Hey, remember last summer when I felt an undeniable urge to re-curate my outfit photo wall? I loved that marine-themed wall art, but like any museum professional, I also know that you can’t display works on paper for too long without risking damage from the sun and other elements. Consequently, those free printables–I mean, works of art–have returned to my obviously high-security storage facility, and I’ve reinstalled a selection of early modern natural history illustrations of cephalopods, odd deep-sea fish, and phytoplankton.
Then I happened to find this vintage dropped-waist dress in a quaint secondhand store in Pennsylvania, and its cheerful pastel tones nearly perfectly match the faded hues of my new squid-themed mini exhibition. I–alas!–do not currently own a squid pin, but my second (!) mousemoth pin by Minnow & Moss, this version in green and yellow, complements this dress excellently.
You knew this day was coming, folks. After a yearlong foray into the glories of 1950s- and 60s-inspired fashion, I’ve finally purchased one of those dang petticoats. In fact, it’s a cheerful pastel crinoline consisting of enough layers of yellow, feathery tulle to evoke Big Bird at the ballet.
When I tore open the airmail package on Saturday and came face-to-face with the reality that I had purchased an archaic garment intended to make me resemble one of those bizarre Barbie doll cake toppers, I’ll admit that there was a moment of existential doubt.
- it was only $10 on sale – and that’s probably the equivalent of what one might spend at a certain New England donut and coffee purveyor over the course of three days, so I think I’m all good, and
- I’ve kind of always wanted to capture the aesthetic of one of those bizarre Barbie doll cake toppers, I guess?
Jennifer isn’t exactly my favorite Back to the Future character (that dubious honor goes to George McFly), but as my flirtation with 80s fashion continues, I’ve found her style pretty exciting to emulate! Here’s hoping no one will leave me sleeping on a porch while they return to the time period of their choice.
Jennifer’s original vest (or is it just a sleeveless denim shirt? WHO KNOWS, EIGHTIES FASHION) is a little too oversized for my tastes–I made mine by cropping a girls’-size-large denim jacket from the Goodwill. My latticed picnic-basket-style skirt is also a thrifting find from a few years ago: who would’ve thought it might fit into a retro look like this one?
‘Now my dears,’ said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, ‘you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.’
‘Don’t worry, Inspirational Single Mother Bunny who has somehow kept us safe from this menace of a farmer up until today,’ replied her daughters, all in unison, because they were weird like that. ‘We’re not total fools driven solely by hedonism.’
-Beatrix Potter, kind of
The dubious honor of My First Pin of 2017 goes to…this Beatrix Potter brooch featuring Maternal Bunny Figure and my three favorite goody-two-shoes rabbitlings!
I always had a hard time identifying with Peter Rabbit. The dude makes some extremely questionable decisions, you know? His mother says “Peter, your father literally became a pie after he was caught in that vegetable garden,” and Peter’s like “whatever, I’m basically a wild teenager except a bunny.”
Insipid rule-follower that I am, I felt much closer to Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, Peter’s sweet sisters who obey their mother and innocently pick blackberries while their miscreant brother gets up to all sorts of shenanigans. You might think that the three girls are secondary, marginalized characters: but the very last scene in the story features these smug little geniuses feasting on bread, berries, and milk while Peter sulks in bed. This probably happens every week.
Plus, look how adorable their cloaks are! I’ll take those over Peter’s lost jacket any day.
Like all five-year-old children (wait, you mean I’m not one anymore?) I possess a strong and strange appreciation for dinosaurs. Though I once dreamed of becoming a paleontologist (and an archaeologist, and all varieties of people who uncover the past), these days I’m quite content that my lot in life is to work inside air-conditioned museums rather than out in the field.
So consider this dinosaur dress a consolation prize for my inner child, the one who so very much wanted to study natural history. I might be an art historian now, but I’m not above a little bit of well-informed dinosaur fangirling. And how better to celebrate youth and prehistoric reptiles than with a day at the playground?