outfit of the [yester]day: tidepool time

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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!

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quite at home with the Dandelion

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“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!

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be yourself, unless you can be a medieval unicorn

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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!)

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outfit of the [yester]day: not-really nineteenth-century

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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!

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thrifting haul: miranda

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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!

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outfit of the [yester]day: cute + cephalopoda

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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.

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outfit of the [yester]day: content-mint

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Gingham seems to be “in,” but my own fascination with it is really due to the fact that it makes me feel like a fairy-tale character. Looking like a walking picnic blanket probably just means that I need to have picnics nigh-constantly, right?

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