berg & blossoms

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I got this dress for $9 at my favorite local vintage store’s annual liquidation sale. The skirt was much slimmer than I usually prefer, so I’d planned to list it in my Etsy shop…and then I tried it on. I actually – perish the thought – really like it! Something about a straighter-cut silhouette seems mature to me. I love the ’50s, but the decade is tied, in my mind, to teenage culture and the first rumblings of the youthquake. Not really my thing. It’s easier to feel like a society dame, a woman about town, a real matriarch of style in a more sedate ’40s cut. There’s a whimsy to pleats and gathers that I’m not always drawn to.

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The dress’s tag says “Molly Goldberg Original”. A label I’d never heard of, so I went sleuthing. Like many big style names of the day (Toni Todd, etc.), Molly Goldberg was a fictional character – in this case, the radio persona of actress Gertrude Berg. Quoth Berg biographer Glenn D. Smith:

“…Berg went into partnership with the Wentworth Company to produce a line of bargain-basement housedresses. Advertised as ‘America’s best-loved housedresses…for the first time with a label that’s loved and trusted throughout America,’ the ‘Molly Goldberg Original’, sold at Stern’s, Gimbel’s, and Abraham and Strauss in New York, increased sale for the Wentworth Company some 240 percent. ‘[Mrs. Berg] came here the other day to make an appearance in the department,’ a Stern’s executive revealed, ‘and we had a crowd of 600 here to see her. …Her name will sell anything.’

Stepping out of her upstate New York duplex apartment, and her role as a wealthy entrepreneur, Berg was able to demonstrate that Molly was not the only one who could identify with the average woman on the street.”

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It’s only fitting, then, that I add the small-town touch. Winooski is officially confirmed for Quaintness Capital of the World, or at least of the Champlain Valley Metropolitan Area. I saw these blooms and couldn’t not pose with them immediately, even though they smell vaguely fishy.  (Which is apparently a common complaint about this variety of pear tree. Huh.)

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With a hat and gloves purchased on my trip to White River Junction, my “housewife on a jaunt” look was officially complete.

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Dress: vintage Molly Goldberg Original, via Old Gold

Hat: vintage, via Oodles in White River Junction

Gloves: vintage, via Mainly Vintage 

Pearls & shoes: vintage, thrifted

Belt: thrifted

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me-made may: greening up!

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I certainly dropped off the map for a while there, but I swear I had a good reason. It’s Me-Made May, you see! I wanted to debut my latest creation in my first post of the month, but this one was rather…more ambitious than the last.

I’m super excited to celebrate my first Me-Made May. I won’t be wearing only clothes I’ve made, of course but this challenge is a great incentive to hone my seamstress skills and try some new materials. And it’s my birthday on the 24th, so if you’re jonesing to get rid of some vintage cotton, I’ll send the pigeons right over.

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I’ve been on a “dress-and-jacket suit” kick lately. I have only one such set so far, but I love the look. I’ve reserved a couple more on Etsy for after I get my tax return, but when I found this kelly-green fabric ($3/yd at Walmart, sue me), I couldn’t wait anymore. It was the perfect complement to a green flocked tablecloth I’d added to my stash some time ago. It lacked the yardage for a dress, but I wanted to do something special with it nonetheless. So here you have it! Special enough, I think.

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In the interest of full disclosure: I haven’t actually done the buttonholes yet. Buttonholes are an absurdly finicky undertaking, and I was eager to photograph this outfit right here right now. I loved it that much, and the light was perfect. I left a few more details unfinished, but given the magic of magic hour, I don’t think they’re too visible. Late-afternoon light does wonders. These shots are almost totally unedited. The dress really is that green.

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Dress & jacket: handmade by me

Hat: vintage, via Gem’s Vintage Gems on Etsy

Gloves: vintage, via Mainly Vintage in White River Junction

Pearls & shoes: vintage, thrifted

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