the garden party dress

There are a myriad of reasons why I mostly wear vintage clothing, and one of the major reasons is that vintage dresses have such soul and character! No modern frock can compare to the feeling of connection to the past and aged patina vintage textiles convey; it's a bit hard to articulate, but I bet you fellow vintage lovers know what I'm talking about.

And yet, when I found this contemporary floral day dress by Boden at a consignment store, I was strangely drawn to it! I walked away from it at first, as it wasn't a huge bargain, but I kept thinking about it, and finally went back and bought it a few days later. It actually looks and feels like a '30s or '40s frock, I think, with that sweet print, collar, and the gathered bust. I even sewed some antique lace ribbon I had in my collection onto the ruffled collar to make it a little more old-fashioned. I must say, it's nice to be able to wear a dress without constantly worrying about tears or popped seams, haha!

Its allure wasn't a total mystery, as it reminds me quite a bit of the dust-soaked '30s day dresses Rita Sue of Carnivale often wears:


I wore my new-to-me '20s straw cloche-style sunhat for photos only, as it's in very delicate condition. The silk lining and hatband are quite shattered, so much so that I removed the lining-- it was practically tearing to the touch. It makes a lovely display item in my room, though, and perhaps someday I'll find a worthy use for the lovely velvet flowers. 

Well, enjoy the weekend! ♥


dream trunk

I have lots of very old stuff in my home and in my life, and while it's all very evocative of the past and nostalgic and all that, I take a lot of it for granted and incorporate into my modern life without too much thought. Well, this vintage wardrobe trunk is a little different... it's one of those pieces I consider a real time capsule. Just looking at it and feeling its silky lining transports me instantly to an era when trunks like these were just a normal part of traveling. I wonder what fine clothes were stuffed in those drawers once upon a time? What trains or ships did it ride? Where did it go?

This beauty was a Christmas gift from my dear mother this year. I'd been harboring a deep, but unexpressed, hankering for such a wardrobe trunk ever since I saw Stage Door back in high school. In it, Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn are roommate showgirls, and have a little tiff over Hepburn's oversized trunks. It's a fantastic film that you should most certainly see if you haven't already, but I think all I took away from it was that I had to get myself a glamorous old wardrobe trunk of my own! I was so excited when I received this one. Look at that fabric lining, folks! Still as bright as the day it was made! Unfortunately, it resides with my Victorian girl in the workshop, and it's there for the same reason-- too big to fit in our five room house. I'll be getting my own apartment as soon as I'm done with my school's residency requirement, but at this point I think my collection could fill up a whole house! (Preferably a Victorian farmhouse with gingerbread trim and plenty of acreage... ;)

What I wore today was a thoroughly modern t-shirt (with a picnic-ing animals motif!) and square dancin' skirt and ballet flats, teamed with '50s pearls and crinoline, plus an antique lace collar to keep things old. As you can also see, despite pretty much having a bob, I am still making a feeble attempt at my beloved big hair. Clearly my cropped locks are no longer suited to a beehive, but you'll have to pry my Aquanet and teasing comb from my cold dead hands ;)
Note: Behind me you'll see the back of the trunk, with its pretty red-and-green stripes.


dakota's american gothic playlist

Hello there! Today I felt like sharing some of my musical inspirations of late.

I truly love early 20th century country songs, Appalachian murder ballads and disaster songs like nothing else on this earth. They express such a beautiful and beguiling mix of sentiments. On the one hand, they're such pure, unaffected, morally righteous songs. No matter your religious views, the honest faith that no matter how bad things get in this world, there's something greater waiting beyond is really eerily touching. Then on the other side, there's so much morbidity and sorrow and evil going on in these songs;  people are stabbing their lovers left and right, little babies are dying, and forsaken ladies are just giving up and dying of heartbreak. It's such a hard, unflinching look at the cruel ironies and discomforts of this old world. As you can see I'm really really passionate about music from hardscrabble, rundown rural America, because well, that's all I've known for most of my life. I'm afraid I just can't relate to the privileged, suburban-raised folks that dominate most every music scene these days. So here are some songs of darkness, doubt, cryin' steel guitars and high lonesome sounds to give your week a bright cheery start. 

Lastly, why not listen to a radio skit by Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family?
(I love Maybelle as much as you, but good gosh, she can't act! AP and Jimmie aren't too bad, though, eh?)


a casual friday

(1940s western shirt; 1950s capris; Keds)

I know I've shared my flannel-lined jeans with you; now here is my summer-friendly version. These, too, are vintage '50s jeans, only they're super light-weight clam diggers with adorable nautical-esque striped details! I found them at a consignment store for $15, not such a bad price. I'd been dreaming about a pair of Freddie's for ages, but the ol' student budget wouldn't allow it... and now I'm all set!

Even though I prefer to wear dresses and heels when I go out, I live in rural Vermont, and such outfits are really impractical for everyday life. I have outdoor chores, horses to care for and ride, long hikes with my dog through the dense forests and boggy fields... not something I'd like to subject my vintage frocks to!!

Isn't this Victorian girl portrait the best?? I got it for free! Unfortunately there's no room on my bedroom walls for it, and my dad won't let me put it in the living room. So for now she lives in our garage-turned-workshop.

This 1940s classic gabardine Western shirt is one of my very favorite items of clothing; the embroidery is of acorns and oak leaves, sewn with silvery thread!

♥ Have a great weekend!!! ♥


ladies in waiting

(Outfit: 1940s dress; antique collar; thrifted basket purse; Vigoss oxfords)

Because I'm a first-rate pack rat collector, my bedroom is like a wonderful collage of old bits and bobs. I have all these little portraits of lovely ladies from the past tucked everywhere; my old photographs provide me with endless inspiration as to how real, everyday women in the early 20th century did their hair and wore their clothes. As I'm getting acquainted with my new cropped 'do (I promise I'll stop obsessing over it soon, hehe!) my little clippings and photographs of '20s and '30s girls give me a good look at easy and pretty styles to try. Plus they're just all such gorgeous gals, I thought I'd share some of my favorites!

Here's a real elegant lady; I like her fur, very glamourous!

A clipping from a 1933 Montgomery-Ward catalog (don't fret, the catalog was all torn and ruined, I wouldn't have cut it up otherwise!)

A cute li'l '20s girl with a Louise Brooksian bob. 

A '20s or '30s advertisement. I wish I could look like this every day!

This woman's stunning dress, high heels, and immaculate finger waves had me in raptures! 

And now here's a familiar face; I just wanted to show off my "new" antique crochet lace collar, it's darling! It's hard to date these things, but I'd guess it to be from the first quarter of the 20th century, and it just cost me one dollar.

So sorry all these pictures are a bit out-of-focus; I dropped my good camera and broke the lens a few weeks ago, so I've been making do with our old cheap camera... and, well, it doesn't take kindly to indoor lighting!

I hope this post finds you well and in good spirits!


dust bowl gal

(1930s or 1940s voile day dress; thrifted belt; UO ruffled ankle socks; thrifted Loake mens' brogues; vintage faux [hopefully!] reptile skin train case)

OK, so the green grassy hills of Vermont are a far cry from the dry, dusty plains of the '30s... but I've been having a love affair with Great Depression and Dust Bowl looks lately! I think I want to look like a 1930s country farm girl this summer, and of course I live in the perfect location for that look. Vermont's beautiful landscape never ceases to fill me with awe; these fields, which will soon sprout corn, are just a five minute stroll from my front door, nestled behind a beautiful old graveyard and down an empty dirt lane. Very picturesque in the golden evening light! 

I'd like to thank you all for the sweet and encouraging comments on my last post, they really cheered me up. I was in such shock right after I got the cut; I've been a total Jo March since I was a little girl: all through elementary and middle school I was a completely anti-fashion, bookish tomboy, but I had glossy wasit-length hair that was my pride and joy, even if I kept in neat braids all the time. I'm staring to warm up to my new look, though... it's amazing how easy short hair is. It takes curl almost too well, and holds up all day long. And I've always loved the "cloud of curls" look many flappers sported, so now I can emulate them, too!

I'm also so excited to have over 200 followers now... welcome new readers, and thank you to each and every one of my sweet followers, I'm so flattered you like my blog enough to read it! I will have a little give-away with some cute vintage goodies to celebrate sometime soon-ish! ♥

PS: Our wireless internet connection has been very sporadic lately... one minute it's fine, the next it just stops working! It's very frustrating. So I may not be as active at reading and commenting as I'd like for a bit. ☹


short hair!

It's been a sad, sad weekend in these parts: my lovely long hair is gone! That's right, after an attempt to trim it myself (I've always done this before without a hitch, but...) went terribly awry, and my attempts to even it out took away more and more hair, the only way I could look semi-normal was to just have it all hacked off into a sort of bob. (It's a bit longer than it looks in these pictures, I'm just not used to setting such short hair so it came out in really tight curls). I'm really quite heartbroken; even though I think short hair looks incredibly cute and I know it's more authentically vintage, I'm just a long-haired girl at heart.

Luckily I have pretty healthy, fast-growing hair, so I hope it grows back to a more comfortable length in the near future. And 'til then, I'm going to take full advantage of the new length: I can finally try my hand at things like pincurls and finger waves, and channel Marilyn Monroe,  Clara Bow, Debbie Harry, and every '20s and '30s girl there ever was. I'm sure it'll feel much cooler through the summer months, too. So objectively, the pros outweigh the cons... I'm just a silly vain thing who feels sentimentally attached to my locks!

♥ I hope you had a lovely weekend! ♥


green fields and a flowered dress

(1940s dress; Remix Vintage shoes; tooled saddle purse from a tourist shop in Mexico)

Well hello, dear readers! Today I've got another special dress to show off... this gorgeous 1940s frock I'm wearing was a gift from yet another sweetheart of a blogger, Susan from Living Vintage! I first met this wonderful lady through The Fedora Lounge (an aside to all you vintage girls: that site is a must-visit for all your styling and clothing questions). Just like pretty Miss Coco from my last post, the lovely Susan shares my love of Loretta Lynn, kitschy goodness, and fabulous mid-century fashions! When she told me she was cleaning out her closets and had a couple of dresses needing a bit of TLC I might like, I of course said yes!! And oh how lovely they are; in addition to this floral number, I also received a 1950s-does-Victorian emerald green satin party dress with about a million little buttons up the front and a bustle-esque ruffle at the back. SeriouslyScarlett O'Hara would kill for this dress, but it's all mine, hehe. They both fit me perfectly, which is quite amazing too. A big huge "thank you!!" to Susan; these dresses are very loved! And if you're not familiar with her blog yet, go and get acquainted; she's got the mid-century look down pat, and really lives the lifestyle too!

Now, I must add that May has proved to be a freakishly fruitful month in terms of gifted dresses ;-) This is the first time I've been given frocks, and to have both packages arrive around the same time was quite the stroke of luck. I hope I don't descend into sappy sentimentalism here, but it really warmed my heart to know both of these good-hearted gals thought of me! And on the subject of free stuff for nice people: if my blog reaches 200 followers, I'm going to have a little give-away drawing and pass some vintage something-or-another onto one of you! ♥