Swan, Swan, Hummingbird

oxfam auction dress

Dress A Day reader jrochest let me know that if you must own a Bjork swan dress (not the one from the Oscars but a "highly superior pearl-encrusted" version from her Vespertine tour) you can do so by going here.

There are a lot of other interesting (by which I mean "largely unwearable") clothes up for auction as well, most of them at very reasonable starting bids (although all the auctions still have five-plus days to run).

The auction benefits Oxfam and, jrochest points out, "You can also buy and donate goats, camels and trees. A goat costs much less than Bjork's dress, and would certainly be more flattering on."

The picture I'm showing you (I couldn't bear to inflict the swan dress on you, and besides, it had a bad "arty" photo that was all shadow) is of another dress in the auction, described as a "sky blue hand-painted swallow print short-sleeved dress designed and donated by Belgian designer Dirk Van Saene. The dress has blue knitted collar and cuffs and button front detailing. The dress is taken from Dirk Van Saene’s Summer 2005 collection and has never been worn." Usually I am very much against hand-painted clothes, but this one is so very cute, and not at all artist-y, at least not that I can see from the picture. And it's for a very good cause …

An update, followup, whatever

liberty fabric

That's the fabric that I promised I would post, the fabric that was last Monday's dress. (Not the dress pictured, the dress described.)

The dress I made it into is this one, which I thought I had posted before, but no.

mccalls 8484

I made the one with sleeves, but without the white revers collar. I've also made this dress in pink/multicolor striped seersucker, which I bought in two separate colorways — pastel and bright. (Still haven't done anything with the bright one, but I figure around about next March it will start to call to me.)

Man, I am completely undercaffeinated today. Bear with me.

Patricia Field Has A Lot of Explaining To Do

ebay item 5424788544

There is so much wrong with this dress that I'm not sure where to start. I suppose the color is always a good place — teal is supposed to be big this year, but the teal that's big this year is more mallard, less HoJo's. The tan piping, the lumpy sleeves, the neck band, the elastic waist: all shudder-inducing.

However, what really struck me about this dress (which is for sale on eBay for ten bucks or "best offer") is that the listing describes it as "This is definitely a dress you would see Carrie wearing while roaming through the city." Now, I have been known to look in a mirror and say "is this too 'Carrie Bradshaw'?" (and if the answer is "yes," I take whatever it is off. As you might have already guessed, I identify clothing-wise with Charlotte.) but this constant invoking of her name, attaching it to every hideous sartorial excess imaginable, has Got To Stop.

Carrie would not wear this dress roaming around the city, unless the plot involved her joining the witness protection program, in which case the "city" in question would be Duluth. This is the dress equivalent of a hair scrunchie. This dress cannot exist in the same plane of reality as Mr. Big. There is not a pair of Manolos ever made that could redeem this dress. Slapping "Carrie" on it won't change the fact that this is a horror.

Of course, now that I post this, someone will find some still of Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie dressed in something exactly like this. I will maintain that it's the lost "Witness Protection" episode. Or I could just say "Hey, so I was wrong. Carrie would wear it. But YOU still shouldn't wear teal terrycloth elastic-waist dresses, okay?"

"Wear the Rainbow!"

ebay item 8305987417

"Wear the rainbow!" is what old-clothes.com (hmm, somebody needs some marketing help there on the URL, in addition to a refresher course on ROY G. BIV) exhorts us to do with this dress, and if it were a size bigger (or I were a size smaller–it's B34 W26) that's what I'd do. It's only $16!

Be sure to click through the rest of this site — there's tons and tons here, most in good condition and extremely well priced, and the pictures are good. It's a keeper.


Heim dress

I was looking for more sexy-seventies today but ran across this instead, at The Blue Gardenia. I was completely arrested by this dress. I prefer the sleeved version, myself, I'm not sure the pockets are completely functional, and I'm not buying it because it's a B32, but — this is such a great dress.

The black version is so absolutely faculty cocktail party that it should practically come packaged with an album called "Highbrow Music", a passionate martini-fueled defense of the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and an obligatory makeout session with someone else's spouse in the half-bath.

And I'm not completely sure, but I think the woman in the black dress? Over by the cheese straws? Is sizing up YOUR husband.

Oh, Mr. Halston!

ebay item 6206284004

Usually, when an auction title says "ULTRA SEXY 70s DRESS", not only do I pass it by unclicked, but I roll my eyes and possibly heave a big sigh. For an era when so many people were supposedly having so much sex, the clothes are so unerotic (to me, at least, possibly because I spent the 1970s in single digits) that one has to wonder if the whole thing is just one big urban legend. I'm not sure long prairie dresses or quiana can actually EVER be sexy. However — The Pattern Fairy, on eBay, who also has a ton of great 1950s patterns, wasn't lying. (Possibly because I bet this dress is more early-80s.) Look at this!

I think this dress is sexy because it isn't trying too hard. Sure, it's got a low neck, and a surplice effect (which always holds the promise of UNwrapping), but it's something you could wear to work. The skirt's not short, the back's not bare, and it has sleeves, even.

The only reason I'm not buying this is that it's tiny (bust 30 1/2). But it's only $10! I'll probably be looking out for it in my size. I'd like to make it in really soft Japanese geometric-print silky cotton, with an obi belt in a contrasting print …

Two Things

dress snapshot
The first thing is that I was only vaguely aware that you could go buy people's old abandoned photographs on the Internet. Which seems vaguely creepy to me, but out there somewhere a photoblogger is posting "Did you know that you can buy people's old clothes on the Internet? That seems vaguely creepy to me."

(The difference, in my opinion, is that old photographs remain part of the lives of the people who are in them, but old clothes become part of YOUR life.)

In any case, this one is captioned "1957 Gal Shows Off Dress to Beau in Kitchen." I feel a twinge of pity for both of them — like every right-thinking woman, she wants her partner to join in her enthusiasms: in this case, for this really pretty awesome dress. He, on the other hand, is thinking something like "am I going to have to remember this? Are we going to be able to get to the movie on time? Is this new or have I seen this before, and am I supposed to know?" (Come on, you know he was! It was 1957!)

I'm pretty sure that she made this dress — I've made enough dresses myself to know the look of a dress made just for an evening. It looks a little too new; I think perhaps she skimped (as I often do) on pressing seams completely flat, or on measuring the hem twice, in order to have it ready for that night.

And the other thing is now I am so tempted to make an enormous skirt with a faux rick-rack pattern! Arrgh.

it started off being about a dress, anyway

Thai Silk Dress

I really want this dress — and I could buy it, but it's a little tight in the hips for me, and the only thing worse than a dress you want and can't have is a dress you have but can't wear.

Actually, that's true for so many things: almost is worse than nothing. Think about it. The nonfat cookie; the hug instead of the kiss; the vice-presidency.

The only cure, as philosophers have told us since there were philosophers to tell, is to want what you have. So easy to say — so incredibly hard to do. Today's dress (that I'm wearing, as opposed to posting: black eyelet, full skirt, interesting neckline) is one of my favorites. So, for the moment, at least, I want what I have. Cross your fingers that it lasts.

"Where's the paperwork for the Henderson Account?"

office dress

Check out this excellent, never-worn office dress from Prototype Vintage. This is absolutely what you would wear if you were a a go-getting career woman of the era. With a black croc bag and heels, I'm thinking, and an important bracelet.

For something this size (39/29/40) and condition, $55 is an excellent price. I don't think it will last long … if you want it, snap it up.

I am not wearing anything like this today, sadly. It's still just a little too hot for hauteur. (Not to mention that my Joan Crawford impression tends to dissolve into fits of helpless giggling.) No, today I am wearing a late-1940s-pattern dress I made of lightweight Liberty cotton print which looks like a combination of flowers and neurons (don't ask) in orange, red, teal, and moss green on a cream ground. With a green-and-cream zebra-pattern scarf as a belt (good call, Kate!), green glasses and handbag, and an orange sweater. Oh yes, fear me. Fear me and my senseless love of orange and green together.

Verrier dress is very close

Verrier dress

Madelene sent me the link to this dress (thanks, Madelene!) and I like it very much. I'm not sure if I'd wear it — okay, who am I kidding, I'd wear it, it's got a Peter Pan collar and pockets — although I'd feel better about it if it were red with pink accents, and not mostly that pink. I'm starting to feel a little long in the tooth for pink AND Peter Pan collars AND pintucks.

I looked up the designer — Ashleigh Verrier — and found out that she's 1) 23 and 2) her mother is her muse. So what does that mean? Is this dress for 23-year-olds, or for people who could be the mothers of 23-year-olds? (I did the math, and even at the limit of biological possibility, I could not yet be the mother of a 23-year-old.) Her collection (click on the image for the slideshow) isn't bad. And according to New York magazine, her thesis collection was picked up by Saks last year.

I do like this dress, but I think it's not quite there yet. It's still a little too predictable. It's a great shape, but I would like this better in a wild chiffon print, or in a lightweight wool bouclé. What if the hems on the skirt and sleeves were left ragged, or were intentionally made ragged with bias chiffon? What if, instead of tucks, there were lace inserts? There's a lot more that could be done with this dress, to move it a bit more away from April Cornell.