Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Clothes Off My Back (5)

Greetings from the frozen tundra of formerly sunny Tennessee! Owing to the ice planet like conditions of the streets near my house, I've done without driving to the parking area in favor of making one half mile trek to the bus stop on foot this week, followed by the usual four block hike from the bus depot to the library. By the end of this snow business, I will doubtless have legs like Angie Dickinson. Or pneumonia. But in any case, last week, before flurries, I dimly remember a time when I left my house in less than eighteen layers of life-preserving wool wrappings (this would have been a good week to rewatch Altman's Quintet). And we have the pictures to prove it!

The jacket above is from a sleeveless-dress-and-jacket set I bought in college at some waaaaay- far-out-from-campus thrift store. I bought two such Jackie Kennedy ensembles, knit, bold pastels, and memorably eschewed the purchase of an enormous, complete-with-picture-light, copy of the Last Supper because it was too big to fit in the car. Everything at that place was so-o-o-o-o che-e-e-e-e-ap. I think the two dress sets were four dollars apiece, and the Jesus painting I am actually feeling a little rueful about, five years down the road, was like five.

The matching dress to this jacket is sized unbelievably small... much more suited to someone of 1950's-Jane-Wyman-stature than my own tailleur. The top is a pale, matchy green silk with two false pockets, and the skirt portion is made from the same dreamy mintish green/blue as the jacket. To make the jacket look less like a petite-sized piece and more me-wearable, I covered the jacket's collar with the cowl neck of a sweater Matthew's grandmother gave me for Christmas (best sweater! Still needs to be thank you note'd!), added my own black skirt, and just for a little extra oomph, a little gold pin circlet of rhinestones from an estate sale ($1). The belt came with the dress, and I love the thumb's-width belt loops built into the waist to accomodate it. All in all, this may be my top favorite outfit. Last worn to karaoke out at my favorite local bar. I can't wait til temperatures become, well, more temperate, and I can wear it again without the encumbrance of layers of outerwear.

Overlook the weird presidential face I'm making in this-- that's what happens when you take a cursory look at the photos when Bab's taking them and go "Ah, that'll work" before double checking for usuable ones :) . The skirt is seventies A-line sort of deal with hip pockets and a matching pleather belt with gold buckle-- it's from the last estate sale I attended pre-holidays. The location featured a roof slanted attic completely stuffed with vintage clothes... which, initially, sounded like the best news I'd heard that morning. However, as I got closer, I was super put off by cotton-batting-like cobwebs covering some of the items, not to mention a pair of bargain hunters who had found that the paneling in the attic was removable and there were yet more, albeit musty and somewhat water damaged, estate goods to be had behind them. "Get my phone out of the car! We can use it for a light!" a disembodied voice shouted from the darkness. While I can be as junk-crazed as anybody on one of these occasions, the feeding frenzy seemed weirdly unwarranted, as the items they brought out looked, well, a little less than worth the effort. Not to mention they were running up and down the stairs in a very, very confined space with no regard for the other sale goer's (read: MY) shopping comfort and safety.

In spite of the lousy circumstances, I hunched myself into one corner over a wheeled clothing rack, out of the packrats' respective ways, and found a few items that were both vintage size 12's and relatively free of signs of spider habitation, past or present. YES. Three pieces of clothes (a polka dotted maxi dress, a black, fitted sheath, and this skirt, all dutifully hand laundered and hung to dry): $1. Total. YESSSSSSSS. Last worn to Christmas day at my family's house and Matthew's mother's house, and then recycled to wear to Alex Norris's art show (wait a minute, one of my favorite people is doing an art show in a vintage clothing store? Um, don't throw me in the briar patch?). I love how trim the lines are.

Last but not least, this dress came from the vintage rack of the East Nashville location of Southern Thrift-- love that store for bric-a-brac (great records, ceramics, board games, handbags), but the clothing selection can be dicey. The aforementioned section is sparsely feathered, and many of the clothes bearing the label "vintage" are more mid 90's school teacher than 60's housewife (I know, technically those jumpers are vintage...they're just not the vintage I'm looking for). Ditto on stained 70's plus size business casual pant suits, faded, oversized Mickey Mouse t-shirts, etc, etc. Their pricing staff might not be the arbiters of style you and I aspire to be, but I've found tenacity DEFINITELY pays off in matters of skimpily stocked clothing racks. LO! Behold! This dress boasts Persian rug style mod flowers in textured polyester, using a palette of browns, beiges, and whites. If the fit weren't enough to make me flip my lid (it looked small on the hanger, but suits me to a tee), how about the fact that the skirt is hemmed in a two-inch wide band of yarn fringe? I feel like a really great lamp in this dress. Wore this to Matthew's birthday dinner at his mom's house (I'm noticing that I spend a lot of quality fashion time at Deb's house!).

So! I hope the snow isn't too deadly wherever you are, reader-- we'll pull out of this nasty weather sooner or later. This highstepper looks forward to bigger and better, warmer and wilder things in the days to come.


  1. LOVE the top look! You look a lot like Blake Lively, btw. Might be the hair...

  2. I absolutely love reading every published word.

  3. @ Tom: You old flatterer. :)

    @Mama Magpie: That compliment has made my afternoon! Thanks! I always worry the hair looks too much like a bird's nest... but I'll take Blake Lively, for sure!

  4. Great outfits!
    I love the first one :D

  5. Snow? Whats that?? Love the first outfit, in case you haven't heard Australia is undergoing major flooding at the moment, we only know about the un-frozen stuff.

  6. Hey thanks for the comment and thanks for following. By the way, I love the jacket in the first photo, stupidly I've never thought of wearing matching dress and jackets seperatly

  7. Wow these outfits are great! Love that last dress!

  8. I love the way you put up your hair, so cute! And I adore how your outfits are all so elegant and feminine:)


  9. So cute! I especially love the first one! As much as I love wearing coats, scarves, and gloves, I confess that - like you, I'm really wanting some warmer climates because I'm really getting tired of layering!

  10. I just wanted to pop in and say that I just found your blog and I love it! I also nominated you for the "Stylish Blogger Award"!(:

  11. @Kitty, stay safe! I keep hearing about it on public radio, I hope things clear up for you guys soon.

    @everybody else, thanks for the compliments! I've been trying to be good about not repeating outfits and trying new things, and it's so helpful to have positive feedback! You never know if something you love is just visually heinous to everyone else. :)

    @Paigey, well, thanks! That's so nice of you! I'll have to return the favor sometime. Stylish Blogger post will be next!

  12. I almost missed this post - and all those lovely vintage clothes!

    I know exactly what you mean when you describe the 70's plus size business casual suits that are abundant in some of the vintage thrift stores. Yuck. But you certainly found yourself a darling skirt with yarn fringe!

    So how are those legs of yours doing from all that walking? Looking Angie Dickinson-esque yet?



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