Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Jazz Age Lawn Party, August 2016.

I’ve been wanting to go to the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island for years. It started popping up on the blogs of people who lived in or near the city, and of course the coverage by Bill Cunningham in the Times, especially among those who were really into vintage. But, like most things, every year I would see pictures of and think next year! Next year I will go!

Jazz Age Lawn Party August 2016

And then I didn't.

I especially always wanted to because generally the second set of summer dates falls the weekend after my birthday and it always seemed like the perfect birthday activity. Never did though, always kind of chickened out because I wasn’t sure what to wear or how to get downstate in some delicate outfit, plus I always waited until almost the last minute and then tickets were sold out anyway.

But this year, 2016, this year I turned 30. Somehow it seemed even more fitting given that I would be saying goodbye to my twenties (something I was vaguely dreading but now that it has happened I kind of like, don’t care?). Plus I mean, that’s a big birthday right? So over the winter I plunked down the money, got two tickets, and we ended up making a weekend of it (because I didn’t know which Jazz-Age garment I wanted to wear I brought several in a garment bag and somehow that didn’t seem like a good idea to be lugging around the city just for a day).

Jazz Age Lawn Party August 2016

Jazz Age Lawn Party August 2016

Jazz Age Lawn Party August 2016
Dress: Laura's Vintage, Bag: From the now closed Reruns, Shoes: Nine West some years ago, Hat: Also a closed shop many years ago, Fan: picked up at the event because oh god, so hot!

I do feel like some of the popularity around this event has waned, like now that it’s become a known even less of the blogger types from the early days go, like a kind of fashion event hipster attitude has sprung up around it, but then who cares ugh all that kind of attitude is dumb anyway! And it was fantastic.

I mean, it was also 111 degrees which was kind of awful, I’ve never in my life sweat so much. So much that my slip, that my mother hemmed so that it wouldn’t show under the black netting of the dress I was wearing, stretched considerably so by the time we got these photos the thing was totally visible at the hemline. Which is fine, no one cares anyway.

The dress in question is one I grabbed from Laura’s Vintage (of course, my favorite spot!) over the winter. It’s not in impeccable shape, but a few stitches to keep it together and some fusible interfacing made it relatively sturdy. I didn’t want to wear something perfect because I knew, given a tear or stain, I would be heartbroken and wonder for years why I wore such a thing!

Jazz Age Lawn Party August 2016

I was also on the fence because while it is such in ideal print and color palette for late summer, it seems everyone else shows up in breezy pastels. In the end though I was totally thrilled with it and might even wear the whole get-up again, maybe to our local speakeasy (we have one, it’s great, but they don’t allow pictures ugh).

David was a real-deal true-blue trooper and wore pants, which I can’t even imagine, and a long sleeve button up with sleeves rolled. It hardly mattered that we were drenched though, because everyone was.

Jazz Age Lawn Party August 2016

Jazz Age Lawn Party August 2016

And everyone was also incredibly nice! We met so many really cheerful and wonderful people who helped with finding the ferry, lending sunscreen, letting us sit on a blanket (we didn’t bother bringing any), and a really lovely family gave us their extra drink and meal tickets when they decided to leave early.

Jazz Age Lawn Party August 2016

Despite the heat and my terrible shoe choice (blisters the size of half-dollars on the soles of my poor feet), it was incredibly fun and I’m already trying to work out how to go in June without spending an arm and a leg and then some on hotels and transportation!


Anyway it was kind of a dream. It’s far enough away now that I can’t remember what the heat felt like, and I can’t wait to go again!

Jazz Age Lawn Party August 2016

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Woods, The Path, The Sea.

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

I wonder, often, if I should write blog posts here with a specific idea or theme in mind, a blog post thesis statement, but in the end I'm trying not to stress about it too much and just let it be. I bring up that wonder only because I know right from the start that this one is going to be about a number of things, and I'm sure there is a neat way to tie them all in together but I'm not sure what it is. 

We don't get to the beach that often anymore, which is a shame generally for anyone who doesn't, but I'm one of those who feels it specifically because I spent so much time in the sand and sea as a kid and up through adolescence. We took a weekend trip, something that doesn't happen all that often because it's hard to have a weekend off of work and to want to spend 6 hours or so of that in a car. Occasionally the time between trips is long enough that you forget the parts that are awful (packing, unpacking, not the actual driving but the traffic jams, the way rest-stop bathroom soap smells) and you load up with bikes and outfits and go somewhere. 

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

As a teenager we spent two summer vacations away from our usual spot (Long Island), instead heading out to Cape Cod. There's that thing about teenage summers, I don't know what it is but they are golden in the remembering, like most things, but there's something particular about those summers so that I keep trying to work on stories about it and them and very specific locations that I was only in for a moment compared to all the other places in life. I haven't been back in about ten years, and since then I've spent a lot of time (for whatever reason) picturing and thinking and writing about silly things like the walk to the beach where we stay. 

Anyway, I brought along my Edwardian dress to wear and photograph in the beach landscape: the wooded path, the weird little field ('The Snake Path' although the sign with the name wasn't around when I was 15), the jetty sticking out into the bay. 

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress
Dress: Vintage (antique really though, haha!) via instagram, Shoes: Vintage via thrift

It's not actually the kind of outfit I would wear out there (in fact, later, when we took another walk down after dark in the weird mist, I was in a sweatshirt and jeans), and whenever I write about it all in a uh, creative nonfiction kind of theme, it's always just stupid shorts and sneakers and the hoodies that litter the teenage years of the early 2000s.

But I think about this path, the road curving away and ending in this little dark forest path that opens up into a field that deposits you onto the road lined with beach houses before getting to the water, and the feeling of walking that and the street lights in the tree leaves. None of that is at all related to this dress at the beach, in my mind and memory anyway, all the same it seemed alright to wear a treasure of a dress to something I'm so fixated on in my personal tropes. 

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

I'm also wearing it backwards. I think. I'm pretty sure, and I'm pretty sure you can tell because the lines in the bust are kind of awkward (I mean, they are anyway because I own nothing even close to the appropriate undergarments time-period-wise for this kind of thing) but I kind of don't care? It's impossible for me to snap and button myself into it without assistance, and being honest it's also a tiny bit snug. I also like the lower neckline that happens if you wear it backwards, and so to date it's the only way I've worn it. 

I've had my eye out for one for ages, and this one finally popped up on instagram in a sale at just about the right price and almost the right size (I'm actually tempted to sell it now that I've worn it a few times, but waist sizes from this era in my size are so hard to come by I feel I should probably hang on to it). I've been sitting on it since then, occasionally putting it on for an event and then changing. The problems of what to wear not just slip-wise (if you don't want it sheer) and uh, bra-wise are tricky and not entirely things I've solved yet. 

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

This was a bit of fun. I'm fast approaching 30, but I still sort of love dressing up and going and I don't know, pretending on a bit of rock. Too many novels, but I know for certain my teenage self would approve of this kind of pretending. 

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

It feels silly sometimes, like for a few years this all made sense, and now it feels indulgent and maybe a little stupid, but something in me still wants to chronicle it and tell myself little stories. If I get my act together I'll write actual things down and who knows, maybe they'll make an appearance in the world in some kind of print? 

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress

Beach path: north Falmouth w/ Edwardian dress


Once again, thanks to my boyfriend David for taking these. He's gotten really good at knowing what I'm asking for with images, good team and all that!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Heat of May Days.

Victorian corset cover @ buckingham pond

You know how you save outfits? I don't wear a lot of my vintage, or more precisely antique, clothing because I'm afraid sometimes (if it's in near-perfect condition) of tearing or staining it. So I don't know that I normally would have worn this top from my last post for weeks and maybe months, but we've had a heat wave in this last weekend of May (the same as three years ago, a summer that is particularly golden in memory. I remember especially this exact weekend being just this hot) and I had a day off from work, a new (to me) skirt and this newly mended little corset cover type thing. 

Victorian corset cover @ buckingham pond

Victorian corset cover @ buckingham pond

I didn't even worry about it too much while wearing it. I'm hard on my clothes. I try my best to be careful, but somehow I always end up with holes in everything from the toes of my stockings to the elbows of blouses and sweaters. My shoes are all hard-worn, scuffed toes, heels flopping off, so that there is a permanent rotation of shoes on the floor behind the driver's side seat in my car to go to the cobbler. I was careful today not to carry my bag on my shoulder too much, afraid the lace would tear, which is nice because I always think about those articles on how you shouldn't carry a bag a certain way because it will damage your shoulders or posture. 

Victorian corset cover @ buckingham pond
Top: Vintage/antique, Skirt: Vintage (thrifted, stained, oops), Shoes: J. Crew Cece Ballet Flat, Bag: Vintage (thrifted), Glasses: H&M (current season)

I'm starting to feel a little bit more distilled in my personal style. I'm getting better at loving things but leaving them behind not because I won't have occasion to wear it, but because it's not the kind of thing I'll feel myself in. 

Victorian corset cover @ buckingham pond

Victorian corset cover @ buckingham pond

Anyway, I love this little top. It's one of those things I couldn't believe I was lucky enough to find. So often I get this, I'm not sure what to call it exactly, a kind of vintage hoarder's envy? It seems like the big sellers who have been at it for ages have access to the best estates, or live in areas with less dealers in general, or just have a larger collection have lots of stuff like this. This was a dirty little rumpled up napkin of a top when I found it, but it soaked beautifully with almost no problems. It has that full front Edwardian thing happening, where without the proper corsets and such I don't exactly fill it out, but it keeps the whole thing breezy and easy in the humidity for which we were not prepared. 

Victorian corset cover @ buckingham pond

Victorian corset cover @ buckingham pond

Thanks to this guy for taking these pictures:

Boyfriend.

Because it's really hard by myself with a tripod <3 div="">

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ribbon Replacement.

Yeah, I know, I didn't write anything for here for like two months. I don't know, it just happened? 

Anyway, I've still been working on some of the things from the last post--that washing pile turned into a giant mending pile (as they do) and I'm back to a schedule of trying to mend at least one item a night while I watch Dancing with the Stars (I miss Derek, sorry, the seasons are just not the same if he's not competing) before bed. 

One of the trickier things are the older, Edwardian or Victorian clothes, not just because they're pretty delicate and require mendings that are teeny tiny, but because a lot of the bits need replacing. Like the ribbons. They seem to rot first, before any of the rest of a garment, and finding new ones that are the right colors and consistency is kind of a pain. 

Replacing ribbons

Replacing ribbons


Replacing ribbons

There is a lack of nice fabric stores around here. We have the usual Joanne's, and it's lovely, but I often can't find exactly what I'm looking for since what I'm looking for tends to be a bit more niche or maybe (at the risk of sounding like a terribly snob) high-end? I needed a silk ribbon, in order for the bow to flop nicely without being overly shiny. I don't want a ribbon that holds a shape, but rather one that sort of drapes and falls in a sort of Romantically Bedraggeled way without actually being in shreds. So, silk. 

There is nowhere near to buy silk ribbon, for example, in the shades and size I need. I ended up finding what I wanted on Etsy, of course, so now it's just a matter of time deciding what colors!

Replacing ribbons

Replacing ribbons

I ended up with this blush pink first, since it's a fairly close match to the original although I might even prefer this shade--it's a tad more neutral. A few of the pieces I've got that have rotted ribbons are yellow, so I might order that next, although I'm envisioning a nice dove grey or blue would be pretty?

Replacing ribbons

It's an odd task, sort of tedious, so I tie a little needle on to the end of the ribbon so I might string it through the lace in under 20 minutes. 

Replacing ribbons

And there! This is one of those tasks that takes no time at all, but getting there I drag my feet. Maybe by the time I make another post I'll be actually wearing this one?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Laundry Days.

I'm waffling today on what to do with my evening. I could, given that I am not required to be up particularly early tomorrow, go see Carly Rae Jepsen for a reasonable ticket price and bounce around to my heart's content by myself. I could also stay home, plug in my headphones and play Emotion, and throw a whole mess of recent antique/vintage acquisitions in buckets and play laundress.

Laundry daysLaundry days

It's not an easy choice for me, I swear! Were it between regular laundry and this show I wouldn't be debating at all--even though regular weekly laundry is infinitely easier than dunking some chiffon thing into a tub and praying it doesn't disintegrate. It's oddly satisfying, maybe even fun? The suspense is sometimes enjoyable even (when it works out), like yes, I have saved this garment, this textile is new again, I have saved it, I am a genius!

(For the record, I didn't do either. After work I was too tired to go stand around at a show for several hours--this is how I know I am now old--even if I went late and missed the opening acts, I just couldn't muster up the energy for that kind of environment. Mom and I went to visit a friend who had surgery, then ordered a pizza and made a salad so really, I'm pretty happy with that activity too. I did finally get to my exciting laundry on my day off yesterday).

I don't dry clean. I mean, sometimes I do. For coats and things like that, but anything that can't go in the washing machine, vintage or new, I hand wash. Sometimes this ends in tears despite all kinds of resources on the internet with instructions on what to use or not used on various textiles (once, early in my collecting, I dunked a black crepe 1940s dress in a bunch of hot water and it shrank to toddler size). It's all very helpful but in the end I suspect there's nothing like trial and error. 

Laundry days Laundry days

I'm not really interested in writing a tutorial for this--there are enough of those out there, better researched and written--and really I don't have much to say on the topic besides lukewarm water (maybe cold water? Sometimes I use cold but in the interest of keeping things as gentle as possible lukewarm makes more sense to me. I'm also a wimp with cold hands who doesn't want to dunk them into ice water), soap flakes (which is a really satisfying thing to make even though grating a bar of soap really, really makes me want to eat it because it looks like cheese), and oxyclean. Which I know can be dangerous but sometimes I just gotta dunk those yellowed whites. 

And synthrapol, a lifesaver. 

I usually get a few buckets going, along with an old strainer we used to use for pasta until the stand on the bottom of it broke off. I throw on some podcasts (lately The Black Tapes. Even though one episode scared me and I had to skip it and then had nightmares anyway) and leggings and get all my potions going in the bathroom, occasionally poking their contents with a spoon, wrapping wet things in towels, hanging them to dry, getting really grossed out by the yellow dust-bowl colored water that has that really distinct old wet clothes smell? What is that? It's not the same as a thrift-store smell, it's much clingier, sort of swampy and alive instead of stale. 

Laundry days

There's something I like about it. The typical line of thinking would be I enjoy bringing something old back to life, the usual vintage collector's song, but I suspect for me it's more in line with the peace of doing something tangible? The end result is great but I like something about the process, the suspense, the puzzle of what it takes to get a stain out. Or maybe I'm just excited to wear something new. 

Laundry days

Laundry days

The next step, the mending. That part I'm pretty bad about. I let the piles sit around for months, usually until I want to wear one of the pieces in it, and only leave myself 15 minutes to fix it before I have to be somewhere. Better late than never?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fall on the First of February.

I'm desperate for snow. Somehow my area of upstate was over the cutoff for the big nor'easter that hit downstate a few weeks ago. I had been waiting to photograph (or even wear) this cape/coat in the snow, since I love a big fur collar in snow! But it's not happening and I need to hop on my blog photo opportunities when I can. 

Even if that means posting images where all the branches and bracken behind me are in focus but I'm not because I have yet to order a remote. It's fine I'm just being extra authentic in posting my mistakes, or something?


Coat: Laura's Vintage, Shoes: Bass Outlet circa 2014, Hat: J. Crew (old), Pin: Vintage, Bag: Coach, Socks: J. Crew

This is the last piece of outerwear I am allowed to purchase for a long while. I love jackets and coats, and as a vintage collector they are sort of everywhere--stronger materials, not worn as much, you know the drill--but really good ones? They're extra good. This one showed up at Laura's Vintage while I was there on a little shopping trip, just stopping in before a dinner and movie date, I think my boyfriend saw my eyes light up with want. It worked out--he had gotten me a gift certificate I didn't know about then for Christmas, so I was able to make this beauty mine shortly after.


I haven't worn it until today though. It's heavy, with that nice collar, but it doesn't actually have sleeves which is kind of a problem in a part of the Northeast where close two or below zero happens on the regular. I already can't wait for next fall though to wear it in the changing leaves! If it does snow though I can pretend to be an alternate-universe 1960s style member of the Stark family (book vibes, I'm still praying to the old gods and the new that the show gets axed).



I've got one more cape to photograph (and let's be honest, to wear in public) before the season is over, so maybe this is my winter of capes? The next one is decidedly more Fellowship leaning, so I suppose this one is my toe-in-the-water to normal daily cape wearing. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Blogging Apathy.

I have plans to do some actual blogging/writing about my feelings/thoughts on the blogger subject lately, for a few months now, but when the time comes I somehow can't be bothered. Mostly I don't feel that I have a space in it anymore, or at least not in the same way, but I also don't want to stop doing it. I like snapping a few shots of an outfit here or there, but it's kind of hard not to feel like I should be making some of it, or that I'm holding on to some weird internet space that doesn't really exist in the same way anymore.

Dress: vintage from jessjamesjake on etsy, Sweater: vintage L.L. Bean thrifted, Shoes: vintage from allencompanyon etsy, Bag: J. Crew (current season)


I also like, kind of don't care? That a lot of people seem to have moved on from it, or that it's a whole new animal now. Maybe I'll just keep doing this funny little thing. 



I've always liked to record things in a somewhat public fashion--blame it on those early days on livejournal. It's nice to have a record of things. My skin is changing, I'm trying to grow my hair out, rewriting resumes, trying to work on little creative projects, reading old favorite books. It's that all the usual while starting to look for change kind of thing happening around here. 

I'm not certain how to uh, style myself lately? I'm constantly switching between a messy layered mess of sweaters and leggings and clothes appropriate for doing something messy, and a pretty polished made-up look. I can't decide if I want milky pastels or darker things, I have days where I absolutely can't deal with vintage and others when I'm totally obsessed with it.

I picked up this dress from Jess over the summer, because I'm a sucker for a dark floral, before she even got it into the shop. It's one of those really good 1970s Young Edwardian dresses I always hope to find in a Salvation Army somewhere and never, ever do. She did though so, I'm lucky enough that way! The sweater is a bit old, I'm not sure how much life it's got left in it but I like it's bulky, itchy character. I didn't realize how terrible it smelled of mothballs till I got it home (one of those, when surrounded by old stuff problems) and away from it's dusty environment. A nice little sun bath, and an actual spray bath of various liquids seems to have done the trick. 







For now I just wish it would snow, although I'm pretty okay with not wearing boots for a little bit more.

Thanks to my very nice boyfriend David for obligingly snapping these before heading out for haircuts and coffee <3 p="">