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!
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?
I have never, in fact, purchased a seashell in my life–I much prefer to find them on my own–but a dress with shell embroidery? That I can’t resist!
You’re about to experience yet another classic Mailbox Mermaid dress-acquiring narrative, consisting of the usual progression of:
- discovering a newly-released, retro-inspired garment, likely with marine or nautical influences
- bemoaning its pirate’s ransom of a price
- waiting patiently like a gulper eel for a sale to transform said garment into something vaguely reasonable for my budget
I have to admit that this iteration of the story had a more tragic bent, because I was legitimately saddened when I first glimpsed this incredible dress and then released it retailed at just under $80. I assumed I’d have to wait until fall for a pink and summery mermaid dress to go on sale: but as luck would have it, a surprise one-day-only clearance brought us together, resulting in nearly the same degree of personal satisfaction and delight as finding an unbroken conch or cowrie!
Would that this post were filled with photos of actual puffins soaring (and waddling) their way around the Scottish coast! I dreamed of spying my favorite seabirds during my trip to Edinburgh, but it was totally wistful thinking, as those guys tend to show up around later in the spring. Until next time!
Amazingly, I can host an entire colony of puffins thanks to this most novel of novelty print dresses. Even more amazingly, it turns out that other plural terms used for a group of puffins include “a circus of puffins” and “an improbability of puffins.” Could these birds get any cuter?
I’ve joked about my resemblance to a certain Magic Schoolbus protagonist before, but it’s now official–I’m just one lizard short of becoming Ms. Frizzle. Now, if I were a classroom teacher, I’d be much more likely to take my kids on a field trip back in time to visit a sixteenth-century cabinet of curiosities: PBS, if you ever want to cast me in the Magic Schoolbus: Early Modern Museum History reboot, just give me a call.
Even though I know more about wunderkammern than the wonders of the universe, I’m still a casual sci-fi/pop-astronomy nerd. In high school, I read Contact and Clarke, watched Cosmos, listened to that Symphony of Science remix album on repeat, and dreamed of visiting SETI just like everyone else!
I’m only sad that I can’t pop back to the past to give this dress to my teenaged self. It would have been the perfect thing to wear to my “sweet [sci-fi] 16” party, a now-infamous shindig for which my mother even created a HAL-9000 cake…
If you follow my Instagram, you might already have seen me flouncing around Providence in my new dress by Hell Bunny–but this bizarre large-scale sculpture is one detail from my Rhode Island adventure that I saved for today’s post!
Urs Fischer’s Untitled (Lamp/Bear) occupies an unexpected corner of the Brown University campus. It’s provocative, nostalgic, eye-catching and almost the exact same color as my dress, so I definitely had to take a moment to admire this guy: disarming ursine button-eyes notwithstanding.