a wine-dark suit for the wine-dark sea

Once again, I’m sharing photos over a month late. I wish I could claim some fashionable reason for holding onto them: affecting coquetry, perhaps, or waiting for Mercury to exit retrograde. Nope – I’m just busy as hell. And social media, as always, has two equally sharp edges. I like being able to share momentary snaps when a full blog post isn’t feasible – when things are all or nothing, it’s too easy to default to “nothing”. The middle ground is welcome.

On the other hand, with Instagram at my fingertips, it’s easy to forget why I choose “old media” in the first place. At heart, I truly don’t believe 140 characters or a single phone-size shot is enough. “Why blog when I can ‘gram?” is a fallacy of a question. They’re totally different experiences. And I agree with Nora – I’d rather experience longform.)

Anyway. On the cusp of summer’s end, I’m posting my fourth annual Ogunquit pinup shots. (Previous years’ here, here, and here.) Swimwear is the one arena where I’ll absolutely choose repro over true vintage. Not that I’d kick a ’50s maillot outta bed, but – I love to swim. I’m not a sunning type, and I respect vintage fabric too much to torture it with salt and sand. I’m also too infrequent a beachgoer to spend $100+ on a suit. My $25 “vintage-inspired” versions from the Amazon warehouse are good enough for me.

And I fully admit that I bought this particular colorway to make “wine-dark sea” puns all trip long.

me-made: i’ve been spotted

I’ve got a frankly bipolar relationship with the 1930s. The decade’s strongest stylistic notes are clearly cribbed from its two adjacent ones. Bring on your slender proto-’40s bias cuts, your flappers-all-grown-up. It’s an obviously transitional period, and those are always the most visually interesting. Unadulterated by influence, though, the 1930s fashion is basically western womenswear’s collective awkward phase. Who decided puffed sleeves and pleated yokes were a good idea? Who decided they should be worn together? No matter how otherwise elegant, anyone in a ’30s day dress looks a little – or a lot – like Minnie Mouse.

And yet I still bought this pattern. Simplicity 8248. I was determined to give Minnie another go. That, and I wanted the challenge of those bodies pleats, because oooh. Now, my first attempt at this pattern will never, ever see the light of day. It was that bad, folks. My first mistake was the use of a heavy green linen – too thick and dark for such a youthful silhouette. My second mistake was not slimming down the sleeves. Though the dress was well executed overall, the schlumpy fabric and puffy shoulders screamed “Talbot’s office dress thrifted circa 1998”. And I would never bum you guys out like that.

For the second iteration, I ditched those sleeves and drafted my own. That, plus a brighter, lighter fabric (thrifted pillowcases!) helped a lot. I’m still not sure how much I’ll wear this dress day-to-day, but it was just enough whimsy to pack for my trip to Maine. The rules are different at the beach.


me-made: of every stripe

I’m back from my annual Ogunquit gallivant. It’s taken me a solid few days to get over not drinking at three in the afternoon, but ya girl’s powered through. I’ve got so many photos to post that it feels, just a little bit, like I’m still battling the surf.

I’d meant to finish this dress for my birthday back in May. Failing that, I set my sights on Maine, and I finished just in time. Guys, matching up bias-cut stripes is hell on earth and no one can tell me otherwise. How I tortured those poor pleats! But it paid off: my goal for this look was “off-duty nurse at Coney Island”, and that’s exactly what my mom, totally unprompted, said I looked like.

It was the perfect fit for my third annual Ogunquit Memorial Library photoshoot. I vowed two years ago that someday I’d buy this place, and – well, it would behoove me to be less grabbyhands about historical buildings. But the desire is there. Somewhere deep inside, a preservationist shrieks mutely about kids and lawns.

Dress: made by me, no pattern

Hat: The Vintage Hat Shop