Saturday, January 26, 2019

ALL the Evening Gowns

 When did it start, this enthusiasm for interesting clothes? Unlike many people that develop a taste for fashion over time, I can trace mine to a specific incident. I was about four years old, and was shopping with my mother at Turnstyle-a sort of big box store that we had in the Chicago area. It was a great place with a large toy section, costume jewellery (I bought a Mood Ring there) record department, and clothes. Oh goodness, the clothes!

My toddler self wasn't much different from my menopausal self with respect to magpie qualities. It sparkles? Shiny things? Sold! Except I was shopping with my mother who didn't develop a taste for sequins until the 80s and then only to adorn a tee shirt here and there. Now I ask you, how could a child with such a deep love for the sparkling, twinkling metallic plastic be expected to accept her mother's refusal to purchase a full length, sheath-style evening gown in red white and blue sequins? I knew I couldn';t wear it, of course but I couldn't see any good reason that she would want to pass on it. It was...well, probably horrible in a "Let's copy a Bob Mackie and sell it to housewives" kind of way but that just makes it all the better. She didn't want the gown, so I did what any small child being denied the flashiest thing she'd ever seen would do-I threw myself into a display bin of underwear and screamed bloody murder between sobs, as you do. She still wouldn't buy the dress. She bought me a water-globe instead to shut me up. I never did forget that gown though, and in one way or another I'm still pursuing it. You can be quite certain if a red, white and blue sequin gown ever crosses my path, I'm going to buy it. Meanwhile, I wear what I like and enjoy getting dressed. It might not always be flashy, but it is definitely, me.
Conventional wisdom is that large, middle aged  old women should wear neutrals, in non-bulky fabrics and.../well, no. I'm not wearing a steady rotation of black and beige, and if bulky knits add a few pounds, who cares? I know the fact I have a teenager is misleading, but trust me, I have more years behind me than ahead and I don't intend to spend what's left dressed in a style I'm uncomfortable with because of the number of candles on my birthday cake. And I'm going to eat that birthday cake too, thanks very much. Embrace your inner toddler and wear that which you desired but were denied. You're an adult now-who's going to stop you? By all means, if neutrals are your thing-wear them! But please, please, please, don't let anyone dictate what you should like. 

OK, stepping down off the soapbox now...

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage acrylic polo neck-Goodwill
Vintage acrylic cardigan-Goodwill
Vintage acrylic crochet skirt-New Life Thrift (I think?)
Vintage Johanssen handbag-Can't remember
Vintage Monet necklace-Thrift World
Scarf on bag-swiped it from Danny's collection

 Have these boots featured on the blog at any point? I can't remember. Bought them ages ago in the sales at Target, and wore the daylights out of them on the farm as they're flat, vinyl and are easy to clean mud off of. Had I known how indestructible they'd turn out to be, I'd have bought them in brown as well. The regret is right up there with the sequined gown, and I keep hoping someday I'll find another pair in a thrift store. Learn from my mistakes-buy in quantity when you find something good. In the 90s I bought 10 pair of black ballerina flats and was on my last pair when Danny was a baby. That's not bad!

I don't always, "Borrow" my kid's scarves-I bought this one for myself. I'm not a Leo, but how could I resist this fantastic print?
 Do I get bonus points for a skirt that matches the colours so well? I don't know what the odds of that happening are, but this seems like a very rare coincidence. I loved how they looked together.
Photos don't accurately show how gorgeous this scarf is.

 Outfit Particulars:
Polo neck-retail, a few years ago
Vintage skirt-Goodwill
Vintage cha-cha braceletes-both Goodwill
Rings-=all over and gifts
Beret-K Mart

 I don't just love flashy clothes though. I appreciate classic, well made items as well, though I do struggle putting together a more quiet, understated look.
 In my experience, throwing a brooch and pearls at most suits will work.

 Matching shoes and handbag to round out the look.

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage suit-a vintage shop about 20 years ago
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Liberty scarf-Goodwill
Pearls-can't remember, probably Jordan Marsh in the 90s
Vintage earrings-yard sale

 Sometimes I like mixing a conservative looking item like this vintage Pendleton skirt with an unexpected accessory like high heeled clogs. The contrast is there, but not so strange that it feels awkward. I enjoy wearing something that's slightly out of place to lessen the formality of a piece-sort of like wearing a beaded evening jacket with jeans. The bag is also slightly different from the one in the last set of photos, if you look closely.

 Couldn't be bothered to crop the photos-ooops! You can see my hat boxes at the top of the stairs.

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage Pendleton skirt-Goodwill
Vintage ACTIII velvet jacket-Goodwill
Vintage handbag-can't remember
Clogs-retail ages ago
Bangles-antique shop and Goodwill
Vintage Monet pendant necklace-Goodwill, I think

Standing beside the highway in a 50s lace gown. Why not?

The netting on this poor dress shreds a bit more with each wear but isn't terribly obvious so I keep wearing it. Eventually it will fall apart. I don't typically wear a shirt beneath it, but it IS January. 

I'll leave you with a photo of the pillow I didn't buy, even though it matched my coat. Sometimes you just have to say, "No." Hope January is treating everyone well. 


Bibi Maizoon said...

That scarlet red is SOOOO your color! How could you not wear it?
The Target boots are divine, especially with the plaid mini.
Love the combination of the black & teal on the Leo scarf and the skirt- but I thought Leo was a fire sign so why the watery-earthy color scheme on the scarf?
Oh well, it is gorgeous!

Radostin said...

Ahhh, I love it all. I can't ever remember not being interested in interesting clothes, really. I remember as a small girl looking at pictures of my tiny skinny mum in her hand-knit skinny-fit waistcoat and huge flared jeans, holding a tiny fat me in a tshirt that said Foxy Baby. The photos were dated 1979... I guess I just had to keep it up. I still have some of her clothes (and wear - tho I haven't for a little while), but didn't let myself keep the ones I couldn't get in to.
I had a hand-me-down dress (from my cousins) with baby-pink sleeves and skirt (there was a second with pale blue), and a rainbow-striped bodice, in about 1984. I wore it with red tights which, strangely - but not nastily - my father told me didn't go. I couldn't understand what he meant, but nobody actually tried to get me to change them, and I still love red and pink together.
xx J.

bahnwärterin said...

thanx - after january started with much pain in my old bones (wet weather), now its glorious winter with ice & snow and happy joints :-D
we could share a wardrobe! my early childhood dream was a deep forest green taffeta frock in a clean design in a typical 50s fit&flare silhouette - no idea why because i´m sure i never saw one in person....
like you i do love very classic pieces - broken a bit with a light dose of punk or folk.
love the leo-look - stunning with the matching colors and watercolor designs! and i want to steal the light blue suit from your back :-D
stay warm! xxxxx

Polyester Princess said...

I love how you can trace your love of clothes to that specific incident, which you are telling with such vivid attention to detail. I keep picturing you throwing yourself into a display bin of underwear. How funny, although I doubt you thought so at the time. I've been interested in clothes for as long as I can remember, and I had specific ideas of what I wanted to wear from very early on. Unfortunately, my grandmother insisted in making my clothes for a long time, and they were all of the same basic straightforward model. So many outfits I love here. The tartan mini with those fierce boots, for instance. And that stunning skirt and scarf combo. But I too love a good classic: that vintage suit is just fabulous. xxx

Mim said...

Oooh, that blue suit! It is wonderful. And I was chuckling at the thought of little Goody hurling herself into a heap of undies, though must confess that's possibly more because my mental image was of big Goody...

Bobbins to what the 'experts' say older women should wear. None of these experts are ever older women themselves. Actual older women say 'wear what you like', and they're the real experts in being one.

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Red, like coral really suits you, Goody. You look fabulous!

Having read the blog title I thought I'd see you featuring evening dresses, but it was not so. Maybe another time? Wonderful outfits all the same. As for that scarf how amazing is that? And how it matches the skirt beautifully. I loved the tweed suit with those lovely Mary Jane shoes. A 1950s lace dress? Yes, please! Such fabulous jewellery. You are the best advertisement for your mantra of wearing what you want. Go, Goody!

It's fascinating that you can pinpoint the moment your obsession (?) with clothes began. I think mine started in my teen years and grew, like me, over the years.

Have a great week.

Mrs Rat said...

You are my style heroine.

That Leo scarf is beautiful---and so big! You could wear it as a cape, almost. I like how it is both eye-catching and yet the colors are rather water-color like, and really lovely.

Getting dressed should always be a pleasure. Why deny ourselves a daily chance to make life a little nicer and more surprising?

I hope that you find a red white and blue sequined gown someday! What a thrifting coup that would be...

Beth Waltz said...

The color blend and match of the skirt and scarf is miraculous. One suspects you have an "eye" for color as keen as your "nose" for perfume! (And now I'm wondering if there's a scientific study about that -- like testing tea-tasters?)

The dream dress of my pre-school period was a yellow satin dress. It had a simple bodice with cap sleeves, and --glorious to report! -- three tiers of deep ruffles for a skirt. I was certain I resembled a flower fairy, lacking only a suitable petal-with-stem hat. Haven't worn yellow since...

Goody said...

I'm a water sign, so maybe it is appropriate for me to wear it? I'm getting better about red, but it still isn't my go-to colour.

Foxy Baby is hilarious! Red and pink are wonderful together.

that sounds like quite a dream frock-maybe you got the idea from a movie? You could probably make one-forest green would be a lovely colour on you.

On the positive side, having clothes made for you meant they actually fit properly. As the youngest, I rarely had anything that fit right, including my sister's too-small ice skates ;)

That's getting into John Waters territory!

I'll bet you were a sharp dressed teenager. That's a good idea about the evening gowns-maybe I can put together a video just going through the rail?

@Mrs. Rat
That is such a thoughful compliment, thank you.
If I ever find that dress, I'm never taking it off ;)

I blame growing up around the art school! I'm a terrible artist as it turns out, but I was always good at mixing paint. So much so, that I was often called upon to help match something where there wasn't enough. In more practical use, I've always been good at mixing icing colours for cookies, cakes, etc. and knowing how it would react differently with crisco or butter, etc. Now, if you REALLY want to know how messed-up my poor old brain is, ask me about how I've always assigned colours numbers!

Yellow is hard to wear.

Señora Allnut said...

You totally rocked as a toddler and totally rock Now (even more, if possible!). Love to read about the sequined gown!
And love to see you in Red Knit (with matchy red lipstick and red bag!) and wearing whatever you like! and looking fabulous!.
I like your vinyl boots and totally support the idea of buying in bulk everytime you find something fabulous! (I also regret some 'sensible' decissions I made).
It's a beautiful scarf and it matches the colors in your skirt which is Fabulousness, wowww! and massive rings and bracelet!
Love your classic suit (with both bags!) and how you mix 'conservative' clothes with cool accessories! you rock!