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 … 

Bee-yoo-ti-ful Suit


This suit is listed on eBay (and it's crazy expensive). But it's oh-so-gorgeous … 

To me, this feels like the kind of suit worn in novels by heroines who take jobs as governesses, etc. before returning to their prior station. A conservative cut in a fabric that is just slightly too attention-getting, yes? (And of course it goes without saying that in the kind of novel I'm talking about, this suit would call attention to the heroine's startling blue or violet eyes …)


[Thanks to Robin for the link!]


You won't have to follow a trail of crumbs to get your own wacked-out Hansel and Gretel Lanz of Salzburg dress, like, say, THIS ONE:


Here's a closeup of the Hansel-y, Gretel-y part: 


You can find this dress on eBay, if you want to commemorate child-endangerment and near-cannibalism. Have fun!


Oh Yeah.


I'm pretty sure I've posted about the original version of this Vogue pattern before, in a kind of wailing, "why oh why has the correct size forsaken me?" way. Well, Vogue heard my cries and put this in their Vintage Vogue line. 

Usually I'm not much of one for Vintage Vogue, but this one is great. Seriously great. I have one (mostly) made up and it went together like a dream. (Be sure to read the PatternReview.com reviews for helpful hints, including that you should cut the shoulders a bit smaller if you're not going to use the shoulder pads. And seriously: don't use the shoulder pads. My philosophy of shoulder pads is that you shouldn't ever wear something that would cause someone hugging you to think "what the heck is that?")

This is going to work REALLY well with Liberty Tana lawn, so expect to see it early and often. I added pockets (duh), and I underlined the midriff front with silk organza (I also reinforced the seam allowance where I'm adding the zipper with silk organza) to give it a little body. [Silk organza is wonderful, and you can buy it really cheaply in beige and black from Dharma Trading,here.]

It's working well so far … all that's left is putting in the zipper and hemming it, so expect finished pics soon. Even better, I managed to finally use a gorgeous piece of fabric that was too narrow and limp for anything else I've ever tried to make with it. I swear I've hauled out this fabric, ironed it, laid out pattern pieces on it, and wistfully folded it away every damn year since 1998.


You. Need. This.

Do you have a black eyelet dress?

Like, say, this one, from Holly at LuciteBox?


I don't set myself up to be a "dictator of taste", and I don't think I've ever done one of those "Ten Items Every Woman Must Own" lists, but if I did, a black eyelet dress would be on the list. ("Trench coat" would not be on the list. Has there ever been a fashmag printed that didn't tell you to run out and buy a trench coat? "Trench coat" is like the "free square" in Bingo.)

This is why you need a black eyelet dress: they're perfect. (Okay, okay, I'll elaborate.) Black eyelet has a natural tension between sweet and sultry, between looking (and staying) cool and looking hot. It's easy to dress up or down, and easier still to accessorize. (Black pique is *almost* as good, it's just slightly more casual.)

I've seen black eyelet like this (elegant, restrained) and black eyelet wild (in some 1980s fashion spread — I wish I'd kept it — a black eyelet A-line dress with eyepopping neon bra & briefs under it, possibly a swimsuit, but hey, it was the 1980s, everything was neon). 

I've got one black eyelet dress that I've worn nearly to rags, so I'm definitely planning a black broderie anglaise dress for this summer, lined in black batiste (or unlined, if I choose to go the neon underthings route … UNLIKELY). 

This one is 38/28/40, and trust me, you will wear it until it gets rusty and falls off you. 


Bonnie Cashin dresses

Robin sent a link to these Bonnie Cashin dresses, up for auction at Augusta Auction. The dark one on the right is actually two pieces: a bodice and skirt.

Neither dress is my size, but lordy, would I like a few (dozen) yards of that dark fruit fabric. (The bright dress has a similar palette to one of my favorite Liberty patterns, Enchanted Garden.)

(There are other pictures at the Augusta link, but for some reason having both the dresses facing left seemed humorous to me. They look like they're lining up to be bought!)