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


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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the blues

bluecurlsII bluecurlsVIIIThis was the first vintage hat I ever bought. Twenty bucks at a neighborhood thrift joint, and I was a goner: there was no turning back.  It languished in my Etsy shop for over a year before I saw sense and tucked it back into my personal collection. I’d love to wear it more often, but a piece like this – real fur, guys – demands center stage in whatever outfit it’s lucky enough to complete. A plaid dress from Lucky Dry Goods, plus matching belt & necklace for a pop of kitsch, was just the thing.

As my style evolves toward elegance, my taste in hats grows somehow bolder. A simple day dress, a standout coat, and a veritable monster atop my head? 20 ccs of that, please.

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Hat & gloves: vintage, thrifted

Dress: ’50s vintage, via Lucky Dry Goods on Etsy

Coat: ’40s vintage, via Calendar Girl Vintage on Etsy

Necklace, belt, & shoes: thrifted

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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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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



red on a grey day

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For the past month I’ve had an almost-sore throat that keeps threatening to bloom. At this point I’d just rather get sick and be done with it. Give me heaven or hell – just get me out of purgatory, ya know? I don’t have much to say today, so I’ll draw on today’s witchy skies and share some of my favorite stories from reddit’s original horror forum, NoSleep.


My taste in horror runs more to the spine-tingling than the overtly grotesque. If you’re craving a scare that settles in your lungs and slithers into your lizard brain by night – well, you’ll enjoy these.

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And finally –

  • Real hunger can’t be fed. I know that now – this is my favorite short story of all time. Not “favorite on NoSleep”. Favorite. Ever. It’s the thing I reread when I want to remember why I write, and it never fails to reignite whatever’s flickered.



beware the pides of march


If the 15th is the Ides of March, it stands to reason that the 14th is the Pides, right? Et tu, Frute!

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I’ve been reading the Metamorphoses lately. In its original Latin, which I’m very pleased is an ability I haven’t lost. I’d been worried that my Latin had slipped, but I guess I’ve made like one of Hannibal’s elephants and locked that shit down tight. An hour or so of reviewing my verb endings and it all came back.


I’ve been out of school for three years this May, and lingua latina remains my favorite subject in the world. Latin class was the reason I didn’t drop out of high school and graduated a sort-of-sane person. I’ve studied a few other languages, but it’s not the same. It’s not like this. Latin makes sense to me. When I decode a sentence bit by bit, when I puzzle out the difference between identical cases, when all the “t”s are crossed and the macrons positioned and each suffix properly attached, the whole world feels a little better.

Dead language my foot. If I do nothing else in this world, I’ll bring Latin a little more to life, and I’ll be happy.

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I’m not a Classics nerd, not really. I can take or leave ancient Rome as a historical period; I’m far more interested in other eras. But Latin grammar is one of the most beautiful things in my world. I don’t even need to read Ovid. I’d be happy doing verb drills for hours and charting every possible use of the ablative.


Dress: Retrolicious, also worn here

Cardigan, petticoat, brooch, shoes, stole: thrifted

Hat: vintage, via Gem’s Vintage Gems, also worn here and here  blackgreenX

I wore this outfit on Saturday night to a friend’s bowling-alley birthday party. Josh dared me to bowl in a full petticoat, and I’m pleased to announce I hit a whopping 86. Which, for me, is excellent.

And my ladies and I looked all the hotter at the club afterward.



petticoats & pattern-matching


Does anyone else feel they have a stronger-than-average tendency toward finding patterns in every. single. thing?

The fancy name for this is “apophenia”. And it describes my brain exactly. If I see a group of three things, I’m immediately, even subconsciously, finding what each pair in the group has in common that the odd one out lacks. For as long as I can remember, I’ve seen number sequences in a distinct pattern. (So does my mother, actually, and so did her father before he died. And they are the only two people I’ve ever met who experience this thing or even understand what I’m talking about when I mention it. It’s profoundly weird to me that anyone doesn’t see numbers in a pattern, though. How do you count?!)

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When something significant happens in my life, or even just adjacent to my life, my first impulse is to find things that augured it. “I started dating this person, and a week ago I had a customer at work who was wearing the same brand of shirt that he was wearing on our first date, so it must have been foretold.” We laugh at those “666 in my cereal – ILLUMINATI” videos, but- that’s what it’s actually like inside my head. Given enough time, I can find Jesus in any piece of toast.

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Hat: vintage, via Gem’s Vintage Gems

Dress: handmade vintage reproduction, via eBay

Collar: made by Emily!

Gloves, petticoat, tights, & shoes: thrifted, gifted, or old


I never paid much attention to this particular feature of my mind until I mentioned it to a friend recently. And he was floored. “That’s a goddamn superpower right there,” he insisted. It’s so strange to me to hear my daily life described that way, and even more so because it doesn’t seem all that unusual to me. I can’t be the only one, right? Fellow apopheniacs, tell me your woes!

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windy bop


It’s not that I have writer’s block, exactly. It’s more the opposite. I have so many ideas that they’re stuck in the door, and I can’t quite bring any of them to fruition. Working on one project means I’m not working on the others, after all. I can’t have that. So I lie awake with thoughts pooling in my eardrums, and I hope one of the five(?) stories I’m writing will eventually assume precedence.

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Hell, I’m having enough trouble just writing this post. Have a bit of my latest while I go attempt to unstick my gears.


I told the wood that Momma’s getting bad. Last night there was weeping until the small hours. I couldn’t sleep. I came up by her bedside and I lay down my head like I used to do, but she just bawled that I bring her a switch. After that I really couldn’t sleep.

This morning I carried the water and I carried the wood, and on my way back from the forest, I told the trees my mind. I told them I didn’t sleep anymore. I told them Momma’s hand grips that switch like a seventh finger. After the telling I felt a little better. The leaves wagged at me. I like trees better with leaves. They don’t leer like winter’s skinny ones. I like friendly trees.

I told the trees my mind, and I think I left a piece of it with them. Like I dropped something behind me and they sucked it up into their roots. Like they pulled out little threads from my head and made a nest of them. I don’t mind. I like friendly trees.

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