rare vintage sighting

It's been a long time since I wore "real" vintage regularly, for a bunch of reasons. One is fit: it's hard to find vintage that fits well without scaffolding-type undergarments. Another is availability: the days of hitting three thrift stores in an afternoon and turning up a Courreges (yes I once found one) and half a dozen fifties frocks are long gone. And a third is that sometimes vintage can feel like costume, especially head-to-toe (and dresses are head-to-toe). But Mr. Dress A Day had a "Gatsby"-themed work thing yesterday, so I dug out a 1930s dress (I don't have any 20s stuff, and besides, Fitzgerald didn't die until 1940, so I figured that gave me an out) and put in my contact lenses (glasses didn't seem very Jazz Age) and off we went:  



I'm kind of slouching (kind of slouching a lot) and the shoes are wrong (and of course a lady shouldn't wear a watch to an evening event) but hey, vintage! 

I forgot how much I love this dress, even though it has no pockets and is slightly too long in the waist. It has a button front (which you can't really see, as they're black buttons on a black background) and the collar is closed by a little hook and eye. 

The pin was a present from a friend years ago — it's a Lea Stein fox, which I didn't even know was a "thing" until Moya told me about them earlier this year. It looks deco but it's an anachronism as well, of course.

The other hard part about wearing vintage is that each wearing brings a favorite piece a day closer to death. The seams on this dress are awfully fragile, and the fabric's getting thin … it's basically just one ill-advised reach from some unfixable tear. But I have sworn to enjoy it while it lasts … 

10 thoughts on “rare vintage sighting

  1. You should wear those things until they become pieces you can then store and use for study (or sell to someone who wants to study them). We have some late 20’s early 30’s lace overlay dresses that are incredibly delicate. We’re planning on (eventually) drafting patterns from them. It’s the best way right? You can use them as they were intended and then extend the life of the fashion idea.


  2. Dresses are made to be worn and enjoyed, so I guess even if it did die while you were wearing it, it would have gone while having fun anyway? Better to fall apart while in a dance than to suffocate in a lonely wardrobe…


  3. I agree with the first two poster; it’s all about carpe diem. Wear your beloveds until you can’t, then you can take them apart for patternizing, and then maybe even use the material scraps in some way, so you’ll always have it with you. But using the pieces for a pattern ensures the idea will continue. And it’s good you will have picture(s) of you actually wearing the beloved as well.


  4. I agree–your hair looks fabulous!

    Whenever one of my vintage dresses wears out, I spend a time (or two) mourning. Then, I spend some time blaming myself for it. Finally, I move on and find something else to replace it. A black dress is sometimes seemingly irreplaceable as each one has details and style features that make it different from the next. That’s why it’s good to have a healthy stash of black dresses!


  5. You DO look fab! That’s a great pic. The dress looks very very good on you.

    A problem I have with wearing some vintage clothes is sometimes they used silk thread, which rots, and the seams can immediatley pop. There was this one gorgeous white satin evening dress from the early 30’s someone gave me, but it was practically coming apart from just taking it out of the box. Had someone danced one dance in it, it would have been in pieces. Still…I wish now I’d kept it. (Kind of…I’m trying to free up space so I can actually LIVE rather than have a thousand possibilities stashed away.)


  6. I will join the posters who encourage you to wear the dress, damn the torpedoes! Also, you have a record of it–this photo in which your hair does look lovely, btw–and you can also patternize/cannibalize it later if you want. Think of the “interesting” story if it did disintegrate while you were wearing it!


  7. Hello,

    I am a new reader and I have to say wow. I really do love your blog. I spent the last 4 hours looking through dresses and such, wondering why I haven’t started sewing sooner. My mother is along time seamstress and artist, but I only really took on the drawing head on. I was sorta interested in sewing, but not really until college. I am a tall girl…finding tall jeans…hell…tall ANYTHING is a hardship. It is just ironic that every roommate I have had in college has had issues with dragging her jeans so much that one could cut 4 or 5 inches off and they still might be too long. :/ Anyways, I am looking into finally fulfilling the itch to sew and making my mother proud(er) and giving her someone to pass down her sewing machines to.

    This site is inspiring me so much. I just wanna make a dress RIGHT NOW! I hope that I can get my act together. Thanks for having such a wonderful blog.


  8. Everything we wear is worn closer to it’s death. We’ve all worn non-vintage items until they got holes or even were stained beyond wearing. We are just more aware when it’s a vintage item. Usually it’s a bit shocking when the non-vintage items die because they seem so young.


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