Sunday, August 29, 2010

one for the road

While I've got Internet (I'm at my parents' house), here's some of my favorites from Fortepan, a giant archive of vintage photos, mostly from Prague sorry, Budapest, arranged in chronological order. I haven't even made it to the 1910s yet, but these are my favorites from the 1900s.






Saturday, August 28, 2010

going dark

We're without Internet at my house right now, and by the time we get it back I'll be gone to Atlanta for Dragoncon, so it looks like I won't be able to post again until after Labor Day. (I'm at Starbucks right now). See you after the long weekend! I'm driving down to Atlanta, and I'm going to try to find some vintage stores along the way.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

what i wore

Today was my longest day so far at my new job. Selling toys: more tiring than you'd think!

Shirt is vintage, skirt from Tulle, shoes from Shoes & Chocolate in Baltimore, necklace from the Renaissance Faire.

I'm starting to think about opening an Etsy store-- I have a bunch of dresses I'm just not wearing, and a few that I need to be realistic about and admit they're always going to be too small. I see so many great stores with gorgeous photography and even more gorgeous clothes, though-- I'm not sure how I'll measure up!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the '20s in color

This 1922 color film test is so, so lovely. The hair and the clothes and the sweet poses all the models strike-- so pretty! I adore the hat on the girl at the 1:40 mark, and the beautiful blue dress right before her.

what I wore

I'm still trying to get the hang of shooting with the tripod and self-timer. Today I tried putting the tripod on the dining room table, instead of the floor.

Dress is thrifted, shoes are thrifted, button necklace made by me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

not teeny

It is an everlasting annoyance to me that most vintage clothes are a 28 waist or smaller. Towards that end, here is another Etsy treasury of pretty vintage that you don't need a girdle for.

etsy treasury

vintage without vintage

I'm not actually wearing any vintage clothes today.

But it looks like I am.

Dress is thrifted (Isaac Mizrahi for Target), brooch from Colonial Williamsburg, necklace from the Renn Faire, shoes from Very Volatile, cardigan from Ann Taylor Loft.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

more family photos

While I'm at it, I'm in love with these pictures from a trip my mom's family took in the late '60s to San Francisco. I know it's just the film stock, but doesn't it feel like the world came in warmer colors back then?

my great-grandmother's album

After seeing a bunch of other bloggers post fantastic family snapshots (I really liked the ones at Seven Style Notes and Dear Golden), I thought I'd post some pages from an album of my great-grandmother's that I've been scanning.

I have some tough decisions, though: first of all, a lot of the pages have already come loose from the album-- should I rip out the ones that are still attached, for easier scanning? And second, once they're all scanned, should I try to remove the glued-on photos and move them to something archival-quality? I'm TERRIFIED of damaging them, but those black paper albums just don't last. This one is falling to bits around the photos.

page 15

page 11

page 9

Friday, August 20, 2010

the time machine list

If I had a time machine (and an an unlimited budget, but that goes without saying-- time machines aren't cheap), in addition to all the interesting historical events and fascinating historical figures I'd like to see, I would probably also want to get dolled up and go to fabulous parties in different eras. (Actually, I could probably meet the historical figures at the parties, couldn't I?) Towards this end, every once in a while I browse through the museum section at Antique Dress, on the grounds that I might be able to pick something up new while I'm time traveling.

pinkedwardgauzegownvt purpcrushvelvthirtygownupsd teensorangevelvnv

callotsoursflapprgown ballgowngreyltbluewtrn

But my favorite, and one I've come back to many, many times, is this.

blckfortydrapehollywood blckfortydrapehollywoodtw

blckfortydrapehollywoodup blckfortydrapehollywoodupb

These are just a few of the many reasons that I would appreciate it if the Doctor would do me a favor and bring the TARDIS around for a quick shopping trip. Sadly, he does not seem very interested in clothes, unless you count bow ties and giant scarves. So the odds, alas, aren't good.

more fun with polyvore

I'm going to be Mrs. Peacock in a Clue group at Dragoncon in a few weeks, so I've had Clue costumes on the brain. Here's how I'd dress a Clue group, given an unlimited budget. Just a few for starters-- maybe I'll do the whole group later!

miss scarlet

Professor Plum

mrs. peacock

Thursday, August 19, 2010

an autochrome outfit

Okay, this is my best attempt, after much playing around with Polyvore. What do you think?



I'm in love with these early 19th century color photos. No, you heard correctly-- color! They're autochomes, a very early color process, and they kind of put me in mind of a 1912 Anthropologie catalogue.


See what I mean? I would wear every single thing she has on. I particularly love the gold-embroidered white skirt with the coral blouse. I wish I was better at making Polyvore collages!

Img0348-16 Img0330-2

These two remind me of Waterhouse paintings.


Okay, time to put on our sheer white cotton blouses and make flower crowns. Who's with me?


Can giant hats be in style again, please?

what I wore

Here's what I wore to my first day at my new job:

what i wore

Alphabet dress from Polly Sue's, with a petticoat and the same shoes I've been wearing everywhere. I have a really bad habit of wearing the same shoes every day until they fall apart. Part of this is that I just don't own that many shoes, a problem I am looking to remedy.

My new job is at a toy store in DC. I'm excited about it-- so far, it seems like a really fun, cool place to work. I might also be substitute teaching at a preschool-- we'll see!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the politics of appearance


This is a picture of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, who was 19 years old when she was arrested after participating in a Freedom Ride in Jackson, Mississippi in 1961. A lot of people have talked about her courage, and a lot of people have talked about how lovely she is-- see this excellent thread at Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog, and this Jezebel post that discusses whether it's appropriate to evaluate a civil-rights hero in terms of her physical appearance. (For the record, I think it's probably not: it's reductive, and Ta-Nehisi followed up with a fantastic check-your-privilege post here.)

So, here's the thing: I have a lot of thoughts about this picture. Like, A LOT, because Joan (who's still alive, by the way!), at 19, possessed a moral courage most of us will never know if we can match. I think most people believe they would have stood up just like she did, but let's face it: in that time, most people didn't. In that time, we probably wouldn't have either. But that's one of the things that's covered quite well in Ta-Nehisi's post.

Then there's the other stuff that comes along with this picture, the gender stuff, the beauty stuff. There's the fact that maybe Joan's picture catches us the way it does because she is young, and white, and beautiful-- that maybe part of the weight of the image is in its aesthetics. That's some knotty, problematic stuff, and the Jezebel thread does its best to pick all that apart.

So I'm not going to get too deep into those things, because other people are doing it better. I'm going to talk about her clothes.

Which, okay, shallow-- but. This is the thing about that time, and the way people dressed. Part of the impact of Joan's picture, for me, is that she is not wearing clothes that set her apart as a member of the counterculture. One reason for that is that civil rights protesters made a conscious effort to present themselves as tidy, well-dressed, respectable people, just like everyone else. Often, the counterculture has a uniform-- you could tell just by looking if someone was a beatnik, a few years before this picture was taken, or a hippie a few years after. Civil rights protesters didn't do that. They didn't want to set themselves apart visually, because their actions were already setting them apart in ways that made people very, very angry.

I love the aesthetics of the period in which this picture was taken. I've said, more than once, that I basically lose interest in clothes made after about 1965; as far as I'm concerned, design took a serious blow then and never really recovered. I have an extensive rant prepared about how the most casual outfit a person owned, fifty years ago, would look formal to modern eyes. The phrase "goddamn comfy pants" gets used a lot; also, I complain about the '80s.

People have asked me, given that, if I'd like to live in that time, and they're usually surprised by my answer, which is: OH HELL NO.

Because that time? SUCKED to live in. It was stiflingly sexist, narrow-minded as all get-out, and so racist that people arrested a girl who looked like Dorothy Gale for her insistence that segregation was wrong. People think that if we wear vintage today-- which I do, and often-- we must want the other parts of that time back, and I really, really don't. Given the choice between ubiquitous hat-wearing and Jezebel comment threads, I'll pick feminism and the Internet every time.

So look at Joan. Look at her lace-trimmed gingham blouse (or dress; I wish I knew), at her soft hairstyle, at the rose pinned to her collar. Her clothing is sending us a message: it's saying she is a part of that strait-laced, narrow-minded time. But that girl is a fucking revolutionary, even in gingham. So the question is, can you be as strong as her?

(On an intensely shallow note, holy crap I love her hair, it is so, so romantic and perfect. The soft waves are probably thanks to pin-curls, and I'm guessing she has some long bangs pinned aside there. The little gather where the sleeve hits that band at the hem is just perfect, and I am totally in love with the two narrow strips of crochet lace on either side of the button placket. Part of me is DESPERATE to know whether that is, in fact, a gingham dress, or just a blouse and skirt. Whatever it is, Joan wears it well. It probably helps that her whole face is alight with righteousness; moral surety is a good look in any season.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

decisions, decisions

I'm a little obsessed with this pair of shoes.


They're really, really cute. I think they'd be perfect for fall, and they go with a lot of my clothes. They're available at Ruche for $58.99, which isn't terrible.

However, they're *also* available at Endless for $54.95, with free shipping. This is sort of the internet version of choosing whether to shop at Wal-Mart or the locally-owned store, isn't it?

fall is coming

It's gross and hot out, but that's not stopping me from thinking about fall. I've been wanting a velvet dress for ages, and when I spotted this one in robinhartman's Etsy shop I couldn't say no. It's very Mad Men about the collar, but it's got a nice full skirt, too! I can't wait until it's cold enough to wear it with tights and a pretty brooch.

velvet dress


It's actually a little bit brighter green than in the pictures. I love it!

tiny pretty things

I'm in love with Papier Valise, an online shop that sells all sorts of tiny, pretty vintage things.

G1558_BlueWhite_Flowers_wWireStem M504_Lg_Black_Hangers

FT1042_PoppyOrange_Vintage_Nosegays PL1851_Floral_Cameo


Aren't they lovely? They're having a 50% off sale right now. Use the code AUGBLOG50 to get the discount!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

murder mystery!

I went to a murder mystery party last night-- it was SUPER fun, and my throat is still a little tickly from talking so much. I played a famous actress who'd been romantically involved with the victim, and I got murdered by my bookie. It was really, really funny to watch everyone try to stay in character, and even funnier when people broke character or had to clarify whether what they just said was their character or really them.

This is what I wore:

murder mystery outfit

I'm still getting the hang of posing, if you can't tell. Self-timers: kind of awkward! Dress is thrifted, tights from Rugged Wearhouse, shoes are Chelsea Crew from Ruche. I made the hair bow out of some ribbon I had around. I also wore a vintage beaded collar, but it was incredibly itchy and I took it off after a little while; you can't see it in the photo. It contributed to the general 20s/30s thing I was going for, though.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a modern day

I wear a lot of vintage, but not exclusively, and lately it's been so hot that I don't want to sweat all over my nicest things. So it's been a lot of thrifted and modern stuff, like today's outfit:

what i wore

Please excuse my crazy hair. Dress is Tulle (super-sale!), pendant is yard-saled, shoes are from Shoes and Chocolate in Baltimore.

I also went thrifting, and found some things that are a little more modern than my usual taste, but I think I'll get some wear out of them. Tips for what to do with the dress are much appreciated-- I'm trying to decide, light- or dark-colored slip underneath? Wear it as a tunic with jeans? Belt or don't?

thrifted dress

thrifted tee thrifted shorts

In other news, I continue to have a huge brain-crush on Dorothy Sayers. For starters, everyone should be as good at naming short stories as she is-- my favorite so far is "The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention," but "The Piscatorial Farce of the Stolen Stomach" is running a close second.

For another, this woman had a *fascinating* life, the details of which mostly remained secret until after her death. Sayers lived with a man named John Cournos without being married to him for a year, because he claimed not to believe in marriage (which, in the '20s, was kind of a big deal). At the end of the year, Cournos told her he had been testing her devotion and asked her to marry him-- so she left him. She went on to have a child out of wedlock, which was kept from public knowledge until after her death.

In fact, the affair was kept secret too, even though she gave the details to one of her characters-- Harriet Vane, her detective novelist who goes on to marry Lord Peter Wimsey, has a nearly identical affair in her backstory. Frankly, Dorothy Sayers is so awesome that I can forgive a little self-insertion.