Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Texas Vintage: Bigger'n Dallas

I'm originally from Texas, and although I've spent six winters now in the northeast, every first snow finds me in the same spot-- staring out the window, paralyzed with inaction, a bewildered Texan wondering, "But… what do I wear?"  Inevitably, I end up wearing something panicky and unattractive, and yesterday was no exception.  Though there's very little I end up missing about my home state (good Mexican food may be the one thing), first snows do have me a little lonesome for the warmer winters most of Texas enjoys.

Lucky for me, last month I got to enjoy some of that still-warm weather when I visited my brother in Dallas!  While there, I got to visit a seriously terrific vintage store, and snap some photos in Dallas' historic McKinney Avenue trolley line, and at a beautiful hotel.  I was really keen to get some shots in because, among the many great things about my brother, Spencer is a very good photographer.

The McKinney Avenue trolley is a beautifully restored set of trolleys that run a straight shot through downtown Dallas.  Most date from between the 1910s and 1930s, and they're completely charming--and very popular, particularly as it's free to the public!  This made it a little difficult to get shots in, but Texans being some of the friendliest people around, they did their best to make room for us.  I think I also starred in a few iPhone photos, but I suppose that's a small price to pay!

The trolley we rode, the Melbourne, had some great vintage ads posted alongside more modern ones, as well as a brief history:

I was born across the sea in the city of Melbourne, Australia, and worked for 59 years in daily service.  Thousands of American G.I.'s rode on me and my sister trains during World War II including General Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower.  In 1985 it was decided that I was too old for useful work and should be replaced.  Shortly before I was due to be cut up for scrap, the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority purchased me and arranged for me to come live and work in Dallas.  Texas is a lot like Australia and I enjoy being here.  Thanks for riding!  --Matilda
I'm not sure how much Australia resembles the Lone Star State, but regardless, it's beyond awesome that Dallas took such pains to preserve and keep functional a part of history. 

Who knew Ivory was such a shop snob?

The gears at work!

Next up was the Adolphus Hotel, a gorgeous building dating to 1912.  

The interior is as stunning as the exterior, and has studiously retained its Gilded Age glamour.  Honestly, it was a photographer and vintage blogger's dream:

I'd been waiting for an opportunity to photograph this dress, and with its heavily-embroidered bodice and rhinestone buttons, it seemed just a little bit country, and just a little bit perfect for Texas.  I gotta say, though, my brother's photography is a testament to how setup and background can set a garment off in a completely different manner.  The dress photographed amazingly, with the coordinating tones of the decor.

I try to make it a point to learn something whenever I'm photographed.  This shoot's lesson: I have to smile hard for it to be documented at all.  That's right, people.  In many of these photos, I was smiling.

My last stop in Dallas was Dolly Python's, an amazing, expansive vintage store.  

I hate to be cliché, but I mean, you know what they say about size in Texas.

While my brother checked out their intimidatingly incredible vinyl selection (though many stores advertise a curated collection, Dolly Python clearly takes great pride in the quality of their offerings), I wandered around and found the biggest collection of vintage suits I'd seen in one place.  The overall variety and quantity of items was overwhelming, and the store boasts a fantastic selection of vintage shoes and--because it's Texas, after all--cowboy boots and hats.

The store is organized like an antiques mall, with wildly different stalls all combining to set a whimsical yet museum-like tone.  

Though none of the suits were quite right for me (bummer), I did find a jacket and hat that'll be featured in a future post, as well as a sweater I'll be wearing as part of a very special, holiday-themed countdown starting on Saturday.  

Trust me, if you're a fellow 80s child, a lover of sequins, or hip to the Christmas spirit, you won't want to miss it!

Outfit details
1950s Dress: Swift & Faire Co. Vintage

Shoes, Gloves, & Hat: Thrifted
Bag: Michael Kors

A big thank-you to the Adolphus Hotel, the MATA, and of course, my brother.  

All photographs of me courtesy of Spencer J Eggers, all rights reserved, 2013.


  1. You were, very sweetly, talking about how well you think my burgundy glasses suit my skin colouring (thank you!), and I swear, I had the same thought when it comes to this timelessly sweet blue dress and your skin (+ hair and eye) colour, too. You look sublimely lovely in all of these photos, dear gal!

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Jess, you are the sweetest. Thank you!
      (And hearing that, now I'm really happy I have a similarly colored dress for summer!)

  2. I am exactly like you when it comes to "OMG! SNOW! What do I wear!?" We get it so rarely here in Portland, that I just have no idea what will be decent!

    I adore this dress! It's such a wonderful color and goes so well with your hair. Sounds like you had some fun in Dallas! I've only been to Austin, which I enjoyed. I'd really like to go back and see more of Texas, since some of my family is from there.


    1. Yeah I ended up wearing rain boots and jeans-- not my snazziest work outfit to date, but I just could not put two and two together to make something better! That's funny, though-- for some reason I'd vaguely thought Portland would get a lot of snow, but I must not have thought about it too much, because of course you wouldn't!

      Dallas was really great, and you know, I never actually visited Austin except for a few very short, targeted drop-ins. Which I should probably not cop to publicly! Other than Dallas, I can recommend San Antonio, which I think you'd really love, particularly the Riverwalk. I can just imagine the great photos you'd get with your fab wardrobe, with the Riverwalk as a backdrop!

  3. You look so wonderful in the dress and what a great hotel to take photos in. They look like photos for a movie.

    1. Thanks so much! I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I got a couple more shoots in with my brother when he was up for Thanksgiving, so I'm excited to see how they turned out!

  4. Love it! Everything looks great- I just posted your blog post to our facebook page- Hoping to make an appearance at the Manhattan Vintage Show in Feb- maybe we'll see you again?

    1. Thank you, I'm so glad you liked it! I'll *definitely* be there, and I'll be looking for you guys!

  5. What gorgeous photos! Your blue dress looks absolutely amazing on you!
    Being from Melbourne, Ausyralia myself and having visited Texas recently I wouldn't say the two are terribly similar hehe.. But I do adore the old trams we have here. we still have one of these older style ones running similarly as a free city tour and another which is slightly newer I think (but still quite old) which runs up and down one of our famous shopping strips!
    Love your blog by the way!

    1. Thank you!! That's hilarious, I've never been to Australia but I felt pretty sure that comparison couldn't be correct. It was really cool, though, how many people were using it. Public transportation isn't the best in such a sprawling state, certainly nothing at all compared to the Northeast, so it was really neat to see people out of their cars and taking the tram.