Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Vintage

Shhh...what's that I hear? Could it be the distant jingle of fast-approaching sleighbells? Santa always gets here sooner than we expect, and you know what Santa season means:


But whatever will you wear?!

To stand out from the disco-repro crowd this holiday season, consider something a little different...consider vintage:

From Posh Girl

Clothing from the early 40s can be downright dowdy--it was, after all, a time of war-induced textile rationing, global mourning, and worldwide fear. And yet, the latter half of the decade was drenched in glamour. Consider the stars of the era: Davis, Crawford, Lamour.

Toward the end of this decade (February 1947, to be precise), the venerable Christian Dior introduced his "New Look": the reshaping of boxy wartime frocks to the voluptuous, wasp-waisted looks we begin to associate with the 50s--but without such highly exaggerated busts or hips...yet.

The delicate detailing around the neckline; soft, slightly pouffed sleeves; and gentle hourglass shape of this flattering LBD represent the best of fun 40s evening dressing for the regular woman--not too over-the-top, but special enough to make you stand out from the trend-seekers. This dress screams "pretty!"

OK, stay with me for a minute here. It's a long leap from 40s pretty to a 60s scarf gown, I admit. But the empire waist and the sexy off-the-shoulder neckline of this bold piece give it potential. If you're very brave, you could wear it full length. But imagine it cut down to a tunic or--even better--a mini: very cute. The scarf sleeves can stay or go. It depends whether you're someone who can manage canapes and a glass of champagne without dragging her extra-long sleeves through everything.

Wear your hair tousled and off-the neck with this. Add a little subtle accessory or some collarbone-grazing earrings. Va-va-voom!

Chiffon and sequins! ABsolutely FABulous. This little 60s mini is so swingy and fun, you won't be able to stop yourself from dancing all night long. Sexy, fine-strapped glittery heels in silver or mother-of-pearl would be just lovely with this. And I can't think of a more perfect excuse to wear a gorgeous rhinestone bracelet.

One of the best things about this frock: it looks so comfortable and wearable. Just steer clear of red wine!

This one has been available on the Posh Girl site for a long time. It's from the 30s and it's pure, sexy, slinky silk. I'd choose this one for a more refined event, and only if you're very confident in your, er, overall physical perkiness--because it's quite unstructured and leaves little room for heavy-duty supportwear (read: girdles, bras, pulley systems, etc.). A thong and some nipple-covers are probably all it can handle.

Still, it seems such a shame that this dazzling gown is going unworn and unappreciated! The colour alone makes it so spectacular. This is a special dress for a special lady (eek...that sounds a little "Vegas nightclub opening act sleezebag" doesn't it?)

From Vintage Vixen

This is a fully lined silk chiffon gown by the house of designer Pauline Trigere. From what I've been able to find, Trigere designed throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s, but her label survived until the 90s--so it's hard to place the provenance of this gown; to me, it looks like it could be 60s, 70s, or even early 80s/disco era.

Regardless of the year in which it came out, it is a beautiful gown. Consider the timeless colour and pattern. Then consider the gorgeous kimono sleeves and beautiful cut of the bodice. On the VV site, there is a photo of this dress on a live model and we can see why the Trigere label is famous for exceptional cutting--it hugs and flatters in all the right places. Light-coloured or metallic fine-strapped sandals, combined with the up-to-there slit at the front of this dress, would make any lady's legs look miles long. Gorgeous.

Why be a disco wannabe when you can be an honest-to-goodness Disco Queen? It's hard to see in this photo, but this fun full-length strapless dress features a white-and-silver chevron pattern--a subtly slimming form that narrows the visual line all the way down the long column.

It comes with a belted ballet-neck top with a low scoop in back. While it may be a little too literal to wear with the dress, it would be a fun little top on its own. Wear your hair free and loose with this, maybe with a white magnolia tucked behind your ear. You fabulous thing, you!

I just couldn't pass this one by without sharing. I've copied only a photo of the top half, but this is a full-length, fully fringed gown from the 40s that will make you an instant screen goddess. The scarf in this photo is removable and there's quite a flattering round neckline beneath. Imagine how the flippy fringed sleeves would float dramatically behind you as you glide into any party.

Personally, I'd boost the glamour potential and play on the era with a pair of glittery, dramatic shoes--maybe peeptoes or even some not-too-chunky platforms. But a black column is so simple that almost anything goes.

I almost passed over this one. The colours are full 60s acid trip, after all. But as you can see in the detail images on VV, this is actually quite a unique and fun gown. Like anyone, I tend to pick items with necklines and bodices that would flatter my physique. For me, this one really fits the bill. But if you're someone who wouldn't wear a full-length gown, I suppose you could always have it shortened--although it would be a shame to lose those pretty little geishas at the bottom.

I'd keep accessories very simple with something like this; otherwise, you risk looking like you've mixed up Christmas and Halloween. Don't get too Cher on us, now.

From eBay/Memphis Vintage


If attention is what you seek, look no further than a 50s wiggle dress. When you think "party dress," isn't this the very image that springs to mind? I can't think of anything more flattering to almost any figure. It falls away from the hips in just the right place--saddlebags disappear, only smooth hips, tiny waist, and all other coveted girl parts remain. The big velvet bow at the bottom clinches it: you are definitely all woman.

This dress is from one of my favourite online vintage retailers, Memphis Vintage. They've moved to the eBay format (I guess I'll forgive them for that), so they're a little harder to pin down these days. But this long silver gown from the 1930s immediately grabbed my eye. That ultimately flattering back! That perfect bias cut! That subtle, molten colour!


...I was a little disappointed at this very odd, very LARGE, very PURPLE applique on the front of an otherwise PERFECT gown.

I'm not an applique person, myself. I have commented on this before. BUT maybe, just maybe, with the right accessories--some complementary satin or soft suede platform sandals, perhaps--this could be rectified. The dress probably couldn't stand up to a removal of the applique...unless you wanted to pay the hefty price to have a new silver beaded applique put in its you'd have to work with it.

Otherwise, it's a tall, cool glass of water and I'd love a sip.

If you're not into floor-length but love silk and satin, a cheongsom dress from the 50s is a great alternative. I normally do not like these in the typical black, red, or royal blue. But I just loved this soft pink.

If you're going to get one of these, do consider buying a vintage one. I know there are more modern versions on the market, but the ones cut in the 50s are a little more structured, which is what you want with silks and satins that are not cut on the bias, in order to eliminate that unflattering "cat whiskers across the widest part of your hips" look.

Wouldn't a complementary pair of pink silk heels be gorgeous with this? Or maybe something in gold?

Happy party-hopping!

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At 1:03 AM , Blogger Honeymoon said...

U r a fashion addict ! If u want, I invite u to come to see some of the most beautiful heels, dresses and bags of the Paris fashion week !

See u !

At 3:35 PM , Blogger STYLE AND THE CITY - PARIS said...

Hi from Paris dear whyioughtta,

as i noticed through your comments in other blog that you like stylish people, i just wanted to warn you befor i go to bed (it's late in Paris) : my last street style photos could make you fall in love with Paris and the stylish parisian girls ! lol

i wish you a pleasant evening and hop that my com is not irrelevant

cheers from Paris



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