me-made may: medievalist



This dress feels marvelously medieval to me. Something about the square neck and the tapestry design. Like I said last time I blogged it, I feel like it could go straight from a Faire to a fifties fete with barely a change in accessories. Today I played up both aspects.  The scarf and glasses (new, from Zenni Optical) were a nod to the ’50s; my gladiator sandals summoned antiquity.

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If you’re interested in submitting to my new magazine, you have until June 15th! I am willing to allow a day or two of leeway, but I want to have all the essays edited and laid out for the first issue’s publication on August 1st.

Please send all submissions to You may copy/paste them into the body of the text, send an attached Word document, or upload them to Google Drive. Check out the FAQ page here if you have questions. I want to read anything you’ve got!

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Dress: made by me

Shoes: Kmart

Glasses: Zenni Optical


berg & blossoms

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I got this dress for $9 at my favorite local vintage store’s annual liquidation sale. The skirt was much slimmer than I usually prefer, so I’d planned to list it in my Etsy shop…and then I tried it on. I actually – perish the thought – really like it! Something about a straighter-cut silhouette seems mature to me. I love the ’50s, but the decade is tied, in my mind, to teenage culture and the first rumblings of the youthquake. Not really my thing. It’s easier to feel like a society dame, a woman about town, a real matriarch of style in a more sedate ’40s cut. There’s a whimsy to pleats and gathers that I’m not always drawn to.

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The dress’s tag says “Molly Goldberg Original”. A label I’d never heard of, so I went sleuthing. Like many big style names of the day (Toni Todd, etc.), Molly Goldberg was a fictional character – in this case, the radio persona of actress Gertrude Berg. Quoth Berg biographer Glenn D. Smith:

“…Berg went into partnership with the Wentworth Company to produce a line of bargain-basement housedresses. Advertised as ‘America’s best-loved housedresses…for the first time with a label that’s loved and trusted throughout America,’ the ‘Molly Goldberg Original’, sold at Stern’s, Gimbel’s, and Abraham and Strauss in New York, increased sale for the Wentworth Company some 240 percent. ‘[Mrs. Berg] came here the other day to make an appearance in the department,’ a Stern’s executive revealed, ‘and we had a crowd of 600 here to see her. …Her name will sell anything.’

Stepping out of her upstate New York duplex apartment, and her role as a wealthy entrepreneur, Berg was able to demonstrate that Molly was not the only one who could identify with the average woman on the street.”


It’s only fitting, then, that I add the small-town touch. Winooski is officially confirmed for Quaintness Capital of the World, or at least of the Champlain Valley Metropolitan Area. I saw these blooms and couldn’t not pose with them immediately, even though they smell vaguely fishy.  (Which is apparently a common complaint about this variety of pear tree. Huh.)


With a hat and gloves purchased on my trip to White River Junction, my “housewife on a jaunt” look was officially complete.

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Dress: vintage Molly Goldberg Original, via Old Gold

Hat: vintage, via Oodles in White River Junction

Gloves: vintage, via Mainly Vintage 

Pearls & shoes: vintage, thrifted

Belt: thrifted

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choo choo

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An alarming – or not so, depending on your opinion of humanity – number of people seem to believe that if you’re dressed old-timey in public, then you necessarily appreciate other old-timey aspects of life as well. Including but not limited to casual sexual harassment.

I wore this outfit to brunch on Sunday morning in White River Junction, when the fellow behind me at the counter decided that grabbing my waist and elbow would be an appropriate way to compliment me. “Oh you look so elegant, are you in a play, you dress like my mother’s generation…” Yick. I sincerely hope you didn’t greet your mother and her friends with casual ass pats.

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When you dress distinctively, you sort of become public property. You’re a walking museum exhibit. Especially when you dress in vintage: you remind people of their collective history. Nostalgia brings out the talkers. In some respects, I expect this. If I’m going to call attention to myself, I should be able to accept questions and (sincere, non-sexual) compliments with grace. But? Even in an actual museum, you don’t touch the exhibits. That goes double when said exhibit is an actual human.


But there’s a silver lining here. If women like me have to deal with unwanted touching, then there’s no way in hell that skimpier-dressed women are “asking for it”. Am I also “asking for it” by wearing your grandma’s hat and gloves? Nonsense. To people with no respect for boundaries, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. They’ll find some excuse.

So if anyone ever says you “shouldn’t have worn that dress” if you didn’t want to be groped or catcalled? Show them this post.

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Dress: ’40s vintage, via War’s End Shop

Hat: vintage, via Gem’s Vintage Gems

Gloves: vintage, via Mainly Vintage in White River Junction (featured in an upcoming post!)

Boyfriend: price on request

Everything else: thrifted


fellow traveler


There are three things in today’s hopper:

Starting off, the first of several posts on my visit to the olde-timey paradise that is White River Junction, Vermont. Josh and I spent this past weekend there for our third (!) anniversary, and if it isn’t a vintage girl’s heaven? Then heaven doesn’t exist. More on that later this week!


This novelty-print dress, purchased from a local brick-and-mortar vintage store and packed away for the trip. A village print to visit a village, because I have to be obnoxiously meta wherever I go. Even better? The dress has not one but two vintage twins on Etsy. That second one is more of a fraternal twin or maybe even a regular sibling, but still! Kristina should buy one and we can blog them together. (Speaking of whom, today is her birthday! Go give her some love.)


You have no idea how long I’ve been sitting on this. No idea. I didn’t want to say a word until everything was finalized and I was holding my byline in my hands, in case it all turned out to be some horrible mistake. But I’ve pinched myself a hundred times and it’s still real: as of today, 04/27/16, one of my short stories has been published in Yale’s Letters Journal. Their mission:

LETTERS  promotes writers and visual artists whose
 work concerns matters of
religion and spirituality. The journal publishes poetry, short fiction, nonfiction, and
visual arts by people of all faiths and those whose faith is lost or yet to be
discovered. With word and image, we gesture toward mystery;
we break the feedback loop of self. LETTERS  is produced by students
from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School.


My co-contributors include Claire Beynon, who has her own Wikipedia page, and Christine Hemp, who teaches at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Letters is a big. deal. I still can’t believe I’m being published alongside someone who teaches writing. At Iowa.

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You can read Letters free online here. The good stuff starts on page 38.





southern belle style | a call to writers!


It’s 36 degrees and – ugh – snowing today, so I’m sharing these photos I shot last week when the mercury was at least twice as high. Spring will shortly resume its regularly scheduled ascent, so I’m only a little grouchy, but still. Gross.

But I’m feeling like a Kentucky Derby belle in this dress from Sartorial Matters. I’d had it on layaway for months, paying it off little by little, and it finally arrived just in time for…snow. Yay. I’m very much looking forward to wearing it this summer, though. Soft, breathable cotton, and pockets! Deep ones at that.

I got the hat for $5 at a synagogue thrift shop. The volunteer at the register told me it had been his grandmother’s. He was in his 50s or so, so she must be at least a hundred. I suspect said grandmother bought it later in life, though – the condition is practically mint, too good to be really ancient.

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And now for something completely different:

I’ve maintained my writing blog, Beginning Our Dissent, for over a year now. I’ve got 203 followers; my most popular post has 223 likes and reblogs. It’s time to climb the ladder. I am officially launching a same-named magazine, to which I encourage anyone and everyone to contribute!

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From my Craigslist ad:

Fledgling magazine seeks writers of all stripes and experience levels willing to share their unconventional ideas. From our website:

Beginning Our Dissent is a marketplace of ideas in microcosm. Six times a year, we present the best, the newest, the most seductive in unpopular opinions.

Want to write for us? It’s easy. Bring me something you’ve gotten flak for. Bring me axes to grind and grains to flail against. Bring me ideas so dangerous you can only publish them anonymously. You had me at “I think”.

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Shoot me an email at to pitch an idea! Any and all experience levels welcome, so long as you abide by our writers’ guidelines.

I’m really excited about this, and I’d love for it to become something. This is where you come in: any shares, forwards, and general tip-offs would be much, much appreciated. Everyone has an axe to grind, after all. Let’s chop something down.


Dress: ’50s vintage, via Sartorial Matters

Hat & gloves: vintage, thrifted

Belt, shoes, & socks: thrifted

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the best little hair day in texas


So I didn’t get dressed today intending to take pictures.  I blogged this dress pretty recently, and I’m admittedly not wearing it here in a particularly new or interesting way. But today is the day I’ve finally mastered proper vintage hair, and that necessitates a blog post no matter what I’m wearing.

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I curled my hair last night, as I’ve grown accustomed to doing. But it was different this time – something about the way I set it just worked. I kept that front curl in place without any spray at all! With my new hat (only $9!) from Bos & Ruby Vintage, I’m feeling the WAC thing hardcore. While my dress collection is New Look to a fault, my taste in hats and hairdos definitely leans more ’40s. The ’50s were whimsical, but something about wartime headwear –  wartime fashion in general, I think – had this palpable romance to it.


I’m not sure how who in the Great Beyond I pleased to get my hair like this, and I’m not sure I can ever do it again. I photographed it from every angle, though. Here’s hoping muscle memory will do the rest.


Dress: vintage, via eBay

Hat: Bos & Ruby Vintage

Gloves, belt, shoes, & brooch: thrifted

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malco maiden


Today in “words I never thought I’d say”: this petticoat is too full.

Well – not too full period. Obviously there’s no such thing. Too full, though, for what turned out to be the majority of my dresses. Only true circle skirts will do: no halves, no three-quarters, no gathered-waist approximations. I have maybe…four dresses able to accommodate this monstrous pouf. Honestly, though? I think it’s worth it.

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After reading Miss Hero Holliday‘s review guide, I was itching for a new petticoat. Literally itching: my only halfway decent petticoat was a thrifted Leg Avenue number made of scratchy nylon mesh. Our Miss Hero gave Malco Modes a 10 out of 10 for comfort, immediately piquing my interest. Then I saw that a) the company has been around for 50+ years and b) their products are 100% American-made. Sold! I’m especially pleased that they’re such an old company. Petticoats are one of the few things I resign myself to buying new, so it’s nice to find a company with a vintage legacy.

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I’m wearing the Malco Modes Jennifer petticoat in ruby red. It is every bit as soft as it looks. In a pinch, I could ball it up and use it as a pillow. Its coverage is excellent – I could wear it as a skirt in its own right, and I probably will. The waist is a little too big. Size L stretches from 27″ to 50″; at 32.5″, I could have even worn the small. I wanted the extra two inches of length that come with the large, though, and in the end I think it’s a fair trade.

And the Jennifer isn’t even the fullest petticoat they make. I’m almost scared to attempt the Michelle

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1940s patio dress: thrifted

Hat: vintage, thrifted

Shoes & belt: old

Petticoat: Jennifer by Malco Modes

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paschal princess


Several weeks ago, I wrote with glee that I had found one of my holy grail vintage items: a nipped-waist New Look suit. I checked it off my “collector goals” list, and since then I’ve been hunting hardcore for the next item down: an authentic ’40s-’50s princess coat.

Guys. You have no idea how few and far between genuine princess coats are. Look up “princess coat large” on Etsy. That’s right – four pages of results, as compared to the usual hundreds. To add insult, most of them aren’t even princess coats. Here is what a princess coat is: a nipped-waist coat with a full skirt. Here is what a princess coat isn’t: a swing coat, a pea coat, an opera coat, a wrap coat, or a trench coat. And yet they make up, oh, 75% of the “princess coats” for sale online. Of the authentic ones, anything really beautiful will invariably be a) hundreds of dollars and b) tiny.

So I’ve been sitting here banging my face against the wall, because this should not be that difficult! It’s not a complicated design. I’m not after authentic Russian mink or hand-stitched couture. Just a coat that, perish the thought, fits over my dresses. I’ve put up with the dreaded petticoat squish for far too long. Not attractive. Not in the least.

And then Calendar Girl Vintage walked into my life…


And at last it is mine. A 1940s princess coat in my exact size, complete with crisp shoulders, wasp waist, and the twirliest skirt you can imagine. For under $150. I still can’t believe it’s real! I am the WWII stewardess of my wildest dreams. This is the kind of coat you pass down to your grandchildren.


I premiered my new coat on Easter Sunday, at my first-ever Latin Mass. Not being Catholic, I felt vaguely blasphemous, but girl’s gotta have Latin. And ecclesiastical Latin is delightful. So crisp and simple – a nice change from Ovid, whose favorite pastime is changing verb endings because “lol why not”.


Coat: vintage, via Calendar Girl Vintage

Hat: vintage, via Gem’s Vintage Gems

Dress: vintage, via brick-and-mortar store

Gloves: vintage, thrifted

Shoes: from Kristina

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young scrappy & hungry

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Like any good theater kid, I’m currently mainlining the soundtrack to Hamilton. I was late to the party, as usual: I never seem to jump into these cultural moments right when the wave is cresting. I prefer to wait until the mania has settled a little and I can enjoy *thing on my own terms. Feels less claustrophobic somehow. But now that I’m a bona fide Hamilton lover…hot damn.

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In case for some reason you don’t know, Hamilton is a hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, founding father and first Secretary of the Treasury.  It’s RENT meets Les Miserables. It’s an unusual marriage of themes, to be sure, but its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is so irrepressibly enthusiastic about both that it just works. I mean, there’s a song about dueling that samples Biggie Smalls’s “Ten Crack Commandments”. Who else would think of that?

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That’s my favorite part, I think: the undeniable enthusiasm. I don’t do detachment. I don’t like ironic nods and half-sneering winks. I value sincerity, and everything about Hamilton is so genuinely sincere that it’s goddamn infectious.

Don’t just take my word for it: Hamilton’s official cast album was “the highest debuting cast recording on the Billboard Top 200 in over 50 years“. Fifty. Years. The show is sold out through July. And I can’t help but be thrilled that a nerdy artist’s love letter to historical minutiae is – not just reaching, but enthralling so many people. I love that there’s still room in the world for obvious passion. Just do your thing loudly enough, insistently enough – like the real Hamilton did! – and people will listen.

Also, Lin-Manuel Miranda is probably an actual genius. That helps too. With a Sondheimian gift for wordplay, I might add.

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Dress: vintage, via eBay

Everything else: thrifted


And now, the part you’ve been waiting for – here are my top five tracks from the musical (subject to change, of course, at any moment). You really should listen to the whole thing in order, given that it’s a sung-through, but if for whatever reason you can’t:

  • Burn. Hooooly Moses. Even if you don’t know the context, I hope you can appreciate that this song is basically the “On My Own” of our time. Plus “you’ve married an Icarus / and he’s flown too close to the sun” is probably my favorite line in the show.
  • Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down). The string section from ~2:10 – 2:20 is my favorite bit of music in the entire show, hands-down.
  • Right Hand Man. The role of George Washington was described in the official casting dossier as “Mufasa meets John Legend” and…yep. I really have no qualms with that.
  • What’d I Miss? I may or may not be in love with Daveed Diggs. That voice…plus, I mean, this.
  • Wait For It. I honestly have no explanation for this one. It’s not at all the kind of song I’m usually drawn too – too smooth, too poppy, too top-40. But it has a downright maddening hook, and I can’t stop listening to it, so it must be a favorite by default.



vernal victory

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Yes, I’m wearing a St. Paddy’s pin, but it’s clear from my three-days-late post how much I actually care about the holiday. In theory, it’s neat, but in practice, living in a college town has deadened my enthusiasm for booze-centric events. On the actual Thursday, I stayed in and vomited by proxy at the idea of mixing beer and Bailey’s.

I must remind everyone, though, that it’s actually St. Paddy’s, and every time someone writes “Patty”, another snake slithers back into Ireland. Though any Always Sunny fan could tell you as much.

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And with that, happy vernal equinox! Or first day of spring, for the plebs. This greenie is hands-down my favorite summer dress. It’s simple and soft and fits me so damn well. I’ve probably blogged it more than I’ve blogged any other single item, and I still haven’t captured just how often I wear it.

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Dress: vintage, via Cat’s Eye Vintage (no longer extant)

Coat & head scarf: vintage, thrifted

Everything else: thrifted