dame in plaid

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It’s just a basic day dress, your average McCardell-esque cotton shirtwaist, but this dress always feels ineffably fancy to me. There’s something so elegant in the soft swingy folds. I feel like a working-class wife dolling up her children for Sunday service: practical but far from plain. Forget aprons and rolled-up sleeves. The order of the day is pearls, plaid, and lace-up boots. And a really excellent hat, because of course. I should really learn to do finger waves.

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my precious

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Whenever I take pictures I really, really like, I always sit on them for a while. The whims of my readers do not always match my goals for this blog, and posts I’m really proud of often end up being buried. On the same coin, posts I dashed off or care less about often end up doing really well. I don’t like to waste my good photos if they might not be appreciated, you know? And this right here might be my favorite outfit shoot I have ever done ever, so all that goes triple. I’m feeling the “wacky society dame” vibe good and proper in these shots. Or…not so good and not so proper.

So what I’m saying is don’t abandon me in my time of need.

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she lives!

Josh and I are well established in the new place. Photo tour to follow as soon as I can find my goddamn camera charger. We found a two-bedroom specifically so we could have a workshop for my vintage dealing and his steampunk art. As such, I’m buzzing to announce the grand re-opening of Dressed in the Dark Vintage! I closed up shop back in March for lack of storage space, but in the new apartment, I have an entire closet JUST for Etsy stuff.

And I’ve got a few tricks up my poofy sleeve. I want to renovate the shop a little, and one of my updates is better categorizations. You’ll notice the first new category: All Hallows’, where witchy wear will reside. Over time, I’d like to compile a few more stylistic categories: rockabilly, bohemian, etc. It’s more interesting than just “dresses, skirts, tops”.

I take a lot of joy in analyzing vintage. I lurk in brick-and-mortar shops far out of my price range just to park myself in rows of dresses and examine the seams and cuts. (“Why won’t she buy something?” the shopgirl moans, shedding a single tear.) I love getting my greasy hands all over relics of other people’s lives. More than that, I love conducting between the old and the new: dusting off something long faded and sending it off to its revival.

This is my ten-dollar-word way of saying BUY MY SHIT! Click on each photo to see its listing. This isn’t even half of my new stock (again with the camera charger), so check back soon.

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ode to buying stuff

In the name of my new tattoo (less than a week away!), I spent last night browsing Etsy for scandalous backless swimsuits. Never too early to start planning beach bonfires and other assorted illegalities. And I happened to find some old modeling shots of me from my days with Owlhurst Loft Vintage. The shop is on something of a hiatus while Erin, its curatrix, prepares to expunge her first kid. Crotchlings are expensive, though, so she could probably use a few extra sales. So, in addition to the smexy shots of swimsuit-clad me, check out some of Owlhurst’s other treasures. Click on each photo for its link.

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brand spankin’ old

As usual, click on each photo to see its listing. A nice mix of realism (swaddle-licious wool coats) and fantasy (dreamy spring dresses).

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This coat has the most comprehensive story of any garment I’ve ever sold. Its wool was produced in Worumbo Mill, which closed in 1964 and currently holds a place on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s listed on Etsy for now, but I’m debating selling it to a private collector. Want to be the one to change my mind?

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gelphie lives

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Harking back to this fall’s Glinda tribute, but with a more Elphabaic flavor. This dress is the perfect bastard child of my favorite literary ‘ship. I picked it up at Old Gold’s 50% off sale last weekend. Apparently it’s a vintage square-dancing costume. What does that say about me? Do I even want to know?

The umbrella I picked up from the lost-and-found at work. I’d been eyeing it for months, hoping it would go unclaimed. “I like how even your monochrome outfits are always several different shades,” a friend told me last week, and it’s true: even when I appear otherwise sleek, I’m basking in my passion for clashing.

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I’m currently riding the high of my latest publicity bubble. As you may have read on my blog’s Facebook page, this woman came up to me in the grocery store on Friday and asked to take my picture. I complied, of course, because it was looking particularly circus-chic. “I have a blog,” she said, and gave me her card. “I have one too,” I said, and wrote it down for her.

I got back to work and went to her website. Apparently she’s Claudia Marshall, NPR reporter. My writing career just potentially blew wide, wide open…

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I’m also February’s blog spotlight on Melodic Thrifty Chic! Anna, the blog mistress, is one of the sweetest and sunniest bloggers in the ‘sphere. I was looking forward to seeing what she’d write about me, and she didn’t disappoint:

One of my best discoveries of last year, it was love at first post with Skye. I love her vintage punk style and the way she clashes colors and prints without a care in the world.

Her style is completely open and free; and her no holds barred approach to fashion is utterly intoxicating…There is a palpable depth that is uncommon in a typical fashion blog.

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Dress, Tights, Necklace, & Bow: Old Gold Shoes: The Classy Closet Tights: Gifted

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suave as a suarez

Who else remembers Ugly Betty? In high school, I watched it and Grey’s Anatomy every Thursday night with my mom. As of today, I have not seen it in years, but I’ve been having my memory jogged lately by the young Freddy Rodriguez in Six Feet Under. And now I really think I might need to rewatch the whole damn thing, because Betty Suarez was my preeminent fashion icon throughout late middle and early high school.

To begin with, I looked like her:

Left: my senior picture Right: Betty being blissfully Betty
Left: my senior picture
Right: Betty being blissfully Betty

I remember having the resemblance disdainfully rubbed in my face a few times by older girls on the school bus. But mean-spirited or not? It was seriously just true.

Some backstory: Betty Suarez is your typical fish-out-of-water assistant at (fictional) MODE magazine. It’s never entirely clear whether fashion-magazine standards or Betty herself is the butt of the show’s long-running joke. I forgive it, though, because every character is a caricature in some way. It’s a glitzy, soapy, tropey show. And Betty’s outfits, though very likely not intended that way, are a huge source of sartorial porn for me. Her clashing prints clearly come from a place of ignorance, but they really don’t look too different from the more conscious rule-breaking of certain trendsetters. I mean, have you seen Anna Dello Russo? It’s funny how subversion comes full circle.

Does it really matter, though, whether Betty intends to be eccentric? The girl is clearly an unrealized sartorial genius. I’ve compiled for y’all a compendium of Betty’s more garish getups. The sort of thing I would unabashedly emulate. Sorry not sorry. She’s a hell of a lot more creative than the show’s basic bandage-skirt biddies. Seems to me that risk-taking would be more encouraged at a fashion magazine, even a fictional one, than toeing a particular aesthetic line. And let’s not even talk about dat embedded classism.

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day of days

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I felt like a good ol’-fashioned “what I wore” today, but with the added preview of my official room tour. I promised it a few posts ago, and I swear it’s coming. Some of my stuff is still languishing at my old place, but I’ll move it in as soon as I absolutely have to be out of there.

As for a statement, today’s is no more erudite than “this is a day in my life”. This is an outfit that screams “Skye” with all its headbutting prints. This is the room I put more energy into than any other. I refer to my bedroom as my “flapper den”, and I’d like to make that as true as possible. My main goal lately has been to cultivate everything around me. There’s something worshipful about living a deliberate life. Mindfulness, basically – but people don’t take you seriously when you use words like “mindfulness”. I promise I’m not really that crunchy.

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Josh’s work was exhibited in this show last fall. I love how the field’s desolation seems to fade right into the wall, like some kind of portal presided over by a ceramic face.

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Skirt, Hat, & Tights: Old Gold Blouse & Bustier: Handed down Belt: Replays Shoes: Danform 

 

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the ol’ DTs

This marks the first in a series of posts exposing the best and brightest of the Burlington thrift scene. 2014 will be the year I get superserious about slow fashion and recycling garments, and I plan to use my blog not just for my own creative ends, but to highlight artists and locations I admire. This week’s edition features Downtown Threads, open 11-7 on Church Street.

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Downtown Threads is significantly more curated than a lot of secondhand stores. Sure, you’ll find a solid few New Look dresses and ’60s shifts, but the store’s overall aesthetic is highly bohemian. Think flowing tops and big sunglasses. Think Aztec print, drug rugs, and vision quests. If you ever find yourself road-tripping across the western seaboard, yearning for the perfect complement to your Levi’s and water bong, you should probably turn that ‘stang around and hit up Downtown Threads.

Oh, and the cowboy boots. You mustn’t forget the cowboy boots. If it doesn’t look good with cowboy boots, you won’t find it in stock.

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Check out the most eye-catching of what Downtown Threads has to offer. I admit my own bias – so I’m not that into drug rugs. FILE A LAWSUIT – but I hope my collection might inspire someone, nonetheless, to get off the damn couch and investigate good ol’ DT. While the prices can be a smidge high, everything they carry is in excellent condition. They don’t take just anything off the street.

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A whole wall of LBDs!

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fairy-tale feels

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I saw Frozen a couple weeks ago with my friend Savannah. As a connoisseuse of classic Disney, I am always keen to see how the modern renditions compare. I enjoyed how The Princess and the Frog toed the romantic line and more or less adhered to its time period (albeit in a highly glossed-over way, but hey) while sneaking in subtle messages of empowerment. While I don’t necessarily believe that children’s media should always have a positive message (some of the most powerful stories don’t have happy endings, and I don’t think we should insulate kids from that), it’s really interesting to see just how far the fairy-tale medium can stretch. How can you be as true as possible to the original material while making it more accessible to the modern-day sprog? Can you maintain the original message even with the morals updated? I think you can. Shout-out to my lover Joseph Campbell: you can find the hero’s journey in basically anything, no matter how contemporary (or not).

Anyway, I really liked Frozen. Disney animation will never be what it was, but I’m making my peace with that. For 2013, Frozen is a top-quality Disney film. For one thing, it stars my girl Idina Menzel in a role actually quite similar to the one I fell in love with her in. Elsa, like Elphaba, is a proud isolate. And she’s fairly morally ambiguous, which is awesome for Disney. Give the young ‘uns some deductive credit, why don’t you. Also, Disney blatantly lampshades itself in the form of Kristoff: “Why would you get engaged to someone you’ve only known for a day?”

Sooo…I decided to Nordic it up. Wintry pattern mixing, a Currier & Ives backdrop, and a touch of bright. I imagined myself as a contemporary citizen of Arendelle*, relishing Elsa’s legacy and snuggling with my pet reindeer.

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*Walt Disney’s grandfather was named Arundel. Coincidence? More like LIZARD PEOPLE.

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Dress: Savers Sweater: Classy Closet Hat, Shoes, & Scarf: Gifted Tights: Old Gold

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