the magic shoot

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This is, hands-down, my favorite photo spot ever. Ever ever ever. I don’t use it very often, because variety and all, but every time I do, my shots come out looking baller and a half. Witness: here, here, and here. (Also witness: how long my hair has gotten! I stopped cutting it last year just before Halloween, and I can’t wait until it’s long enough for fancy Victorian updos.)

But seriously, this place. I live in an old mill town, and though most of the mills & attendant waterways have been refurbished, to serve as museums or shopping malls, a few have been left to crumble. This is one of them. It’s well enough preserved that I don’t feel like a bull in a china shop, but rundown enough to be interesting. There’s something ineffable here. The light is always perfect and the air is always crisp and I never get flustered or frustrated or drop my camera. Everything just…flows here.

My dress is vintage via Rusty Zipper. I’ve worn it on the blog before, but I’ve since modified it. I didn’t care for the original ’70s-tastic sleeves. My shoes are men’s loafers I dug out of a thrift-store dollar bin, and they are seriously the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. You ever find something so comfy that wearing it in public feels like cheating, like you’re just waiting for everyone to notice you’re actually wearing pajamas? Yeah, these shoes. They’re practically slippers.

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Dress: vintage, via Rusty Zipper

Hat: old & beloved

Everything else: thrifted

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plaid, petticoat, & an assault on the eyeballs

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I wore this outfit antiquing on Sunday, and the little old ladies were swooning. “Is that a petticoat? I haven’t seen one of those in years!” I like being their blast from a past they thought was dead and buried. I like the feeling of keeping something once-precious alive.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’d rather be stuck in history than progressing for progress’s sake. I’d rather be rooted than erratic. I’d rather respect the past than barge blindly into the future.

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And during said day of antiquing, I found two of the shiniest treasures ever.

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The first was a 1950s wedding set. Dress, crown, train, purse, garter. In perfect condition, barely yellowed. For TWENTY DOLLARS. “When’s your wedding?” the shopkeeper asked in response to my hyperventilation. “Eventually,” I told her. The dress doesn’t even fit me, and I don’t want to get married in white anyway. But twenty dollars is a pittance for such a slice of history.

The second was an authentic Victorian embroidered coat. Also in perfect (well, almost perfect) condition. For…

TWELVE DOLLARS.

It’s black and ankle-length and fits like it was made for me. I am not sure I will ever wear it, because of course I would fall in the mud two steps out of the house if I ever tried. But it is the oldest thing I own, and I can practically feel the ghosts waking up.

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red polka dots & orange stripes

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I love, love, love square-dancing dresses. I’m not sure exactly how this particular style came to be called so, but I love the immediate association with soft twangs and towering hair. Frills and poufs forever, especially on the first day of spring.

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A very eager girl approached me as I was shooting and asked to help. She didn’t seem likely to steal my camera, so I handed it over and she took the above shot. Pretty nice! Strangers’ reactions to my photo shoots have always been positive. I hear horror stories about deliberate sabotage and snickering behind backs, but that’s never been the case for me. Lots of staring, sure. But I’m kind of asking for that.

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let down your hair (vintage florals & competing shades)

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Let down your hair to me,

I asked,

and watched the sly uncurling.

Silk-bound secrets shook their shackles

and I learned what morning meant.

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Let down your hair,

I asked, a tease –

golden secrets winking back.

I climbed her form and kissed her face.

I paused and watched

her bloom stretch on forever.

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Let down your hair

“I can’t tonight: the babe is wailing

something fierce, the floor’s unswept,

and don’t forget the winter’s on its way.”

Her face was drawn – not a challenge

but a law.

I shut my mouth and watched

the morning turn to noon.

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Let down your hair – “it’s too late for that now,

don’t you see these wrinkles,

these sags,

this much-too-softness,

these hollows where once I was firm.

Don’t you know evening

when it strokes your ragged face?”

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Let down your hair,

I whispered,

as though she could hear,

as though her hollows and softness and sags

hadn’t deafened her lovely ears.

As though midnight weren’t on our trail.

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My darling, my darling, let down your hair

That I might climb that (silver) stair.

 

dressember quickies

Lest you forgot that I live in Ver-fucking-Mont, it’s been really cold. I’m writing this in bed swaddled in six blankets and a lover, and my feet still can’t get warm. The low tonight is 5, with wind chills of -4. So you’ll forgive my recent dearth of outfit pictures, I’m sure.

I am, however, still participating in Dressember and still fundraising for the International Union of Sex Workers. And I’ve been photographing my daily dresses, with plans for weekly round-ups (rounds-up?). Hoping to share actual outfit shoots as soon as I can. I could also post the million photos I’ve taken of my Christmas decorations, but I feel that sort of thing oversaturates the blogosphere. I really have no interest in matchy-matchy Pinterest culture, and as much as it seems ingrained in fashion blogging, I want to resist its pull for as long as I can.

Feeling like a living doll (with Twiggy eyes) on Tuesday…

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Forest nymph on Wednesday…

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Belatedly autumnal on Thursday…

 

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Librarian as fuck on Friday…

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& playing the ’40s hostess on Saturday.

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my kingdom deposed

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It’s been a while since I’ve gone straight-up kook. Winter, for me, is furs, pearls, and unironic femininity. It’s far more elegance than quirk, and I like it that way. To everything there is a season. But I’ve been reading a lot of Helga von Trollop lately, and her whimsy seeps in. I just had to return to the circus, if only for one day.

I see this character as a slightly daffy dame, preening and twirling while her Rome crumbles.

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Also, my Indiegogo page for the International Union of Sex Workers is officially live! I’ll be including the link in every post from now until the end of the year, so you might as well donate sooner rather than later. 😉

 

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new in the shop

Featuring New Look dresses and some really luxurious coats. I’ve decided to focus on selling fewer things at higher prices. I don’t just want to sell old clothes, oh no. I want to be known for my cache of real vintage treasures. I’ve always wanted to play the ageless crone with the ring-weighted fingers, rummaging through silks and pawing velvets. I just want to preserve beauty.

As usual, click on each item to see its listing.

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garden of earthly delights

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I spent Tuesday night at my family home so I could watch my mom compete in a cook-off on Wednesday. (Not only did she get a shiny award, I got a ton of complimentary food – everybody wins!) I’d intended to sleep in, because it’s not every day you get to wake up lazily in your childhood bedroom, but I was awakened by the sun at 7 and knew I couldn’t miss the fog. They just don’t make it like that anywhere but the Green Mountains.

Besides, this dress deserved something special. It’s ’50s vintage, worn so thin I can practically see my heart beat beneath its bodice. It fits like it was made for me. It hung in Downtown Threads for the better part of a year before I sucked it up and bought it, and I have zero regrets.

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