happy belated

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I’ve written about becoming a more private person (I could link to it, but that might defeat the purpose), and that informs my celebration of holidays like Valentine’s Day. I no longer want to perform my relationships for the world. Which isn’t to say I’d shame those who do – it’s just no longer my thing, and the unspoken obligations of bloggerdom grate on me. I think I’m developing a crotchety streak to match my old-lady clothes.

That said, this weekend I visited the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium with my partner of four years for a belated Valentine, and it was a jolly time. I offered a preview of my red suit on instagram (@quando_porpoise); now here’s the thing in all its bloody glory.

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I have wanted a bright red full-skirted suit for approximately ever. I’ve long lusted after Frances’s version (all her suits are enviable, honestly), and when I found my bright red jacket a few months ago, I was that much closer. Still, I was only halfway there, and taking a break before the job is done isn’t half as satisfying. For the past three months I’ve hunted. As of last week, I finally, finally found the perfect complementary skirt. Many thanks to 1919 Vintage (whence I also purchased this ’50s blouse)!

I’ll tell you a secret: this skirt is actually ’70s. I know, I know. But a piece like this is timeless. I have no problem  buying newer vintage as long as it’s appropriately classic. I’d wear a white blouse or pair of good loafers from any era. It’s the trends that squick me. Anything that screams ’70s or ’80s. Or worse, pieces that try and fail to capture a certain era. Sometimes I still have nightmares about ’80s-does-’40s dresses with elastic waists.

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Jacket: ’40s, Carla Sue Vintage

Blouse: ’50s, 1919 Vintage

Skirt: ’70s, 1919 Vintage

Hat: ’50s, eBay

Everything else: thrifted

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damsels, dames, & dior

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It snowed a foot and the winds are punishing, but this is what I opted to do with my snow day. You don’t get between a woman and a long-dead midcentury designer, that’s for damn sure. Dior’s “New Look” collection launched seventy years ago yesterday, and a late homage is better than none.

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I’m not wearing much ’50s anymore, but Dior will always have a seat at my proverbial table. Whether or not you dig the full-skirt-nipped-waist thing, you gotta admire the man for defining an entire decade’s sartorial grammar. What do you think when you think “vintage”? ’50s. What do you think when you think “’50s”? Housewives in two dozen yards of pleats. That’s Dior. What other designer is so thoroughly metonymic?

For the New Look’s 70th anniversary, I married two of my favorite Dior looks: hat and pleats plus the trademarked Dior slouch. I’m enjoying a sharper silhouette lately, but this soft, feminine outfit was a welcome valentine from one of the greatest designers of his day.

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Dress: Tatted Tina’s Designs

Jacket: ’50s, Cheshire Vintage

Hat: ’50s, Barge Canal Market

Gloves: vintage, thrifted

Shoes: thrifted

 

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cig figs

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I never thought I’d own a pair of cigarette pants, but fifty years ago no one thought we’d put a man on the moon. Shit happens. I picked up these pants at The Getup Vintage on my most recent trip to Montpelier. We went in search of a Kabuto nest, but ended up with a few Slowpokes and a tuna melt instead. Again: shit happens.

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I was going for an explicitly casual look, inspired by this sort of thing (and this, and this), but of course I still got asked what I was all dressed up for. I’ve got fance in my very blood, it seems. That said, I’m consciously exploring a middle ground. I’ve never really had one: it’s either curls ‘n’ corsets or ketchup-stained pajamas. I don’t wear curlers to the gym or cute vintage pajamas. When the panopticon switches off, I’m slobbin’ it with the best of them. Pants, sweaters, and victory rolls are perfect for the days when my heart says bed but my wallet says work.

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Pants: ’50s, The Getup Vintage

Blouse: ’50s, eBay

Hat: ’40s, Luvsick Vintage

Everything else: thrifted

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a quick remix

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“Local Vermonter sick of winter” is hardly a press-stopping sentiment, yet here we are. At least February’s short length means that something upstairs loves us. Or so I keep telling myself.

You’ve almost definitely seen this outfit, or parts of it, on Instagram (@quando_porpoise). It’s one of my go-to work outfits lately.  I’m trying to reconcile my ’50s dresses with my newfound love of older silhouettes, and I really like this solution. Nothing like a sharply tailored jacket to take an outfit back a decade or two.

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Blazer: ’50s, Barge Canal Market

Dress: ’50s, now-defunct web shop

Collar: ’50s, The Getup Vintage

Hat: ’40s, thrifted

Everything else: thrifted

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pieces de resistance

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I’ve thought a lot about fashion as resistance lately. It’s part, I think, of why I’m suddenly drawn to the ’30s and ’40s: art that comes out of tragedy is more interesting. Anyone can doll up in petticoats when the living is easy. To keep making things beautiful while the world falls apart – that takes something else. Guts. Respect for impermanence, too. Yeah, in the scheme of things, there’s no real point, no teleology of beauty. So what? Deciding to live when you know you’re gonna die is the biggest fuck-you I can imagine.pantshatiipantshatvipantshatxii

Don’t let anyone call your art, whatever it is, frivolous. Resisting oppression is about emphasizing the good as much as fighting the bad. It’s about tiling the world so densely with noble ideals that there’s no room for hate. It’s about building a world worth standing up for, and any such world will by god include beauty and joy and lightness. It’s not about distraction. It’s about not letting anyone take those things away.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A hat tells those who’d cage you: I will never bow my head.

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I’m working on an article for Bustle about precisely this: fashion as visible resistance. Fashion as tangible joy. I’m leading with French women’s “fuck Nazis” hats, and I’d love to hear from their modern counterparts as well. If you’re a woman (especially a religious or ethnic minority) who wields fashion like a weapon, give me a ring! I’m looking for any and all interview subjects. You can find out more on my writing blog. Please boost this! I’m hoping to harness as many perspectives as I can.

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Pants: ’40s vintage, via Old Gold

Jacket: ’40s vintage, via Cheshire Vintage

Hat: ’30s vintage, via Barge Canal Market

Coat: ’40s (?) vintage, gifted

Everything else: thrifted

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