cowboy's sweetheart

It's tacky, it's kitschy, it's pure Americana, and it's awfully wonderful; it's the classic cowboy suit! From embroidery to sequins, Rockmount to Nudie Cohn, gabardine to wool, all I can think about is how much I want a vintage cowgirl suit of my own. I have quite a stack of 1940s and 50s Western shirts and squaw dresses, but there's something so charming about the full suit, with matching pants or a fringed skirt. Of course, I'm no Wanda Jackson, and I really don't need one, so unless a very cheap one turns up (a girl can dream!) I'm resigned to looking at eye candy, and thinking up ways to mix and match the vintage Western wear separates I do have to approximate their greatness.

Say, if anyone has, oh, $300 lying around that they don't really need, you just feel free to buy me this gorgeous 1930s wool cowgirl outfit:
... ; )

The king of the Nudie suit, Porter Wagoner:

And the prince, Gram Parsons:

And some more classic western wear inspiration:
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Trice's Western Wear

Gram Parsons and Nudie

Patsy Montana's Boots

Of course, I don't think anyone can work a fringed rodeo queen getup quite like Patsy Cline:

So, what say you to my suit? Garish or gorgeous?

Happy Thursday! This week just flew right by; the weekend's almost here again, yikes!


blue doll

(outfit: 1940s silk bedjacket; 1950s house dress; 1980s Nine West kitten heels; thrifted pearls and vintage silk ribbons as necklaces)

Hmm. Remember the good old days when I took outfit photos in fun and exciting places amidst dazzling scenery and wearing light pretty clothes? Unfortunately my dorm room and fairly urban college campus are not conducive to the most interesting photo shoots, especially not when said dorm room is looking kinda trashed after one of my roommate's all too frequent weeknight binge drinking soirees. Ah well, warm temperatures should be here any day now, and believe it or not I start my summer holiday in about a month and a half-- pretty hard to believe considering the snowfall we just got on Monday!

I've been wearing this silky bedjacket a lot lately; it gives my outfits a springy lift, but I can batten it down under layers of wool and stay warm too. Don't you hate the word "bed jacket", though? It reminds me of distressing phrases like "bed ridden" and "straight jacket". I will start calling it my "silky cape-like jacket" instead.

My favorite antiques dealer let me have this cute late 40s/early 50s dress for $3.00; she told me about how it was from her personal collection, but it reminded her so much of me that she went to her closet (her house is attached to the store) and got it out especially for me! She and her husband own this amazing old Colonial farmhouse packed with antiques and curiosities in the middle of nowhere; I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who ever buys any of the old clothes there! They're always really excited to see me in my vintage outfits; shopping there is such a treat.

(Ah, self timers catch the strangest facial expressions!)

Good gosh, Anita Carter was just the prettiest:



3-12-2008 20-43-56 CARNIVALE + HBO

After learning that Mad Men won't be returning until 2012 (oh, but how can they leave us hanging with Megan???) I have taken up a "new" series: HBO's critical failure-cum-cult classic Carnivale. I am really late to ole party with this one, but in my defense I was 11 when it premiered in 2003, and it was cancelled after just two seasons : ( According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, it was a little too weird for the American public at large. Oh well, more's the pity; I think it's absolutely fantastic. I'm usually not a fantasy fan at all, but the mix of unexplained otherwordliness with the harsh gritty reality of a Depression-era, Dustbowl-stricken America is a haunting and potent combination. Plus I have always daydreamed about running away to join the circus in the 1930s, so this is like my dream come true! The outfits are, of course, incredible; the bearded lady Lila may be my favorite, with her luxurious velvets, jewels, and feathers. Oh gosh, I really need to master fingerwaving too!

If you have been living under a rock like me and have yet to see this show, I can't recommend it enough! It's like a blend of Grapes of Wrath, Water for Elephants, and Twin Peaks... aka perfect! It's very atmospheric and visually stunning; hmm, can you tell I'm a little bit obsessed?

The show has been really influencing my outfits as of late, of course:

(1940s silk bedjacket; old UO blouse; BCBG wool shorts; Dr. Marten boots; 1950s brocade rose in hair)
(Oh dear, I look clinically depressed on the left and certifiably insane on the right; it's been a long week!)

30s black dress FRONT
And this is one of favorite 1930s frocks; it's a black crepe with a sort of sailor collar and lace modesty panel with great deco tortoiseshell buttons (there are a few more pics on my flickr). I used to eye it enviously in my favorite backwoods antique store, but I never thought to ask for a price as I just assumed it'd be really expensive. Nope-- after about a year of lusting after it (stock doesn't move fast at this place!) I finally just casually asked about it... and it was $20.00. Needless to say, it is now mine.


shipshape & bristol fashion

(Outfit: 1940s sailor shirt; 1910s/20s antique slip; 1970s vintage shoes)

Do you ever find yourself getting incredibly inspired by one rather random image? I found this picture on this magical tumblr and suddenly I became enthralled with the idea of flapper-meets-sailor style! I'm not sure just who these gals are, but they remind me of Mack Sennett's Bathing Beauties, another huge inspiration for me this spring.

Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor has been one of my style icons ever since I was a wee little girl watching National Velvet and Lassie Come-Home over and over again. She was one of the last living links to Hollywood's Golden Era; I almost cried when I read the news that she had passed away this morning.

I just know that her timeless elegance and mesmerizing beauty will live on; I'm sure she'll continue to inspire girls for generations to come!

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Rest in peace, Liz!


bad fashion for bad people

(Outfit: 1950s pink silk polka dotted dress; 1960s slip; H & M belt; Doc Marten boots... and guest starring some summery garments too long/delicate to stuff in my closet)

So, last night around midnight I discovered Cry-Baby was on Netflix instant watch, and as I was sort of half-crazy from staying up so late anyway studying for an exam, I watched it, even though I've seen it two or three times already. The theme continued into this morning, when put The Cramps on spin allll morning, resulting in a complete highschool flashback look! Yes, this is how I dressed from when I was sixteen until this summer, really. I was a teenage cowpunk.

About this here frock: my mother, who was a very cool hardcore punk in the 1980s, bought this dress at a vintage store about twenty years ago! While I always feel kinda cheated that none of grandmothers had any overflowing closets of antique ballgowns to pass down to me, it's really cool to get my mom's old vintage finds. She was quite the snazzy dresser in her time, although I think I'll pass on her electric blue hair (no joke; our family albums are anything but boring!).


"The higher the hair, the closer to God..." only I was just going to class so I kept my hair on the demure side.


Well, have a happy Tuesday; see you soon!


sailor's delight

sailor slacks2
(Outfit: 1950s checkered shirt; 1940s sailor trousers; 1930s lace collar; Vigoss oxfords)

Hello again!

This past week I was home from school for spring break; the weather was a marvelous mixture of bright warm sun and misty rains, and the temperatures were in the 50s-- spring is here at last!! Unfortunately our internet connection was on the fritz and about as slow as dial-up, so I took an enforced blogging holiday.

About a month ago I bought a WWII-era sailor uniform on eBay. Amazingly the clothes were small enough to fit me, 30" inseam and all! (Yes, I'm quite short.) These wool sailor pants have become my version of sweat-pants; they're very cozy and practical for lazy days and errand running, but still quite chic and tailored looking. Oh, and I just realized that as my blouse in this outfit is a vintage little boy's shirt, I am wearing genuine men's wear top to toe-- a rare event for me, but an exciting one! I'm really loving 1930s-inspired menswear looks (a la the inimitable Marlene and Kate) this spring.

sailor slacks1

sailor pants 3

Add a 1960s faux-fur coat (of which I have three now... yikes!) and my faithful 50s Life Stride purse, and I'm ready to face winter's last stand...
sailor slacks3

I hope you all had a great week! Enjoy the rest of the weekend : )
I'll be spending Sunday unpacking my spring clothes and folding away much of my winter garb... hooray!!


Songstress Style: The Secret Sisters

The word is out about the Misses Laura and Lydia Rogers: musical luminaries like T. Bone Burnett and Jack White have endorsed these sister songbirds and produced their tracks, and they're currently on tour with Ray Lamontagne. I first heard about these lovely ladies over at Q's Daydream this fall, and ever since then I've been smitten with their old-fashioned close-harmony tunes and adorable vintage aesthetic. Their traditional country and Americana songs ring with authenticity, for the girls are indeed a modern Carter Family act: prior to the audition that landed them their record deal, they'd never performed outside of their church in their rural Alabama hometown! They seem so refreshingly earnest, and they have serious talent as well, with sibling harmony chops to rival the Everly Brothers.

And if their rootsy old-time country songs aren't enough to sway you, check out their victory rolls, perfect red lipstick, and cute 1940s looking print dresses! They are always turned out in a lovely retro style reminiscent of the rural Southern landscape and dusty country music halls from which their lyrics sprung. Their sweet style and sweeter songs are so inspiring to me this spring!


seven random facts

Quincy of Q's Daydream was nice enough to tag me to share seven random tidbits about myself!
So here I go: more than you've ever wanted to know about me...

1. I love the rain! Not the actual being in the rain, but rainy days. I love the smell of rain on the earth; mmm! And I love the sound of it on a tin roof. Rainy days are usually when I go antiquing, too (rural Vermont doesn't offer much in the way of indoor entertainment, OK? Plus I'm 85 years old at heart.).

2. When I was sixteen I decided, for some reason, that wearing my hair in an enormous beehive to school every day was a really good idea. Also, as it was high school and all, I was convinced I had to wash my hair every single night, which meant detangling the rat's nest on my scalp every. single. evening. It's really quite a miracle I still have any hair left!
Mmm hmm. Eat your heart out Ronnie Ronnette.

3. Do you get the RFD-TV station? It's quite possible you have it and don't even know, because I don't think it has much of a fanbase outside old folks' homes and wheat farmers in the midwest. And my house, of course! They play reruns of all those corny 70s country music shows like the Porter Wagoner Show, Hee Haw, and the Wilburn Brothers Shows, of which I am completely and unashamedly enamored. I credit these shows with kicking off my vintage addiction; once I saw those girls in foot-high bouffants and gingham dolly dresses belting out the blues in time to a crying steel guitar, there was no going back.

4. I have a horse named Chinook. He lives up the road from me in my neighbor's old dairy barn. He's a nice little guy.

(^ the turquoise thing is my sweatshirt tied around his neck. Should he get a style blog?)

5. I wear rose oil as perfume just about every day, and I use just about all of Crabtree & Evelyn's Rosewater scented products (shampoo/conditioner/soaps/lotions/hand creme/talcum powder). Now you know what I smell like.

6. I want to live right here. This is the Ashworth House; I am sure you'll become better acquainted with it once the snow melts, as I spend far too much time trespassing there. I also spend too much time daydreaming about what my life would be like if I lived there: very Grey Gardens on the set of Days of Heaven, probably, and so romantic.

Golden hours

7. I play the steel guitar. I just started last June, when my dad bought me a beautiful 1940s lap steel on eBay as my high school graduation present. It's a lot of fun; it can sound honky-tonk merry, or sad and eerie. In a year or so, once I'm reasonably competent on this, I want to get an autoharp!

OK, so now you know a little more about me. Lucky you ;)
I always feel shy about tagging other people, so I would like to encourage anyone who feels like it to write their own seven (or five, or twenty) random facts. Or you can leave a random fact about yourself in the comment section here!

Have a lovely weekend, my friends; I have another Songstress Style post in the works for you on Monday.
See you then!


la robe noire

miss glamour
(Outfit details: 1950s black wool dress, 1940s lace collar, antique sash, Vigoss oxfords)

Meet my new roommate; I found her hanging forlornly in a big cold antiques warehouse on the outskirts of town. When I saw her $5.00 price tag and remembered how bare my dorm's walls are, I knew she had to come home with me. Isn't she elegant?

Oh, and my outfit... after watching both
Gilda and Laura this weekend, I felt like dressing a bit like a 1940s film noir dame. I wish I could say I looked like a femme fatale, but I seem unable to escape my role as an ingenue ;) I love this dress so much; it's solid black, which is something I don't usually go for (I'm crazy about patterns!) but it's surprisingly fun to have something so simple, so I can accessorize it however I like. I guess I can now appreciate the appeal of the Little Black Dress. Also, it's a soft wool, making it very cozy.

40s lace collar, antique sash
(^^I conditioned my hair last night, so hair=super shiny, but rag curls=flat within minutes)

50s wool
(...and the posing reaches new levels of awkwardness... oh dear; I'll try better next time.)