While I'm Thinking About Fall Fashion Magazines

The arrival of the fall fashion magazines has always been my signal to think about fall clothes, even when I've lived in places like Florida and North Carolina where, in August, fall is just a hazy promise. (In Chicago August was a reasonable time to think about fall, so that you wouldn't be caught out on that first crisp day in mid-September; here in the Bay Area it may be a chilly August but September is likely to feel more like summer than fall.)

If I were better at fashion blogging (see last week's post) I would have a giant post with five gazillion images all laid out in the format of "my must-haves for fall!" in which any three of them would add up to more than a month's rent in any reasonable place. But since I'm crap at fashion blogging, I just have a random list, like those you might find in the bottom of your handbag after a trip to the grocery store.

Mine is:

— olive anorak/parka/long jacket?

— full pleated skirts? pencil skirts with bag pockets?

— wool/denim/twill Heidis with long-sleeved tees/vest sweaters, tights, boots?

— boots??

— shirtdresses?

Does that list make any sense? For fall I'm feeling two palettes: one mustard, olive, maroon or burgundy, with a caramel leather or camel coat (both of which I have, thankfully); the other (more towards winter) with dark and light gray, pale blue, black, with maybe pale yellow or chartreuse or even teal again. The limiting factors here are travel: I don't want to have half a week's clothes in each palette so that I have to pack two coats and two pairs of boots! 

I plan on riding my bike a good bit, so full skirts for days in the office, with a long anorak to keep the wind out; Heidis with boots for travel and meetings. I may be too goofy, round, and short to pull off the "multiple-long-layers over a shortish skirt, tights, and boots" look, but I can give it a try. 

"Boots" has two question marks after it because I have five pairs that I love and hardly ever wear. Plus one pair at the cobbler's being stretched. Why don't I wear them? I need to figure this out before I buy another pair, although this one is CALLING ME (only in black, please). 

And I do have a couple of shirtdress patterns that really, really need to be made up. They just look at me with those puppy-dog eyes whenever I open their box … but they would be for California wear only, too lightweight for travel to cold places. 

I believe the Heidis are self-explanatory … 

What does your fall list look like? Also — what's NOT on your list? I think I'm almost done buying vintage leather jackets (after the completely impractical robin's-egg-blue one I grabbed last week), boots (see above), tights in weird colors (have a box full), and hats, because I splurged on a couple Kangols last year (although I'm always tempted by cheap berets) … 

Dear Miss Magnin


This dress has a Miss Magnin label in it, according to Holly at Lucitebox Vintage (where it is on sale). I think I like Miss Magnin. I think she has a sense of humor, smiles at babies on the street (I think that you should always smile at babies on the street) and would let you know if you had lipstick on your teeth. I think she would meet you for coffee and let you complain about your first-world problems and then make you laugh about them.

And if she did it wearing this dress, then so much the better! Midriff band, geometric print, pockets … oh yes, Miss Magnin and I would be great friends. Does anyone know if she’s on Facebook?


Oh, sure!


I've been thinking about skirts lately, and came across this one from Jen at MOMSPatterns. It's got SIXTEEN GORES! And it recommends PLAIDS! There is not a single alternate reality across the multiverse where I have the time, the patience, or the number of pins necessary to match a plaid across SIXTEEN GORES. 

In fact, the reason that the plaid example here is oddly truncated is because the model's HEAD FELL OFF while she was completing the skirt. And she's just an illustration! Imagine what would happen to a real person.

I recommend you to to MOMSPatterns to look at this pattern and marvel, and then click around to take advantage of her sale – 
you can save 25% using coupon code 'costumes' through midnight (EST) on Sunday (August 29, 2010). The sale is good on ALL
items, even patterns in the sale section



If This Fits You, This Is Your Lucky Day

This dress deserves to have the internetism completely spelled out: Oh. My. God.


It's a 1950s olive pinstripe velveteen dress, any one of which adjectives would normally have me reaching for the "buy" button. Sadly, it's not my size (it's B36/W28), but if it's yours, you can find it here.

Here's what Robin (the seller) has to say about the designer of the dress, Mildred Orrick:

"I consider Mildred Orrick to be one of the secret weapons of ‘50s fashion. I think she was responsible for the best work under the Anne Fogarty label, throughout the mid-50s, AND she took over for Claire McCardell’s label when McCardell died in 1957. Her work is much rarer than both of those labels and just as great in design and quality. I'd also compare her to Tina Leser and Nettie Rosenstein."

Looking at the dress, I believe it! 

What's more, it has pockets. I TOLD you this was your lucky day … 

Welcome to Wednesday


I thought that I had seen (and purchased!) every single vintage pattern with these lines but I either missed this one, or it has been erased from my memory by a team of top-notch dream-infiltrators led by a harried Leonardo DeCaprio. 

I'm not sure about the tame woolly caterpillars around the neck and sleeves of the gingham version, but since they don't seem terribly hairy maybe it means that the weather will be nice enough to wear this all winter. Right? 

I do wish I knew what both the models in this picture are eyeballing. From their eyelines, it's up on a platform or pedestal, and it's also something they don't want to look at head-on. My money is on a nude model who is also in the artist's studio where they are being drawn. What do you think?

(Also, apropos of nothing, Gingham Dress has weirdly modern shoes.)

This pattern is from Sheila at Out of the Ashes, and she's having a sale, starting today (8/25) and continuing through Wednesday, September 1st.  Get 20% off, with coupon code WASHDC. (She's going to be on a trip, thus the sale, but don't worry, she has her laptop with her and will acknowledge all orders …)


Frankly, My Dear …

I think about a dozen of you have emailed me the link to the Ransom Center's restoration project for the dresses from Gone With The Wind — they're hoping to have the dresses restored in time for the 75th anniversary exhibition in 2014. 

Lisa from The Vintage Pattern Library is having a sale to help support the project – 15% off with coupon code SCARLETT. $1 from each purchase will go toward
the restoration project, and Lisa will match every dollar as well! Good
till the end of August, and she will combine shipping from Miss Helene's as
well, if you email her to tell her before you purchase.

Maybe you might get this pattern, in solidarity? (And doesn't the dress seem to match the curtains, in true Tara style?)