springing forward, sliding back

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The deeper in love a person falls with vintage, I find, the further they slip into the past. So many vintage ladies and gentlemen start out as master thrifters, hauling home the best of the ’80s and ’90s: all the polyester you can eat. Soon the bug has burrowed under your skin, and you begin hunting in earnest. Before long, you’ve gone from a casual collector of retro duds to an expert on Edwardian hemlines. Soon you won’t be able to rest until you’ve tracked down an authentic lampshade tunic.

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Once you’ve found yourself pricing Regency bonnets, just surrender. No one is free of sin.


The 1950s are entry-level. It’s what most people out there in modernity picture when they hear “vintage”: housewives, greasers, petticoated rockabilly babes. Metonymy for the word itself. Not that there’s a damn thing wrong with it – hell, ask me how many ’50s dresses I own – but the longer I live in the vintage scene, the more I hunger for what else is out there. I feel my taste sliding back, hitting each decade like a marimba’s mallet. I started last year in full skirts and hairbows. I’m starting this one in tailored wool and grandma’s pincurls. I’m longing for the early ’40s and even the ’30s. Slim hips and crepe dresses populate my wishlist of late.

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I used to hate straight skirts, really truly hate them, but I gotta say – I’ve rarely felt sexier then when I first zipped this one and shimmied my hips into place. They feel more adult, somehow, than their fuller counterparts. No longer a fresh-faced babe but a woman who’s seen privation and come out the other side. They feel like armor.

And the main drag of Essex Junction, Vermont, made a perfect small-town backdrop while I killed time waiting for my train. Paint me in sepia and age the cars a few decades, and these photos could be a family heirloom.

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Blazer: ’40s vintage, via Small Earth Vintage

Blouse: ’50s vintage, via 1919 Vintage

Skirt: ’40s vintage, via Old Gold

Hat: vintage, thrifted

Everything else: thrifted

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Author: skye

I aspire to be a bright-eyed girl in a big city, even though I wear glasses and live in what amounts to a hole in the ground.

2 thoughts on “springing forward, sliding back”

  1. Wow, could there BE a better spot to snap pics of this outfit? You nailed it! I also love the color pallet here – the brown/green/red combo is just luscious!

  2. I totally hear you on this sentiment. I know many who have said the same thing. For me, I started in the 60s and 70s. I remember being in love with Jeannie’s outfit (after marriage, when she wore more clothes) and my mother still had a great deal of her clothes from the 60s and 70s that she gave to me to wear. I wore a plum wool shift dress for an 8th grade choir concert. From then I continued to fall back until I hit the 40s. I couldn’t find much in the way of 30s and the 20s positively hate me. And since then I’ve actually returned to the late 60s and into the 70s.

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