Happy New Year, dear friends and readers!
We are back from our little getaways, reconnected with each other (we had a grown up family vacation, while Anna spent a holiday with her father traveling down to San Francisco and up to Vancouver, Canada), and getting ready to go back to school, work and everyday life tomorrow. I will share some of our trip photos here on the blog, but first I wanted to share our spontaneous photo shoot of a couple of vintage dresses which I found just before Christmas (read the story here). These dresses have no labels on them, and I can only guess the era they were made or, as a possibility, they were custom made later, with those eras in mind, inspired by vintage fashion, using vintage fabrics and even vintage techniques. I'm only writing here about our best guesses as I'm certainly not an expert on vintage fashion. It was quite intriguing to research these fashions, and if you can tell me more from these photographs, I'll be very grateful.
As I said, my daughter showed some interest in one of the dresses I found at our local Goodwill - and this was it. Anna is always taken with intricacy and details in art or fashion - she's been this way since she was little, so I'm not surprised that this dress caught her attention. There are no over-locked seams and the edges of fabric are cut by zigzag scissors. There is a lot of hand stitching used in the creation of this dress. The buttons are covered with the same fabric as the dress, and the button holes are hand stitched. There is a side zipper which bears the stamped words "Iron like nylon" and "Avoid hot iron".
You can see the wonderful craftsmanship and the delicate silhouette which, with a little research made us think that this is a 1930s dress, or possibly made later, as I said, but very much in the spirit of the 1930s, using old techniques. It was $5.99 at Goodwill, in practically perfect condition (there are only a couple of tiny stains which are not even noticeable). Anya and I had fun researching 1930s dresses and found a few which have a similar spirit (sources: 1, 2, 3):
Dress Two: 1999
This is a little departure from my vintage finds. When Anya found this dress in a suitcase packed with old stuff, she fell in love - she can't wait to start wearing it. I know the year when it was made exactly because it's mine. It was custom made for me in the Summer of 1999. I was 26, had long blond hair that year and met my future husband - my daughter's father. It tickles me to see her almost fitting the dress which I wore when she was not even a plan yet. She still has room to grow for it to fit her perfectly, but as life shows, it does not take very long. I love how she styled it with the bead necklace she created herself a couple of years ago and a bead bracelet that I gave to her (it was made for me by my lovely coworker back in Russia).
Since I knew the year exactly, it was not difficult to find what other women wore that year, and one of the very first searches was this magnificent gown Gwyneth Paltrow wore for the Oscars that year - as you can see, spaghetti straps and the general silhouette were practically identical.
Dress Three: 1970s
And finally, another Goodwill find, and again without a label, but obviously very seventies - fabric, cut, color, everything. It also has a wonderful hand made quality (very crafty hands I must say), zigzag instead of over-locked seams, hand stitching, and there is actually a lovely lace trim finishing the lower inner edge of the dress - the inside of both dresses are as beautiful as the outside. There is a modern looking zipper in the front middle seam, but it could have been added later I suppose. Anyway, the dress is spotless, cost $8.99, and I adore the apple green. Even if it was not made in 1970s, it was so obviously created by someone who cared, using vintage fabric and most probably a vintage pattern similar to the picture below. I loved how we came up with a vest and crocheted beret (grandma brought it from Russia), and I hope Anna will grow into liking such dresses (she is not especially keen on this one right now). She looks so groovy in it!
So here are our vintage dress adventures in very early 2015. Is it the beginning of a beautiful friendship? Only time will tell.
Dresses 1 and 3 - Goodwill finds
Dress 2 - custom made for me in 1999
Anna styled them all with her favorite ANNA boots and stuff from her own wardrobe.