The advent of floral embroidered sweaters has changed my life in so many wonderfully palpable ways. In prior years of my Mainland exile, I’d feared the approach of winter and the need to replace thin, pastel cardigans with (to my mind) unappealing, bulky knitwear – now I can carry my flowers with me until spring appears again! (They also serve as the perfect complement to cotton sundresses that I should really retire until April but, realistically, will continue to wear until such habits of dress become physically impossible!)
For the first time in many years, I’m attempting to introduce a vaguely autumnal color palette to my wardrobe! Crimsons, browns, creams, and olives – sure, you might surmise that this reflects my growing desire to blend into the natural landscape like a quietly rooted tree, but let’s not be too hasty. I could not, of course, pass up the opportunity to match my favorite antique book!
I attempted to create a more nuanced title for this post, but let’s face it–with a concept this incredible, there’s honestly not much I could possibly improve with a pun.
Meet the floral fish dress! I’m not sure which Lindy Bop fabric designer is responsible for this quirky land-meets-sea mashup, but they are my type of person. Its triangular collar provides some needed variety to my wardrobe, which is currently so devoted to Peter Pan [collars] that it might as well be a Lost Boy.
Two years ago today, I published my first cautious “outfit of the day” post, showing off what would become two classic staples of my personal aesthetic: Peter Pan collars and nods to marine biology. At the time, I possessed only that one vintage-style dress, and I wore it so often that I ended up buying its twin in another color. I’d never identified as someone who was Into Fashion, but there was just something about that dress–as soon as I zipped it up, I felt like a cheerful, quick-witted girl detective equipped to handle anything with anachronistic flair.
In the time since, acquiring pieces for my quirky wardrobe allowed me to feel more confident and more myself than I’d ever been in jeans and sweaters or Young Professional Workplace Wear. Now, if I so desire, I have the ability to wear colorful retro dresses literally every day. Even a skirt decorated with galactic, bioluminescent mermaids and sea creatures is at my fingertips! But — as my absence from this blog might have suggested — over the past few months, I’ve begun to lose confidence in my bold fashion. In some moments of confusion, I’ve almost wondered if I might have to abandon the style that I love and start showing up in slacks or skater skirts!
Every time I think I’ve finally acquired the paragon of ocean-themed dresses, another fabric designer decides to add more nautiloids and seahorses to their novelty print!
I wore this for the first time on my last day of work, and it seems a fitting ensemble for new beginnings. The menagerie of sea creatures softly swirling* in these watercolored aquamarine polyester depths soothe me as I transition into life as a student again!**
*I don’t fully understand why those scallops and sea stars and conch shells are just suspended in what is presumably the middle of the water, but perhaps this skirt is more of a fabric tidepool!
**Plus, this is also the best match I’ve found for my turquoise-haired mermaid brooch so far!
“I am from the fields, you know,” writes my favorite American poet and new professional fixation, “and while quite at home with the Dandelion, make but a sorry figure in a Drawing-Room…”
Oh how I agree! As delightful as it was to play dress-up in full vintage regalia–petticoat and semi-victory-rolls and all–I am indeed more at home with flowers and fields than social gatherings. I’m perfectly content to bedeck myself in bright colors that happen to remind me of dandelions themselves: and then stay in the comfort of my own home!
Unicorns! How curiously you’ve evolved in the popular consciousness over the past thousand years or so. I’m not one to consume sugary beverages named after these beguiling creatures, nor particularly a fan of the stylized neon unicorn that seem to permeate our visual culture these days – but man, do I love medieval and early modern unicorns.
This dress satisfies my fantasy need in a subtle way: spotting the unicorn amidst this pastel castle landscape is a true challenge, and from afar, the print looks like a simple blend of Fauvist colors. No one needs to know that a fairy tale is taking place on my very skirt!
(By the way, that handsome fellow above is from a sixteenth-century Swiss woodcut, back in the days when unicorns still had teeth!)