Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Autumn Outfit + Ballet!

Hey everyone!  I'm a little behind on this week's post--with the weather lately, early mornings have gotten a little harder.  I'm definitely ready to fall back this weekend, though mornings will start getting dark soon, regardless.

In any case, I wanted to take advantage of the fall weather with a fall-themed outfit, and I had the perfect occasion this past weekend--tickets to Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty.  It's subtitled, "A Gothic Romance," and with vampire fairies and a tattooed rival suitor, Bourne didn't take his inspiration lightly.  It was beautiful, if odd, and I was happy to see both the ballet and the Q&A afterwards with the director.  I've moderated my fair share of talkbacks, and I've never in my life seen an artist just walk on stage, take a seat, and start taking questions, sans moderator.  It was refreshingly unpretentious.
So, since I knew the ballet is an occasion for dressing up, I was really happy for the chance to wear my new dress!  I got this dress at, if not a steal, then close to a steal, because when I bought it, it had a number of pink blotches across the neck, and some on the belt.  I had a Shout wipe with me, so as I browsed, I furiously rubbed it in to see if the stain might lift.  It brightened a little, so I decided to go ahead and take a chance, and after a few OxiClean baths, I think I'm pretty close to winning the day.  If I'd thought ahead, I'd've taken a couple photos for a Before and After, but I was so anxious to see if I'd made a bad investment, I threw it into the tub as soon as I got home.
See?  Only a little pink, on the bottom right of the photo, and a little out of sight on the top right.
So, now that it's wearable, I was able to create an outfit that mirrored the changing leaves, or what I hope will soon be the changing leaves.  Global warming, am I right?

I paired the dress with one of my favorite hats and elbow-length gloves, and with what you'll all soon realize is my ever-present purse and, for the moment, ever-present trench coat.  I really love the golden colors in the leaves, and look, it even matches my orange petticoat!  Nothing matches my orange petticoat!

I will say, this shoot's taught me I really need to work on different poses, and hopefully eek out a little more time with my sister photographer to get lighting and angles right-- I'm a little embarrassed at how similar all of my photos have been!  Front shot, head shot, detail shot, done.  Whoops.

But hey, it's a hat worth getting a close-up of, right?

A little more detail on the hat itself...

I also love these shoes, which are 1940s pumps I've had resoled at my cobbler's.  The construction is a lot different than modern shoes-- I'm forced to put more weight on the ball of my foot, rather than the heel.  I wonder if that's common with vintage shoes, or whether it's an idiosyncrasy of this particular pair?

Dress: Avenue Antiques, Baltimore
Hat: Antique fair in Livingston, TX
Gloves: Antique fair in Fayetteville, PA
Crinoline: Vintage store in Baltimore (I forget!)
Shoes: Etsy seller To Be Determined
Purse: Michael Kors
Trenchcoat: Banana Republic

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waterworks Museum Wedding

Hey everyone!  I haven't worked out yet what days I'll be posting, but I'm hoping to make it a regular weekly thing, so please, keep coming back to check it out!

Last month, my girlfriend and I attended the wedding of a dear friend of hers, up in Boston.  It was a beautiful ceremony, and the reception was held at the Waterworks Museum.  Even when I lived in Boston, I wasn't aware of the museum, but I wish I had been-- it's gorgeous.  Built in the 1880s to keep up with the growing demand for clean water, thanks to Boston's population boom, the Chestnut Hill Reservoir was a working reservoir and pumping station until the 1970s.  It was taken offline in the 70s, and finally became a museum in 2009, though it's still ready for use in case of emergency.

My photos of the museum are less than stellar--still working on photography and modeling skills--but I hope they give you an idea of the architecture, and how beautiful its late 19th century machinery still is.

 It was a great reception location, and I wish I'd been better able to capture how they decorated it--

Adorable wedding cake.  During cocktail hour, drinks came with a straw that either said "I love you," or "I know."

The invitation didn't specify attire, but the wedding website suggested fascinators and leisure suits.  And you don't have to tell me twice to wear a headpiece.

 I love, love, love this headpiece.  It's by Melanie at Nessie Designs, whose work I stumbled across during one of those Etsy marathons I know we've all had.  I thought her pieces were so beautiful, but I couldn't summon the courage to wear one, thinking I didn't have much occasion.  But when I realized I had full license to wear a fascinator, I immediately (seriously, within ten minutes) messaged Melanie and asked her if she'd be able to replicate a headband I'd loved but had already sold.  I told her I'd be wearing a kelly green dress, and planned on doing a 1940s hairstyle, and this is what she came up with--and it's stunning, if I do say so myself.

To top it off, she even made a bobby pin with matching flowers that my girlfriend was able to wear in her jacket lapel!

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 I mixed eras here--the purse is dated earlier than the dress, as is the style of the headband, but I think it works!

My shoes were vintage, and really comfortable.  For some reason, every photo we took in sunlight made my legs and feet glow...

And, because it was a dancing-filled event to which ladies wore heels...
The Inevitable Shoe Installation.  But hey, guess whose comfortable vintage shoes didn't grace the sculpture?

My outfit:
Headband: Nessie Designs
1960s dress: Thrifted
Purse: The Zone (Baltimore, MD)
Shoes: Thrifted

I'm still learning to date my garments, so corrections are welcome-- I think the shoes are probably 1980s, maybe 80s Does the 40s.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Another Vintage Blog?

I know what you're thinking.  "Another vintage blog?  Really?  Don't the ladies in Portland have that kind of covered?"  You're right, they kind of do, and that's part of what's kept me from starting one for so long.  I wasn't really sure I had anything unique to offer the world of vintage blogging that wasn't already provided elsewhere.  There are a million reasons to start a blog, but I think the biggest one has to be filling a perceived void, right?  Well, I've been thinking about it, and I came up with a few reasons I'd like to blog.

Reason One:
I'm kinda broke.  Vintage costs money: it takes money to find and procure, money to maintain, and added in is that twinge of, "If I don't get this now, I will never have it, because this is most likely the only one there is!"  I'm not quite making a living at my job right now, though, so I need to own up to the fact that, for the moment, I just can't shop.  So I'm turning my interests deeper, rather than wider: I'd like to use this blog to learn more about clothing, hairstyles, lifestyle, and maybe even better, to figure out exactly what the pieces I now own can do for me.  Make do and mend, right?

Reason Two:
I'm kinda questioning my industry.  I've been working for years towards the Picket Fence of my field, which it turns out, is really more a Holy Grail.  I work in the theater, and jobs in my area of it are extremely hard to come by.  Blame it on the economy, blame it on lack of need, blame it on whatever, but in the meantime I'm burning out.  I'd like to see whether I can turn my interest and hobby for vintage into something more full-time.  Who knows, maybe I can't-- but it'd be so great to have fun while I try!

Reason Three:
I'm gay.  No rule of three "kinda" here, sorry!  It may not seem like it, but being a gay lady in vintage has a few challenges that I suspect may not be there for straight vintage ladies.  A great deal of that lies in the act or necessity of "presenting."  I wasn't a queer studies major, so forgive me if my terminology is incorrect, but as I experience it, presenting is the act of letting others know you're gay by the way you dress and carry yourself.  There's a lot of talk about being femme, butch, boi, etc., and when you navigate that alongside a community that's all about dressing uniquely-- it can sometimes feel you have double the attention.  I don't necessarily intend to do a lot of blogging about bein' gay, but I do think it'll come up sometimes-- for instance, doing a menswear-inspired '30s look will naturally brush up against queer boundaries, and I'd like to talk about what that brings up.  Another possible discussion? Vintage for gay partners.  For men, it's more or less clear-cut; for the other half of a lesbian couple, not always.

The other point here is that I had never found a lesbian vintage blogger until I saw the wedding of the lovely Lisa Fox, of Mrs. Fox's Fineries, profiled on Queens of Vintage.  Part of what can be hard about bein' gay is that you don't always see yourself reflected in popular culture-- which goes double for niches of popular culture.  I'd like to be a visible person for other gay ladies who live to root through bins of old clothing.

So, here I am-- a broke, dubiously employed, gay vintage blogger.  Niche enough?

Here's one of my favorite dresses, which has a 30s feel, though I'm not certain it's truly from the 30s.
 It's a paisley print dress, very sheer fabric, and very delicate at this point.

 These shoes absolutely aren't vintage, but absolutely are irresistible.
 You may not believe it, but I completely forgot I owned the above shoes when I bought this hat.  This perfectly matched hat from the 40s.
First blog lesson? It'll be really important for me to learn how to use hat pins.

Outfit details
Dress: thrifted
Hat: Couture du Jour
Shoes: A gift from a friend
Trench coat: Banana Republic
Bag: Michael Kors
Gloves: Antique mall
Bobby pins: embarrassingly visible