I don’t know what it is about pink, but it’s decidedly worn out its welcome. Ever since I stopped dyeing my hair pink, I haven’t been able to stomach the color. Too twee, too cloying, too Pepto-Bismol for my palate. This dress is about as close as I’m able to take, but goddamn can I take it. ’30s crepe in the most luscious raspberry? Check, check, check. I found it on Instagram over the summer, snapped it up immediately, and waited three agonizing months to finally pull it out.
It’ll be a short one today – I’m currently drowning in schoolwork, freelance work, and the semester capstone project that’s due in two weeks. I’m a husk of a functioning person, but at least I can look appropriately bitchin’. I’ve said this a million times, but it remains true: there’s no better way to telegraph “don’t fuck with me” than to dress like someone’s grandma. Does the chick in the feathered hat care what anybody thinks?
Here’s an easy tell that I took these photos almost a month ago: no ring! Way back when, I used to post photos as soon as I edited them. Nowadays I definitely opt for quality over quantity. I’d rather wait until I actually have something meaningful to say.
Plus, who’s got time for that? I post once a week on a good week; managing twice means busting out the champagne. In addition to my full-time job, I’ve fallen right down the museum studies rabbit hole.
And my god, I do love it. I’ve always struggled with academic motivation, no matter how much I enjoy any given subject. I was worried that I’d revert to slacking, but – not so! I’m working my girdled butt off here, and I’m honestly delighted to be doing so. I think I’m so motivated because this doesn’t feel abstract for me. It’s tangible investment in a career that I very much want.
I’ve flirted with so many career paths in my life, but they all seem to boil down to this. I love stories, I love history, I love textiles. I love humanizing the past, and I love unlocking a whole world by examining its effects. I’ve thrown myself variously at writing, at theater, at costume design, but there was never much there there. Museum studies pulls it all together and then some. Everything has risen, as they say, and now it must converge.
And on a more material note, how sweet is this dress? It was listed as ’50s on eBay, but I’d put money on it being ’40s or even late ’30s. The side zip, the shoulder pads, the fluted hem – open and shut. If it’s ’50s, it’s a damn good decoy.
BREAKING: Charlotte Gibson debuts her latest Gibson Guy, a plucky little fellow called Charles Dana – after the artist, of course. Available in print November 1897!
This is possibly my most esoteric Halloween costume yet, surpassing even 2012’s “partially decapitated Isadora Duncan”. Charles Dana Gibson, of course, is the creator and primary artist of the Gibson Girl pinup series. “A Gibson Girl, but alive and holding a picture of the artist himself” started as a drunken #showerthought, but it was too delightfully pretentious not to attempt.
I drafted the blouse from my trusty 59 Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns. Like most things I make, I finished it at the eleventh hour. There’s still some weirdness going on with the back yoke; clever eyes can spot the safety pins. Hey, if you’re not constantly screwing up, there’s nothing to make do and mend, right?
Not a bad likeness!
We take Halloween seriously in my house. My partner and I took the day off work to wander around the Shelburne Museum in costume. It was the last day for the outdoor exhibits, and a chilly one at that, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Which I was very grateful for when he hustled me aboard the beached Ticonderoga … and asked me to marry him.
Yup! A Halloween proposal – which, if I’m being honest, I knew was coming. I still enjoyed suspending disbelief and shrieking all bridezilla-like when he pulled out the ring.
And that wasn’t the only surprise: he’d bought VIP tickets to our favorite haunted attraction, Nightmare New England in Litchfield, NH. It was a six-hour round trip in a corset, but I got to spend Halloween night chased through the woods by cannibals with my brand-new fiance. In full Victorian dress, because it’s not Halloween unless you’re living dangerously.
Plus, my ring is kinda objectively To Die For.
Halloween ain’t over until I say it’s over, and I definitely do not say it’s over. I’m gonna drag this thing out until it’s pleading for mercy. Here’s costume #1: Mina “Margery” Crandon, the psychic who nearly bested Harry Houdini and almost certainly banged him.
I learned about Margery and her dalliance with the Handcuff King at the Springfield Steampunk Festival back in September. Who knew that Houdini, in his later years, became obsessed with rooting out faux mediums and even acted in such capacity for Scientific American? I didn’t! Nor did I know that Margery, his foremost nemesis, was so engaging in her own right.
Card-carrying skeptic that I am, I’m solidly on Houdini’s side. But I kinda can’t help but love Margery Crandon, the whole “exploiting people’s grief” thing be damned. I’m a fool for flappers, and Margery took the New Woman’s ethos to its most dramatic conclusion. Who says a lady can’t be anything she wants? Even an abject fraud?
In costume as Crandon, I wore the authentic 19teens dress I got for an absolute song on eBay last summer. My living room made a damn good backdrop. And this isn’t even my final form – I’ve got another, grander costume to share this weekend!
And the real thing…