From my second photo shoot back in 2008. Taken by Vanessa Applegate.
Sadly the little bag has since died.
I purchased it from Moon Zoom in Santa Cruz, CA for about $40. It was missing a belt and, because of the red trim (and red is hard to match) I had to go on an epic hunt for the perfect red belt. I finally found a quilted red patent one at Target for $20, which now lives with the dress.
The dress has pockets with red trim and buttons down the front giving it a shirt-dress feel. Because it is taffeta it is a little warm and doesn't travel well without wrinkling but I still wear it all the time. It's unlabeled and unlined so I don't believe it is designer. It certainly has that classic vintage look, though.
“Abandon” dress ca 1948 and another ca. 1950 both Christian Dior
via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dresses like it show up in printed light-weight fabrics for the summertime throughout the late 1940s and early 50s. It's such a flattering cut and style, so much better than the modern shirt-dress.
Elizabeth Taylor unpacking at The Savoy 1951, and 1950 fashion plates.
I'm keeping an eye open for something like this dress for summer. Even though I generally prefer pencil dresses this one has taken hold of my heart. I also think it works better with flats than a pencil dress. The style not entirely old fashioned though, you can funk it up for the street if you like, and a version has shown up on the fall 2011 runways.
Galadarling.com by Gala, and Sophie Anne from True Blood in a fashion shoot.
I've worn my lovely black number for various readings and conventions. So much that it's semi retired while I give some of my other dresses and airing.
With my agent, Kristin Nelson, at the Denver WorldCon in 2008; and at a reading in 2009
It has an unnecessary zipper up the back. The first time I wore it I was traveling without a lady's maid and forgot to zip it up. Thus I showed up for dinner with my agent in a highly unfit state! So embarrassing. Shortly after meeting her face-to-face for the first time, she was zipping me up. That must be some kind of euphemism for the author/agent relationship.
As you can see from the second photo above, I went looking for an underskirt. Found one on Haight Street for about $15. I had to take down the hem to add length but it ended up being perfect.
Red is difficult. It's a hard color to match and some find it a hard color to wear. I'm empowered by red and I used this dress as an excuses to go all out on red accessories. I might, just possibly, be still using it as an excuse, particularly for shoes.
Shiny flats, Nordstrom Rack $15, Miz Mooz $50
Via Spiga sandals, Nordstrom Rack $50; Via Spiga Wingtips Nordstrom Rack $50
(color modified by me, future blog post pending)
I rarely wear this dress with the sandals. Despite what it might look like in the photo above, they are slightly too dark a red and the dress is too winter for sandals, if you ask me.
I love this bag, paid good money for it too $75, but I use it all the time.
As stated above, the purse I normally used for this outfit died the good death so I went hunting and ended up with this beauty. More recently this hat has come into my life. I can't wait to wear it with this dress.
Felt hat, Bon Marche Thrift Store, Sonoma $7.
Opera length red gloves inherited from my grandmother; red hair band from Claires $10; red baubles with gold spacers ~ necklace from Buffalo Exchanged on Haight Street $20, earrings from Salvation Army in Campbell $5.
I actually rarely wear these gloves with this dress as they are too long and have to be put on before the dress, which means I can never take them off again. So mostly I opt for black. The necklace set was quite the quest. I managed to source this set first . . .
I know, they look so similar, but this has silver chain and is a lighter more orangey red. Turns out they really didn't match anything in my wardrobe. In fact, I am thinking of getting rid of them . . . right . . . now! This red set plus a signed copy of Heartless to one person chosen at random from anyone who comments below, before my next post on Tuesday.
And here's a version for Alexia to wear.
1879-1881 The Metropolitan Museum of Art