Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Clothes Off My Back (8)

In the midst of admiring some of your clothing posts, I realized that I haven't done one of my own in A-G-E-S. Have you forgotten what this humble scrivener looks like? Well, rest assured, you're about to see my hambone face like ten times in the course of one post. Such are the depths of my vanity. :)

Exhibit A is my favorite new outfit. I bought this dress at a Goodwill in Gallatin for $7.99, and though the arm holes are distressingly tight, I was mesmerized by the strange cut-out detail at the neck into buying it. I think I remember there being a hardfought rivalry for my eccentric affections on that trip between this and a white-with-green-bamboo-print silk polyester jumpsuit with flared bottoms that would have shamed Florence Henderson. A pear shaped figure plus six feet of mostly legs does not a happy jumpsuit match make, so I went for the gown. Wore it to work a couple Wednesdays ago in a fit of panic as the closet that morning was just NOT forthcoming with great work wear... had about ten compliments on it. Success! I worry sometimes about vintage maxi dresses being "too much" for the workplace environment, just like a lot of the more theatrical pieces of my wardrobe, but I think pairing it with the black belt and black shoes grounded it enough to qualify as quirky but cute. Something about the neckline and the belt made me feel mildly Alice Adams, but in a sweet way.

Like my photo-taking convention of one arm out? I'm sticking with it, so there.

At left, a one dollar wonder from an estate sale two or three years ago... did NOT fit me at the time, but there was no way I was passing up an 80's-does-50's Monroe esque sundress for less than the price of a pita wrap. Now it's one of my #1 go-to's for flattering dress shape. Wore this to Bab's band's guitarist Bobby's birthday party (beat that for possessives!) with the ever-ubiquitous black belt, my favorite black strappy sandals (since deceased... RIP Soft Soles), and a smattering of band buttons, including one for Lou Reed's Rock and Roll Heart, Dwight Twilley Band's Twilley Don't Mind, and Del Shannon from the late 70's. Shout out to Great Escape for being your #1 destination for for-real vintage band buttons, yum. I'm also in a phase of wearing ten different brooches/pins/accessories at the same time, so expect more photos of my epaulets/frontispiece made up like the admiralty in the not so distant future.

At center, my birthday luau photos came out t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e (MUST. GET. NEW. CAMERA. Any suggestions? Esp. one that does not make everything look like a terrifying scene from Jacob's Ladder?), but I managed to salvage at least one photo of my luau dress (Rivergate Goodwill, $7.99). This is a one-size-fits-all affair from the mid to late 60's, made in Hawaii-- do any of you have a similar dress where a bra-strap like contraption on the inside draws in the waist to anywhere from say a 40 inch to 26 inch circumference, tailored to drape whatever fabric is left over as an elegant sort of train? I've got another five or six like this in varying Polynesian styles, and I have to say, I'm a little in love with them. OSFA usually means a loose goose of a mess in terms of gowns, whether you're a bigger girl or a smaller one, but this kind of shaping means you get your defined waist and hips no matter the size. Killer.

Lastly, on the right of this triptych, a square dance dress of the "especially made for you by...." tag variety, meaning this guy was no doubt beautifully homemade by someone in the late 60's (Rivergate Goodwill again, $7.99 again). I love the way the bodice tapers into points at the skirt, and the luminous solid green color to contrast/compliment the flowers pattern.

I can't decide if I'm sticking with the bouffant hairdo you see in the first and last photos here, or if I'm gradually gravitating towards the more soignee pinned-but-subdued look. Only time and my fickle, fickle nature will tell. Here's a good example in the next set of photos, where the side-pinwheel bun is in full effect.

I haven't had hair this long since high school, so it's been fun to play with updo's. The African print blouse here is from the Unclaimed Baggage store I was telling you all about in the vacation posts... the ensemble comes with a headwrap and tiered skirt in the same material, but I just took the top out for a spin in the interest of pattern conservation. Look at the pointed sleeves! Another neat feature is the zipper in the back, which pulls DOWN instead of up, so it's about 5,000,000 times easier to zip by the person wearing it. I don't know how many DAYS worth of time I could have back, doing a weird frontwards Heimlich like maneuver at my spine in the dressing room or asking Bab to do it through a grimace of frustration, if every zipper was as gravity friendly as this. Seriously, why do zippers usually zip up instead of down? The African clothing manufacturer here has a great advantage on us. Also, the halter-style straps at the top are leaned into, pulled over and behind the head, to secure the sleeves at attention and leave the back open in a low dip down to the (superiorly engineered) zipper. I want like ten copies made of this guy. $12 for the three piece set.

Last but not least, here's a picture of Bab and me at Meg and Kyle's wedding, which (so awesomely) took place at the Roxy Theater in Clarksville. What I said about getting a new camera is STILL. SO. TRUE. I promise I'm not made of light in real life. My dress was a birthday present from Bab's mom (Mariela's Consignment in Hendersonville, right up my alley), and his shirt is a great, early 80's Wrangler in near mint condition from (you guessed it) Rivergate Goodwill ($4.29). Wish I had a better picture of the dress, it was way 1950's with a nipped waist and crinolined skirt, but you get the picture. Speaking of pictures, how great is the marquee outside of the Roxy? And the building itself, for that matter?

Do you see the giant cans of hairspray on stage? Roxy Regional Theater was doing a production of Beehive starting the next week, so Meg got married on stage with larger than life cans of hairspray as a back drop. Follow that, killer!

Hope you enjoyed the sartorial musings. Back to musty books and dirty looks next week!


  1. YOu've got some cute stuff there girl! I esp. like that first dress, I'd have bought it too. All the hairstyles look fab, I'd keep mixing it up!!

  2. I'm very jealous of your thrift store luck! Those dresses (and prices) are marvelous. The maxi dress with the nifty neck detailing and the adorable square dancing frock are my favorites, wow! What great pieces!

  3. You always have the most interesting stories around your outfits so you should definitely do outfits posts more frequently! :D

    I know what you mean about the arm at the hip pose, I do it all the time. I mean really, what DOES one do with arms in photos? Such awkward things.

  4. Ooo! I love the white one & that you put pins on it, too cute! :)

  5. Woman, is there no end to your awesomeness?!? I want to raid your closet! The thrift shops in your neck of the woods must be fantastic. Color me green with envy. Plus I love the Dwight Twilley band!!!!! Your post has made my day.

  6. Lovin' the outfit posts. Your descriptions are fabulous and I always come away with a new vocabulary word or two!



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