Thanks, Maureen!

by Erin on November 9, 2006

ebay item 8305987417

Regular reader Maureen (also known as Vintage Grace) has a new book out, about that time of wandering in the wilderness known as "1970s fashions". And she gives us a shout-out in the blogliography, so thanks, Maureen!

I have to admit that, in paging through the book, there were occasions when I thought my eyeballs were going to melt away and drip down my brainstem. I mean, I love patterned fabrics, but there are patterns, and then there are seizure-triggers. Which was actually reassuring, in a way — it's nice to know that even I have limits.

The book's available here, of course, or click on the image above to check out the book's website.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Well Rounded Dresser November 9, 2006 at 6:28 pm

What a great book – the previews took me back (I graduated from high school in 1970). Can I ask some advice about what kind of dress to wear?I am 5 feet tall, with a big tummy and no waist. I’m around a size 22W. I understand I shouldnt wear baggy, but if they hug my body, my tummy is just awful. I used to wear only slacks, but I’m beginning to enjoy dresses – I tend to want long ones to cover my legs – would shorter but not too short be okay? Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.


Anonymous November 9, 2006 at 9:53 pm

I loved some of the op-art prints in the late 60’s. Blue/yellow or pink/yellow. These prints came in either tiny stripes or there were patterns with all over dots–usually very small ones all over. Those things looked like they were moving when they were sitting still!! They were the rage for bathing suits!Also in the late 60’s early 70’s they combined blue/green in some really nice looking modern paisleys that were so neat. My mom had a linen-like shift out of this stuff and when I was about 12 I’d sneak it out of her closet when she was gone and parade around in it. The queen of fashion!!


Anonymous November 10, 2006 at 6:34 am

Well-rounded dresser, I always think that empire waists are both flattering and forgiving.


sheri November 10, 2006 at 6:48 am

Say what you will about 70s fashion, but there’s no denying it was bold. And I admire that. I looked at the preview pages, and while the photo shoot styling was dated and amusing, a good number of those styles are looking awfully familiar right now.Personally, I would buy this book for inspiration!S.


Anonymous November 10, 2006 at 7:56 am

well rounder dresser, since you are 5′ tall, you are a petite. Any dress past your knee will make you look shorter and consequently wider. Go for stripes and vertical lines. Long tunics over knee skimming skirts. Just try on stuff at Lane Bryant and see what looks good on you. The duro works on just about any body type. Just remember to show off your legs!


La BellaDonna November 10, 2006 at 10:57 am

Well-rounded dresser, I’m going to echo the folks who suggested Empire styles. Do check to make certain they fit properly – the seam should always, always fit UNDER the bust, and never run across it; if the seam cuts across the bust, it’s not the right size for you. Look for one which is longer through the bust point. Be judicious in your selection, and see if you are best served by gentle gathers, and where the gathers are located; some gathers can make you look bigger than you are, and some can skim your tummy and be flattering. Try on the X-shaped Empire styles as well (the bodice front looks like an X, with the body of the skirt coming up in a point to meet the neckline, which goes down in a point; the neckline and waistline meeting form the X), with a gentle flare in the skirt and NO gathers (an X-style Empire waistline should virtually never have gathers). I will disagree with the nice folks who say “Don’t wear your skirts long!” because you’re short. In my experience, it’s better if you squint at your reflection to see if the length of the dress turns your body into a square – that is, if the proportions are such that your silhouette winds up looking as wide as it is long. That is a bad, bad silhouette! However great your legs are, you don’t want to be a square-shape. It would be better to have a longer skirt, in that case, so that your silhouette is more of a rectangle than a square (this has nothing to do with how curvy you are; this is just in terms of proportion- your body should look long, not blocky). You can get a long effect by wearing boots with the dress, or tights and shoes that match each other (and the dress, but that’s not necessary); you can show your legs with slits in a longer skirt.I saw Roseanne Barr on TV the other night, and she looked fabulous. She wore what looked for all the world like a peacock blue brocade robe; it had a diagonal wrap neckline, and was sashed right under the bust. It opened straight down the side, giving a strong vertical line, and had kimono-style sleeves, and she looked fabulous. The brocaded fabric had some body to it; it wasn’t clinging, but it wasn’t cut like a tent, either. She didn’t look small, or thin, but she looked great.Now. Something a lot of people would hesitate to suggest, but … I’m going to. For all those ladies who are more “apple” shaped than anything else, there is one type of place that does cater to your figure type.Yes. Maternity wear. GOOD maternity wear. Please understand, I’m not trying to be insulting, or hurt anyone’s feelings, but good maternity designs are SHAPED to fit a woman whose tummy is the most prominent part of her body. No other line of clothing is specifically designed to flatter that shape. There is nothing wrong or shameful about finding clothes that fit and flatter, wherever you may find them. One thing I will NOT recommend to you is Spanx, or other garments of that ilk. IMO, the attendant discomfort is not worth the possible – what? One inch? two inches? – that you might be reduced by squashing. Be wary of clingy fabrics, such as the ultra-lightweight knits; make sure that your clothes fit you really well through the shoulders and the bust. One feature you can look for is strong diagonals across the body, as well.If you look through Art History books, you will see shapes very similar to yours in the 15th Century; if you can find copies of the different Books of Hours, you will see ladies in a garment known as a “houppelande,” a robe with long sweeping lines, often belted high under the bust, which was certainly designed to cover a wide tummy. A lot of Italian Renaissance, and 16th Century German dresses, do the same thing. French and English dresses circa 1625 were also full and high-waisted. (One thing to bear in mind is that most married adult women in those paintings were probably pregnant; a lot of folks don’t think about it, or realize it, but consider – their clothes had to be able, generally, to conceal an expanding belly. It’s one reason why so many different eras of historical clothing are generally flattering to women with varied shapes, including those who are wide through the hips and/or belly.)To other ladies who have posted requests for their body types, I promise to respond over the weekend!


Well Rounded Dresser November 10, 2006 at 11:43 am

What a beautiful, generous, and gracious response. Thank you from the bottom of my round heart!


vespabelle November 10, 2006 at 12:24 pm

The dress on the cover looks a LOT like a 1960s Marimekko dress that I was reading about last night. There’s another Marimekko that is half the dress above but with the “Duro” neckline. I am drawn to these outrageous 70s prints but when I get them home I realize “there is no way in hell I can wear an orange/purple/mint green paisly swirl plaid check poly!”LaBella, I’ve seen women with small breasts wearing empire waist tops that cut across their boobs. WHY! IThat’s just a bad design which should be left to rot on the clearance rack!


La BellaDonna November 10, 2006 at 1:25 pm

Well-rounded dresser, you are welcome! Remember two things: (1) We are all of us entitled to wear beautiful fabrics that we love – whatever they may be; (2) The larger we are, the MORE we owe it to ourselves to wear beautiful fabrics, because there will be more of it!Vespabelle, I’ve seen the same thing myself! It’s one thing when the small-busted find Empire tops that are wrinkly, because they’re too big, but when the seam cuts across the bust – that’s lazy AND delusional: “I can get into this tiny, tiny top.” Dear ladies, remember, just because you can get into it, doesn’t mean it fits you. And just because it fits you doesn’t mean it suits you! One of the secrets to dressing well is to put it back on the rack when it isn’t quite right. Yes, I’m a bit bitter – I just put back the most fabulous coat in my favorite secondhand shop. It was a Louis Feraud (big deal Parisian designer!) coat in scarlet wool, with a high collar and cuffs lined in black velvet, and the coat itself was lined in black brocaded paisley silk. It had gold buttons, and a beautiful, beautiful drape, and yes, I could get into it, and button it easily. And it was affordable! Not too high at all! But … iit looked like hell on me. Not from the front! It was very dramatic and flattering. And it looked good from the back. But from the side … holy Hannah, it looked awful. Some little-known figure truths: a strong hourglass figure is the most limiting figure type of all. All clothing has to be cut for that shape; there’s no disguising it, unless your aim is to create a big bulky bundle. I looked like a zeppelin, because it skated straight off my bosom and awaaaay! It would have been far more becoming on Well-rounded Dresser, because her body type would have caused the flare to start out much lower on the body, where it was designed to start, or on a woman with a strong pear shape, or even someone who was very heavy all over. But it looked really, really bad on me. Bad enough that I couldn’t even fib to myself, which I was more than willing to do. :(


nobody November 10, 2006 at 3:08 pm

I would kill for shoes like the ones pictured on her website.


grace November 10, 2006 at 7:07 pm

Looks like a great read. I’m definietly goint to put that on my Christmas wish list.I had a caftan almost exactly like the one on the cover, even same colors. Gave it to my 20-something daughter about a year ago. She loves it.


nora November 10, 2006 at 11:05 pm

La Belladonna, I feel your pain! I have a more-or-less (i.e. aging) hourglass shape, and anything that’s not fitted to it makes me feel as sexy as a sack of potatoes (and things that ARE fitted to it often feel TOO sexy, depending on the circs). I think that’s why I love the older, fitted-midriff styles our dear Erin often posts; they’re fitted where I need them to be, and not too revealing elsewhere. I’m a fan of empire waists, too (though for me they usually still need to be fitted through the midriff).Good advice on maternity clothes, too; I see such cute ones around now! And secondhand, too (I think they tend to be more expensive when new?)


jenny November 10, 2006 at 11:22 pm

This book looks like fashion’s version of James Lileks’ Interior Desecrations. His book made me laugh so hard I wept, and nearly wetted myself to boot. I’d read a passage aloud to my family and start to snort and hee-haw so much that by the second paragraph I couldn’t even speak.


Maureen November 11, 2006 at 1:19 pm

Thanks so much for the mention Erin. It’s always greatly appreciated. And you are very right about a couple of things: 1) I am a very faithful reader of Dress A Day. It’s one of my long time favorites!2) 70s Fashion Fiascos can, and will, melt your eyeballs if not handled with care! But I love each and every one of the outfits in the book. I started with selecting over 320+ of them and then had to weed my way down 😉 My eyeballs were melting too!!Someone mentioned that a lot of the styles are being worn today. I absolutely agree. When the publisher first approached me to write the book the 70s crazy was not quite the frenzy of activity it is today. But I am thrilled to see such interest in the clothing and styles. The 60s and 70s are my favorite eras. I guess that comes from growing up in them! I would die to have any of those women’s outfits that are in the book!And a side note to “well rounded dresser.” You got some really great advice from the other readers!! I’d also like to recommend you check out a vintage seller called Elisa’s Bounteous House of Style. She specializes in finding larger size vintage clothing and could be a great resource for you!! again Erin! ~Maureen


Mad Fashionista November 11, 2006 at 3:41 pm

LaBelladonna, I feel your pain. I myself am the possessor of a Rubenesque figure, and so many things do not fit properly. Perhaps if I had less bust, or more waist. My additional problem (which is really not a problem, given how fabulous I am) is that I am tall. So the waist of many vintage dresses often look unintentionally Empire. I’m not about to accessorize a woman as modish as moi in patent leather Mary Janes and lace anklets!And the book is a marvelous read, I must say. Even if polyester is a foreign concept to me.


patsijean November 12, 2006 at 10:29 am

In my college years (1962-1967) I had some beautiful Vogue suit patterns, that I would love to have today. I occasionally scan some eBay sites in case someone has them up for sale. I also had some great shirt and pants patterns in the 1970’s that I’d love to have right now. I thought the fabrics were great, well not all of them, but there were some creative gems. It’s best to forget the bell-bottoms of my college years (tight, yellow with large orange flowers).


Gidget Bananas November 12, 2006 at 1:58 pm

The trapeze shape (fitted around the shoulders, A-line from underarm to hem) is back in style, and that shape ought to suit Well-rounded dresser as well. The secret to wearing a trapeze, imo, is to make sure it does fit well on the shoulders and that it’s not too full.


Well Rounded Dresser November 12, 2006 at 7:27 pm

My mom made me a tent dress when I was around 15, and a matching one for my 4 year old sister. They were light blue cotton, short summer dresses. They look kind of like this:


Sydneys Vintage Clothing November 15, 2006 at 6:59 pm

Oh, so here is all of the talk about this book. I am hearing terrific things about it. I must admit, I do not have a copy YET, but I will have to have one soon! Ummmm, I wonder does she talk about the petite? Yep, I am petite for those of you on the web that can’t see me. Off to check out a copy…


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