seem more mundane. 

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This is, after all, the woman who kept a pet cheetah at her home, used sexy dances to spy on Nazis and took a ride in an ostrich-drawn carriage. Maybe there was a reason for toting sweets around in the most glam of dresses, but also maybe she was just being Josephine Baker.

Josephine Baker circa 1920 in an ostrich-drawn carriage, or racing "sulky."

Josephine Baker circa 1920 in an ostrich-drawn carriage, or racing "sulky."

As for us, we're all in on the idea of carrying baked goods with fancy outfits as a chic and bewildering-to-others accessory. Check out a few more items that will help you emulate Baker's glamorous whimsy in the gallery below, whether you're drawn to sheer fabrics, pleats or big floral details.

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