There’s absolutely nothing nineteenth-century about this dress–the vintage reproduction company from which I purchased it touted the style as 1940s-inspired, I believe, and collar dresses are sufficiently popular at the moment for my look to pass as something simply romantically contemporary.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending an unprecedented amount of time in a house inhabited by a nineteenth-century poet, but for whatever reason, I feel like this simple dress captures some of the Victorian aesthetic nonetheless. At any rate, I’m thinking it will be most suitable for leading historic house tours in the future, assuming I won’t have access to authentic Victorian period dress!
If by your art, my dearest father, you have
put the wild waters in this roar, allay them!
So spake I while living my theatrical dreams as a seventeen-year-old playing Miranda in a college production of The Tempest. I’m very fond of this isolated island castaway and the brave new world she discovers, and it’s probably no surprise that I still have most of her lines memorized: including the bold opening speech in which she begs her wizard-father to stop the darn storm that he’s churned up. Seriously, Prospero, someone’s going to write a play about this all now.
This $3 thrift-store dress (it was sold to me as a shirt, but I’m pretty darn sure it’s just a really short dress? Or maybe I’m just too flexible in my clothing classifications) immediately reminded me of Miranda. Perhaps it’s the open-shoulder design, which might appeal to a daughter of a noble-sorcerer who needs her full range of motion to survive on a mysterious island. In any case, I was happy to play Prospero and develop the illusion still further by adding on a few maritime accessories!
Wondering where I’ve been this past week? If you’ve ever had to experience the joy of wisdom teeth surgery, I’m sure I needn’t say more. I survived, though, and in the meantime, received some beautiful letters that I read after emerging from the mental fog of oral surgery!
As I rest and weep and wait for that far-off day when I can eat carrots and blue corn chips again, I have plenty of vintage-inspired mail to keep me company. I say “vintage-inspired,” but what I really mean is “one letter that looks genuinely vintage, as in styled after a kind of mod 60s look, while the other reminds me of nineteenth-century natural history.” Pretty cool either way!
My menagerie of pins continues to grow, broadening into a bestiary of the most fantastic creatures! The newest member of my merry band of enamel revelers is this gorgeous leafy creature–a mousemoth by Minnow & Moss.
It’s been many a year since I darkened the door of a certain extremely popular microblogging site, but in the days that I did, I used that platform exclusively to discover enchanting artists. Among those lovely illustrators kindly introduced to me through Tumblr was Olivia Chin Mueller: now you too can spend hours poring over her magical portfolio!
Anyway, Minnow & Moss is the combined efforts of Olivia and her mother Tracye, and they have a variety of beautiful pins for sale. I bought this mousemoth as a seconds-sale item, which usually means the pin has some kind of minor flaw (hence the discounted price)–though I can’t for the life of me figure out what it might be! This mousemoth is perfect just the way she is.
What’s the best way to shake yourself out of a creative mail slump? Pick your favorite author and go to town with themed literary letters!
A while ago, I showed off a Jane Austen mailing from a pen pal, and I finally had the time to craft the perfect reply. I took my visual inspiration from an amazing vintage volume in my personal library: David Day’s A Tolkien Bestiary, published in 1979. Its surreally beautiful illustrations perfectly capture all the earthly and ethereal creatures of Tolkien’s world. The book is in great condition, so I’d never turn its pages into an envelope any time soon–but I did borrow its color scheme and general Middle Earth aesthetic!
If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.
Anne of Green Gables
When I shared a preview of this outfit on Instagram over the weekend, I mentioned that it reminded me of my favorite literary heroine, Anne Shirley–and although I still can’t figure out why, I’m happy for any excuse to reread some passages from those wonderful novels of my youth.
I’ve always identified with Anne’s wild imagination, flair for the dramatic, and initially complicated relationship with Gilbert Blythe (though nobody, luckily, ever teased me for my red hair!). More generally, we also share a deep appreciation for the inherent magic found in nature, and the feelings of awe, peace, and humility that spending time in contemplation of a forest, field, or coastline can inspire. So I wore this dress out on my first photo-walk in several hot weeks: fortunately, there were no nearby rivers to tempt me to play-act the final voyage of the Lady of Shalott.
I never thought I would say this, but with temperatures skyrocketing to the 90s and beyond in Massachusetts this week, I’m rather missing the temperate/constantly rainy climes of my time in England! Though we dodged raindrops with every outing, at least each drizzly day was bearable with an umbrella and a coat.
I actually enjoy staying inside on a rainy day; conversely, I feel guilty for avoiding the outdoors when the sun is shining. Yet that’s exactly what I’ll have to do over the next few days until the East Coast decides to chill! I suppose it will give me a good opportunity to look back through some more of my photos capturing moments in the English woods…