antiquarian’s creed

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I long for ancient things,

for the steel of ancient rings –

for lutes that sing and embers ting/

ling red and bloody rare.

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For silks’ soft fold,

drapes brilliant bold,

for strings of gold and silver bright

upon a threadbare night.

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For parchment dry,

for stones to scry,

for groaning rafters high with dust –

with generations’ must.

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For gems aglow,

for shelves ablaze

with tomes that crow of leaner days.

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When mem’ry, pale and eldritch, sings,

indeed I long for ancient things.


greenchurchxDress: ’40s vintage, via Barge Canal Market

Hat: ’50s vintage, via Barge Canal Market

Words: mine

Everything else: thrifted

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o the rising of the sun / and the running of the deer

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If you’re following me on Instagram (hit me up @quando_porpoise), you’ve seen a couple snaps of my Christmas Eve outfit. Here’s the thing in all its plaid and woolen glory. I wore my favorite suit for the customary Christmas Eve grocery trip with my dad, and for the customary hot chocolate stop on the way home. I changed for church with my mom later, but this Little Red Riding Habit look was perfect for facing the elements.

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Suit: ’50s vintage, via Barge Canal Market

Hat: ’40s vintage, via Fancy Lucky Vintage

Shawl: vintage, thrifted

Everything else: thrifted

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i wanna be the very best

I feel more than a little guilty that 2016 was such a good year for me, both personally and professionally. Like all the cool kids are suffering and I should get off my high horse.  According to pretty much the entire internet, this year was a festering chancre of epic proportions. I won’t deny the bad, but I’m also wary of confirmation bias. Once you’ve decided an entire twelve-month period is irredeemably shitty, you’ve pretty much made your bed. Let’s remember that the world is vast and America isn’t all of it.

2016 was the year I really, truly found an aesthetic that feels Right. Not that previous iterations didn’t also feel right, but this one feels Right. I love going full antiquarian every day. To be unbearably pretentious, it feels like belonging to history itself. As someone who tends toward lonerhood, I think that’s a feeling I really need. 2016 was the year I learned to sew and turned my textile infatuation to full-blown romance. It’s a love I can’t believe I didn’t cultivate earlier. Since April, I’ve made 21 dresses, 5 skirts, 3 tops, and 1 vest, with no sign of slowing my roll anytime soon.

Other bests of 2016:

I read…

I watched…

I listened to…

I visited…

I wrote…

And, finally, I wore…

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me-made: meni, middy, mici | on artifice

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me-made may: greening up | well red

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capture the castle | me-made may: simplicity 65c

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paschal princess | me-made: mimicry

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suits & stranger danger | merrily we roar along

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me-made: bountiful butterick | all for naut

 

ten degrees in the sun

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Throwback to June’s “96 degrees in the shade“, but no hyperbole needed this time. It actually was ten degrees. I shot this and another outfit post (dropping sometime this week!) before realizing that this wasn’t actually how I wanted to die.

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I don’t sacrifice comfort for fashion. As a lifelong northern New Englander, I can’t afford to. We didn’t have snow days; we had days it was so cold the buses couldn’t start. One day I’ll crow cantankerously to my grandchildren: I walked uphill both ways in a blizzard.

It’s essential to my morale, though, that I try to look good anyway. Dressing up sets the tone for my entire day. In these freezing, hidebound days, that means three pairs of tights, a longline bra, and hella woolens.

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Tights, by the way, really are warmer than pants.

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Blouse & skirt: ’50s vintage, via Barge Canal Market 

Hat: ’40s vintage, via Fancy Lucky Vintage

Gloves: vintage, via Mainly Vintage 

Everything else: thrifted

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and to you your wassail too

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Christmas here on My Kingdom for a Hat isn’t quite the affair of Halloween. It’s a more private joy, less performative. But when it comes to my love of medieval and Renaissance music, the winter solstice is my time to shine.

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I’m here to announce that – collective gasp – you don’t have to hate Christmas music! I know seasonal music is right up there with taxes and DMV appointments in “things people love to hate”, but it’s so much more than tinny mall speakers blasting Frosty the Snowman. Here are some of my favorite little-known historical carols that – bless the thought – haven’t yet been overplayed.

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My personal favorite, though, will always be “Adeste Fideles” (or “O Come All Ye Faithful” for the plebs). My iPod boasts literally twelve different versions of it. Some highlights:

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Blazer: ’40s vintage, via Carla Sue Vintage

Dress: Tatted Tina’s Designs

Hat: vintage, thrifted

Everything else: thrifted

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miss dottie doppelganger

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To be brutally honest, sometimes I see pictures of Modern June Cleaver (of Junebugs and Georgia Peaches fame) and think “wait, when did I take that?” Because seriously, look at this chick. The resemblance breaks down in the details, but at a glance…wow.

I like to think she’s an alternate-universe version of me who can somehow keep her curls in the southern heat. She just graduated from law school; I did competitive mock trial in college. Coincidence, or lizard people?

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I’ve also been told I look like Melanie Martinez, Chloe Grace Moretz, and otters. I’m far and away the most delighted by that last one.

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Coat: ’50s vintage, via faeriejess on eBay

Hat: vintage, via Fancy Lucky Vintage

Skirt: ’40s vintage, via Barge Canal Market 

Everything else: thrifted

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helluva hair day

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Tuesday’s outfit was nothing special, but I was too delighted with my fresh curl set not to take some quick pics anyway. My vintage hairstyling skills have come a long, long way over this past year. I wore this exact dress nine months ago to debut my curls It’s a delight, albeit a slightly embarrassing one, to see them looking so much more polished now.

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Dress: via Tatted Tina’s Designs 

Coat: ’50s vintage, via Barge Canal Market 

Hat: ’50s vintage, via Lily’s flash sale

Everything else: thrifted

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luddite tendencies

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You’ll be seeing a lot more of me in 2017, because – feet-dragging though I am – I’ve decided to get a smartphone.

Thing is, I hate them. Honest to God, if all touchscreens blinked out of existence tomorrow, I’d be partying in the streets. They are so counterintuitive I’ve started to suspect it’s a feature, not a bug. I replaced my flip phone with a slidey-keyboard model last year, and that was almost too much for me. I’m quite content here in Luddite nation. Unfortunately, this really isn’t a great look on a blogger.

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I know I should be keeping up the social media end of my blog. I could get infinitely more hits by gramming or tweeting. (Is that the proper terminology? Grandma Skye can’t find her glasses.) It was never worth the hassle of owning a smartphone, though. Yet another expensive gadget to worry about breaking and yell at when it freezes up. It’s just not my thing.

Now that I literally have to get one, though (they just don’t make flip phones anymore), I’m looking forward to the silver lining of joining the vintage Instagram scene. If I’m being honest, that’s really where vintage lives nowadays. I think I’ll actually be pleased to post my daily outfit snaps. Sometimes a full shoot just takes too much executive function.

Plus, catching the Pokemans. I’ve been playing vicariously on Josh’s account, but I long for a Weedle of my very own.

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In the meantime, enjoy some ’40s poshness and the first snow of the year!

Blazer: ’40s, via Velveteen Doll Vintage

Dress: ’70s-does-’40s, via Old Gold

Hat: ’40s, via Gem’s Vintage Gems

Gloves: via Mainly Vintage

Everything else: thrifted

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well red

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I promised y’all a “what I’ve been reading” post an embarrassment of weeks ago, so a “what I’ve been reading” post I’ll give you, dammit. And with my new red blazer from Carla Sue Vintage providing a perfect pun, no less! Here’s what I’ve been enjoying the past month or so.

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell | I tend to skip anything described as “Harry Potter for [insert demographic]”. Harry Potter’s fine and all, but I like my magic much more eldritch.  So imagine my surprise that Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – aka “Harry Potter for adults” – has fast become one of my favorite books. Yeah, there’s wizards, but they might as well be an afterthought to the groundswell of so much more. And yes, that “more” includes properly unsettling fae. No cheerful winged abominations here.

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What I found most interesting about JS&MN, I think, was that it actually made me root against secular Enlightenment values. Despite my tastes in fiction, I’m pretty much a skeptic in all things. A lady of logic and reason. The titular Mr Norrell, though, in representing secular modernity, is such a fusty old jackass that one finds oneself screaming, “just shut up and use faerie magic, you fool!” In standing up for logic, he’s the worst kind of prescriptivist. I didn’t even realize until I’d finished the book that my usual alliances had been totally upended. That’s damn good storytelling.

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Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America | I’ve got a couple chapters to go yet, but so far it’s quite solid. I’ve always enjoyed social history, and for a while now I’ve been particularly interested in Puritan societies, especially their sexual norms. To that end, Intimate Matters told me damn near everything I’d wanted to know. It’s an academic, not a pop, text, and therefore quite dense, but fascinating once you commit to biting in. Who knew that Puritans weren’t quite as, well, Puritanical as they’re made out? They proscribed premarital sex, but once you were hitched, pleasure was an important part of marriage. The notion of women as chaste and passionless didn’t really take hold until a few generations later, when the Industrial Revolution began to separate male and female “spheres”. With more young people working away from home, women were more vulnerable to pregnancy and abandonment than they had been in the family-centered past; parents instilled sexual hesitancy in their daughters in the name of keeping them safe.

It blows my mind that seemingly inexplicable social forces map out so neatly in hindsight. Humans are pretty predictable, honestly. I wonder what they’ll say about 2016 in fifty years.

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Cold Hand in Mine | I bought this Robert Aickman story collection on the spot after seeing that it contained my favorite work of his, “The Hospice”. I’m only two stories in, but I am very pleased to find them both spiritual successors to said Hospice. Aickman is one of my favorite authors first because he’s just plain weird, and second because he gives me that feeling precious few authors give me: the feeling of that could be mine. Aickman’s work feels distinctly like something I am capable of creating, a sensibility I’ll soon be able to master. It gives me something to strive for.

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Blazer: ’40s vintage, via Carla Sue Vintage

Blouse: ’50s vintage, via 1919 Vintage

Hat: ’50s vintage, via Twice Upon a Time

Skirt: ’50s vintage, thrifted

Shoes: gift from Kristina!

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