In my plan, we are NOT beltless.


vogue 4991

Many thanks to Robinson, who sent along this link from Vintage Martini. Isn't it marvelous? My favorite view is the one half-hidden in the back, with the black patent belt. Now, I understand intellectually that black patent is probably a bitch to sew, and that its launderability is, shall we say, questionable, and that it will require black patent accessories (the last time I had black patent shoes I was wearing them with ruffled anklets and contemplating my First Communion) and that the whole enterprise would be vastly simplified if I could just get an actual belt, and not one sewn on. But emotionally, I don't care. The heart wants what it wants, as someone once pityingly told me, and my heart wants an obscenely red dress with a shiny black patent belt. (Perhaps my heart is secretly Helmut Lang? Who knows.)

Although the yellow/blue/gray combo in front has its own not inconsiderable charms — I remember fondly a pair of earrings I had in eighth grade; little button ones with that exact color combination. I think the earrings were $1 at Woolworths, but they necessitated the purchase of an entire outfit to match. I won't tell you about the outfit, as it was a Horror of the Eighties (camp shirt; jazz oxfords; anklets) but I loved that color combination. (Now, of course, I have worn the same little hoops for nearly seven years. Pirates change their earrings more often than I do.)

Whichever color combination you make (and note I am not suggesting prints here, although a black dress with the belt made in two differently-scaled houndstooths would be, well, freaking AWESOME) the pattern is $14. Somebody go buy it before I break down and figure out how to sew patent, okay?

0 thoughts on “In my plan, we are NOT beltless.

  1. What about a charcoal grey flannel suiting with a red belt (belt material negotiable)? I love that it goes both directions and almost creates an empire waist… Pity I can’t get into a B36 any more.

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  2. the last time I had black patent shoes I was wearing them with ruffled anklets and contemplating my First CommunionOh, honey–you’re missing out. I have two pairs of black patent leather shoes and I love them! One is a pair of stiletto mules (hawt) and the other is a pair of chunky baby-doll toe 6″ heels. *cough* I, er, also have the stiletto mules in red patent leather.–Lydia

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  3. Did you ever read the Doris Lessing novel, “Martha Quest”? The protagonist is a young woman in postwar London. She’s dating a fellow who tells her that her red dress needs a black patent leather belt. “She could see at once that he was right, of course.”The other thing the pattern images make me think about is a friend of mine who was taking a psychology class in college when she learned that in dreams, large belts can symbolize dissociation from sexuality. She immediately remembered that as a child she had been obsessed with drawing oversized belts on animals. And, finally, while we’re on the topic of sex, I have to agree with the commenter who tells you you’re missing out if you have no black patent shoes. I have a pair of the Manolo Blahnik “Mary Jane” stilettoes in black patent and they are to die for. I also recently acquired a very reasonably-priced pair ($80) of round-toe, closed-toe, black patent leather platform pumps (I guess some would call ’em stripper heels, but to me the round-toe looks girlish) in black patent leather. They’re the “Mardi” by diba. They are AWESOME. I think they’re the best purchase I made this year — they are insanely cute and really comfortable. I know you have all these strict requirements for shoes (ankle-strap, wedge heel) but I urge you to consider broadening your horizons. Zappos.com. –victoria

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  4. Houndstooth! Yes! I don’t have any houndstooth in my wardrobe right now (though someone is selling a few yards of a nice big teal-and-black houndstooth on Ebay now, that I’ve been watching).I hardly change my earrings either. I may have to use your pirates quote (full credit given, of course).

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  5. I just have to add, this seems like a great dress to make up in wool (or linen). But what does one do about sweat, if one can’t afford to dry clean her dress every time she wears it? Dress guards don’t exist any more, do they? (And how did they ever work? – I’m picturing some kind of contraption like a cross between a shoulder gun-holster and an old sanitary pad belt – but that sounds too horrible!)

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  6. Dark olive lightweight wool or slubbed silk, 3/4 length sleeves, self belt, gold and carnelian jewelry for a splash of color. You’d look like an autumn day. Inspired by by your blog, Erin, I actually wore a dress (well, a skirt) to work yesterday. Only 2 people noticed, which is odd, considering I’m a botanist whose job involves mud, ink, dust, climbing on and under furniture, labwork, and hiking–I *always* wear jeans! Guess I need the foot-crippler stilletto heels to really pull off the look. Or longer legs. Or something

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  7. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but I’d go for a heavy, dull sheened duchess satin. Not acetate bridesmaid revisted hell, just elegant and eggshelled duchess. Buckle searching in flea markets beckon, non?

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  8. Zoltar–that’s exactly what I was thinking. It’s more likely a satin finished fabric rather than patent. But, of course, you can dream of putting a patent leather belt on it, of course!Kate Spade is making an adorable patent leather shoe that is not unlike the “clompers” you showed a few weeks ago. Super cute! And, on the cheap, Target has a pair of high heels in patent with a peep toe in red. Holly

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  9. What about cir? That would give you the look you want. Or a crepe-back satin – the dress could be of crepe, with the reverse satin as the belt.Aggiebot5, try boots! You don’t have to cripple yourself with stiletto heels. A good pair of boots (flat-heeled) could up the ante for you with a skirt or a dress. Engineer-style boots, or, my favorites for the kind of work you’re describing, knee-high Timberland boots would be excellent (I have a pair in classic Timberland gold.) http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/18375997/c/716.html OMG, they have them in black and in white! How utterly impractical. I want them. (Would that be Agricultural Botanist 5 by any chance?)

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  10. I love that pattern! I think the red with the black belt would be sensational! If it were mine I would wear the black “jet” antique necklace and earrings I have. I may have to go in search of this pattern too.

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  11. Nora, a lot of wool fabrics can be washed, if you make sure to prewash the fabric. Especially worsted wools stand laundry well. Use wool detergent, and make sure you prewash hotter and/or rougher than you plan to wash the garment. If you’re worried that it will change the fabric too much, test by washing a swatch first./Monika

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  12. I just got a lovely piece of Pendleton wool (small, black & white houndstooth) for an insanely low price. Should I clip a piece and wash it? Somehow, it scares the crap out of me to wash it. And then what? Drip dry?The beauty of the “belt” on that dress is that it isn’t a belt at all. Just an ingenious design element. I think it only works because it’s such an integral part of the dress.

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  13. Instead of patent, you could always use a lovely moire taffeta that would be reflective and “hard” looking like the patent would. i am loving moire taffeta right now! but just as an accent.

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  14. I agree with “anonymous” that the fabric is black satin. That’s where the shine comes from. When this dress was in fashion, pattern companies would never have imposed such a hardship as sewing patent leather on the home sewer. I had several dresses made from wool with satin trim in those days. And a couple of years ago I bought a Jones New York jacket with the same treatment.

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  15. You could use black stretch PVC. Black is available at most fabric stores (like hancock)…it would give you the patent look, and you can wash it, you just have to hang dry.

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  16. la belladonna, those Timberland boots have killed. me. daid! They’re actually the perfect color for we who dwell in the High Desert, which manages to be cold, snowy and dusty all at the same time.

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  17. It is my opinion that one can never have too many pairs of black patent leather shoes, in just about any style…except perhaps scuba flippers. That said, I have sold several black wool dresses with black satin cumberbunds, so maybe, as the others have suggested, satin would be the way to go.

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  18. Hi! I’m a long-ish time lurker, and I just had to comment to say I love the title. Random Buffy quotes make me smile. And your blog very much makes me wish my sewing machine were with me and not halfway across the country. Thanks for always brightening up my day.-Sarah

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  19. Absolutely LOVE the idea of a red dress and a black patent belt! Hot hot hot! I’ve found that some of my favorite clothes, are those of years past with a slight modern twist! Classic

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