April 23, 2010

Lisa: dress-up closet

We finally rented Fantastic Mr. Fox to watch with Nora last week, and I fell in love with (among other things) Mrs. Fox's yellow housedress. I love a vintage dress anyway, but this sunny a-line one with a tiny apple print, an adorable stand-up collar, and an empire waist is so tailored and cute. Add a brooch and a few pockets on the front for holding art supplies, and it's pretty much perfect. You can see more of it here at Design*Sponge and The Handmade Experiment.

Thinking about retro dresses naturally sent me back to the Bettie Page Clothing site again, where I've spent a lot of time lately hanging around looking at the same dress over and over. I bought this Bettie Page dress a while ago, and the quality is great. I've gotten a ton of compliments on it, too. Does it strike anyone else as odd that one of the only places I've found consistently modest but stylish and sexy dresses is a costume/fetish shop? But I digress. The only thing keeping me from just buying the rust-colored one has been the price--but when I got an email about a birthday sale (enter code BETTIE BDAY at checkout for 25% off until April 26!), I couldn't resist. Plus, Blake bought it for me as an early Mother's Day gift because he's a model husband.

Searching around for housedresses online inevitably led me to A Dress A Day, a blog about sewing and wearing vintage dresses and skirts that's been around for years, and has the clunky old blog template to prove it. For some reason I decided I absolutely had to read all the archives at once, which is taking a bit of time. I'm enjoying them a lot, and getting more excited about sewing along the way. I even posted a page on the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wiki about the pattern I used to make my dress for Jillian's funeral party, which I still intend to blog about someday...AHEM. I do wish the A Dress A Day archives were heavier on dresses Erin has sewn herself, and lighter on adorable vintage patterns that have already been snapped up by someone else. Mostly because I keep falling in love with things I can't have.

I can (AND WILL) have this reproduction Vogue pattern Erin mentioned, though! Isn't it cute, with the little pintucks on the front and the big, full skirt? I started thinking about possibly making it in a cotton batiste, and some idle online searching led me to Belraf Fabrics. I clicked around on some prints I liked, and almost before I knew it, free batiste samples were winging their way to me through the postal service. For free. DID I MENTION THE SAMPLES WERE FREE? Very exciting.

Another site I dug up in the Dress A Day archives is StyleShake, which I want to try out next time I'm feeling flush. They let you design your own creation (using quite a few possible building blocks) and have it made-to-measure for around $100. StyleShake would be great also for outfitting your bridal party in coordinating dresses that they can customize to work for their tastes and body types (sort of the next logical step from the David's Bridal-type mix-and-match styles). I really like how the photo galleries range from classic to trendy to avant garde.

Somewhere along the way, I came across Vintage Vivant. I don't know why it surprises me when I find something new (to me) on the internet. Don't worry, I got caught up on all her archives, too, so it's just like I've been reading all along. Amelia wears vintage every day, and has a tattoo by Sunny Buick, the artist behind the most beautiful tattoo of all time. Looking at the hilarious embroidered slips Amelia sells in her Doublespeak Etsy shop also got me thinking about vintage slips as a possibly awesome lengthening tool/modesty enhancement for some of my summer dresses that are a tiny bit on the short and skimpy side. Or maybe I could make or embellish something with my new ruffler foot. You non-sewing, non-wearing-used-underwear types might be interested in the (possibly-Utah-based?) Vintage Hem.

Thinking about vintage slips reminded me of What I Wore Today (which I used to read religiously a few years ago, and just now figured out is still going strong!). Whether or not you like Kasmira's style, I think she'll make you braver about wearing dresses and skirts, pairing unexpected pieces, layers, and colors together, and remembering to accessorize.

Speaking of accessories, it's really hard for me to look at dresses without thinking about the shoes that will go with them. You know how everything on Modcloth goes out of stock in about two seconds? Well, I did manage to grab these green retro mary janes with cone heels a few weeks ago that would be perfect with a vintage silhouette. Unfortunately, now I've also seen these even more retro metallic Veronica t-straps with even cone-ier heels. Of course, Modcloth is sold out, but maybe I will save my pennies and order them right from the Seychelles website.

Unless I'm too busy donating all my time to orphans and developing new mathematical theorems, of course. Or cleaning the baseboards (in a dress). You never know.

Posted by lisa at April 23, 2010 04:27 PM

Great post! I probably shouldn't have read it at work since I spent the last hour clicking on all of the links, but I enjoyed every minute of it!

Posted by: Gabrielle on April 26, 2010 09:36 AM

I've been looking around www.twolooseteeth.com and really am impressed by the exceptional content here. I work the nightshift at my job and it is so boring. I've been coming here for the previous couple nights and reading. I just wanted to let you know that I have been enjoying what I have seen and I look ahead to reading more.

Posted by: CARLY BLANCHARD on June 1, 2010 02:17 AM
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