attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,

...and Old Lace

I liked dressing up long before I found the SCA.  A friend of my father's always said I would be an opera singer, because I liked dressing up so much as a child.

(Also because I was fat, but we'll pass that quickly by.)

I didn't dress goth throughout high school, I dressed vintage - elbow-length blouses with wrist-length lace, swirly skirts, and scarves. 

(The year I flirted with neon and became its bitch will not be mentioned again, dammit.)

I just loved dressing up - and when I wasn't making costumes, I was messing around with and collecting vintage.  By the time I was in college, I had an awesome vintage collection - and I gave it all away because I was moving back to the US, and couldn't afford to bring it.

I hope it got well loved.

But since I've settled down (somewhat), I have had the time to rebuild my collection.  I'm not going to show you all of it today, just a few highlights.  My apologies for the terrible layout - I don't have a dress form, so hanging them is the only way I can presently show them off.

The oldest piece is one Bob bought for me in Portobello Market, in London.  It is possibly 1860s, but has no provenance.  A lot of the design details seem right, and the colour and construction seem right, but who knows?  Anyway, my purple day dress:


Some of the details ae quite pretty - and it's in very good condition, with only a tiny amount of sun fading on the top of the bodice.


I love fringe.  Sadly, the dress is a tiny bit too narrow at the waist for me -I need a really good 19th century corset that reduces me about 4 inches, and it would fit perfectly.

But that's a rather fancy piece - most of my stuff is not nearly so highbrow - I'm not a collector by any means.  I'm not a snob, I love crazy clothes, and I have a total thing for thrift stores, which is where I found these next treasures:


The first one is a tulle prom gown from the 1960s, complete with shrug and purse - less than $3, and since I don't care whether it fits or not, the fact that it's a size 0 doesn't matter.  The other three are from the 1970s - a heart prom dress (with ruffles!), a scarf dress (made from - honest to God - silk scarves) (it was a fashion, what can I tell you?), and a classic, yet timeless (since that bustline came back in the 1990s) (but not the pattern) summer party dress.  The red dress and the flowered dress still have their price tags, which is an enormous help in dating them.

I love that scarf dress.  Once I find a real 1970s tie dress, I'll have the set.

I always keep an eye open in the antique stores I visit for the second or third-tier vintage stuff that sells cheap, because no "real" collector wants it (if it's stained, torn, or altered, and under 150 years old, it's pretty worthless). I've found some pretty great stuff that way, such as this 1900s tea dress:


Yes, it's wilted and stained, but what awesome details!  I love the sleeves.  Sometimes it's just about the ideas and the delight you get from looking at the little stuff.

Speaking of the little stuff, here are some details on some of my other pieces that make my heart sing:

The silk satin roses on the back of the tea dress.

The neckline and back detailing on a 1960's evening gown.

The crazy bodice ruffles on the red ruffle dress ("it looks like Valentine's Day threw up all over it", my apprentice said).

The gorgeous lining details on a fabulous 1950s swing coat.

1960s cocktail dress styling at its finest - matching jacket and belt included.

I love my clothes, but my obsession with dressing up (I also lend my clothes to close friends) has meant that my collection has outgrown its home (which kind of explains why the monster now lives in the Master Bedroom closet):

I need more space.

But let's not think about that -  instead, feast your eyes on some fabulous holiday picks from the 1950s:

I bought them for the one skull pick - and who puts skull picks on their food, anyway?  I assume the same people that label their wine bottles "poison" at parties - but they're all quite awesome.

The Baby Jesus will take care of all your holiday buffet needs, amirite?


Tags: collecting, costume, vintage
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