96 degrees in the shade

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I returned from camp on Saturday, enjoyed some Thai food and a few drinks, and began resting for the next adventure: I’m flying to California the day after tomorrow! I’m being sponsored to shoot a friend’s wedding. Flying me out and putting me up, they claimed, was cheaper than hiring a local photographer. It’s my second working vacation in two weeks, but who I am to turn down free tickets to the San Francisco Bay? Not a damn fool, that’s who.

In my precious few days at home, I’ve finished sewing a killer dress for the wedding, ordered a backup camera battery and five spare SD cards ($19.99 on Amazon!), and fretted magnificently about navigating the airport by myself. I arrive in San Fran at 1 am Friday morning, and I’ll have to keep track of hundreds of dollars worth of camera equipment while my body thinks it’s the crack of dawn. Anyone want to come chaperone me? I’m taking applications.

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Dress: ’50s vintage, via Sartorial Matters

Brooch: vintage, via flea market

Everything else: thrifted

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daisies & day dresses

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Quick one today – I’m teaching at a summer program this week, and thoroughly enjoying a break from the usual fuss.  Sandals, summer dress, and a swipe of lipstick. No curlers or corsets. I empathize more with the “dowdy teacher” stereotype than I ever have – when you’re teaching middle schoolers, all you want is a comfy bra and sensible shoes.

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Dress: ’40s vintage, via War’s End Shop

Brooch: vintage, via flea market

Everything else: thrifted

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me-made: atomic americana

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And with that, the vintage checklist shrinks a little more!

I’d wanted an atomic print something-or-other for ages. It’s one of my favorite midcentury trends, all the more so for how strange it is. The weirdest things go viral sometimes. But designs inspired by atomic diagrams were indeed a Big Damn Thing in the 1950s. Some abstract, some not, all of them kitschy as ever-loving hell.

Some people claim that “atomic” refers to radiation clouds from atomic bombs. To them, I say: don’t be morbid. That’s my job.

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This isn’t actually a vintage atomic print dress. They’re collectors’ items at this point, and I am a collector on a budget. But the design was influential enough that I happened to find it on a $4 Goodwill bedsheet, and this dress was born. Thanks to Vogue 8789, it was finished in an afternoon. I’ve used it a couple of times, but I’m continually astounded by how easy that pattern is. Highly recommended for the beginning seamstress.

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A breezy summer dress in a midcentury print is about as Americana as it gets. My tree-lined neighborhood? Almost sickeningly so. But we understand each other, me and kitsch. Of course I went all in. Bonus points if you spotted the matching hairbow.

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i would mourn the wicked

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Feeling positively Elphabaic in my me-made dress suit. And the hat is pretty Galindafied, don’t you think? The second of my birthday hats from my mom, dubbed a “head thimble” by my partner. I finished off the look with this appropriately garish flea-market brooch. Kristin Chenoweth would be proud.

I’m definitely feeling the musical theater theme today: Hamilton won eleven Tonys on Sunday night! Just short of the all-time high of twelve, but nothing to sneeze at. And it’s all the sweeter for the fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda (composer, playwright, lead) is only 36 years old. As a precocious kid myself, I’ve always instinctively rooted for the young’uns. Watching Jeopardy, I always bet on the player who looks youngest. I feel kinship with wunderkinds. And I really hope I have half as many feathers in my cap when I’m Miranda’s age.

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Suit: made by me

Brooch: vintage, via flea market

Hat: vintage, gifted

Shoes: gifted

Petticoat: thrifted

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paying homage

rbIVWhen I first discovered one of my favorite vintage blogs, Polka Polish, this post was the one that officially hooked me. I’d never thought to pair stately brown with a hidden flash of red! When I found this brown vintage dress a few weeks ago, I roped my Malco Modes petticoat and the birthday hat from my mom into a version of my own. And I love it! I hadn’t planned on premiering this particular dress until the fall, but we’ve had an unexpected chilly snap this week. Longer sleeves are just the thing.

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Dress: ’50s vintage, via Old Gold

Hat: ’50s vintage, from Mom

Petticoat: Malco Modes, also worn here 

Gloves: vintage, thrifted

Belt & purse: thrifted

Shoes: won in a contest

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me-made: the accidental bride

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I really didn’t intend this shoot to look so, well, bridal. The dress is much bluer in person, its flowers far more prominent. It’s why I picked the fabric. But at a distance on a hazy day, it’s summer elopement incarnate. That much more so with the hat. I’m used to getting strange looks when I take pictures in public, but with these, I got veritable gawks. With good reason, honestly – I must’ve looked like some would-be Miss Havisham, waiting in vain for a prince to come.

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I love the dress, though. Another summer staple. I used a Goodwill bedsheet and Vogue 8789, and it came together beautifully. Definitely the easiest dress I’ve made so far. I added a back zip – pullovers and I don’t get along – and nixed the cummerbund in favor of blue rickrack. And I stitched a decorative button to the point of the V, just ’cause.

The shoulders could use a little cinching, but that’s a quick fix. And my own damn fault for accidentally cutting the neckline to size 22 instead of 20.

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I took these photos in the real-people part of town. Gates, gardens, gentrification. The works. Though I was quite amused to smell something unmistakable drifting through the window of the nearest condo. Even the other half gets stoned.

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Dress: Vogue 8789, made by me

Hat & gloves: vintage, thrifted

Shoes & brooch: thrifted

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