Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gail Carriger WorldCon 2010 Retrospective: Blue Pattern 1940s Day Dress

I found this patterned blue asymmetrical rayon dress on one of my perennial thrifting jaunts. I think this one came from Moon Zoom in Santa Cruz, probably for around $40. It's a dark not-quite-navy with and off white chrysanthemum pattern.

It's difficult to see in any of my pictures (sorry I have no full standing shot) but it has three little ruffles off to one side that give it a very 1940's look. However, I'm thrown by the length which is more 1950s, so it could be very late 40s or even a 1980's retro piece, rather than vintage.

Adrian 1942 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 
Madeleine Vionnet dress 1938 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The rayon has enough stretch to fit the rack quite comfortabley which makes me reach for this dress for many an occasion.

Here I am at the tweet-up in the bar at Melbourne world con. I always pair it with cream accessories, such as those in the previous blog post.

Here is a pattern dress in a similar style on ModCloth. Dresses of a similar take are all over the street style blogs right now, so I leave you with some ideas on how to modernize a vintage dress like this one.

Runway is Kronkron Reykjavik Fashion Festival 2011


  1. Maybe it's just me but that one picture of the blonde with the red purse the dress seems so short I can't help but think it would look better if she used it like a shirt over a pair of retro stirrup pants, some white slouchy socks, and some tennies.

    Then again, I actually miss stirrup pants.

    Of course, as always Gail, you look fabulous in your's. I think you must have a touch of Lord A in you, as fashionable as you are.

    Finally, while I can't sew, I wish I had that pattern up there to add to my collection. (Yes, I have a - so far small - collection of vintage sewing patterns. Most are from the 60s, one or two 70s ones. (And doggone it, some of them have gone missing recently! How I don't know.)

  2. JS,

    I have to agree with you on the length issue. Maybe its just me, but after puberty, anything that short is problematic. And after about 25, it just feels desperately inappropriate. While I'd pass on the stirrup pants, the dress would do a pretty decent impersonation of a tunic style top if paired with jeans!

  3. FF - it always amazes me how many people, especially women, just don't seem to believe in "Just because they make it in your size doesn't mean you should wear it" philosophy. For instance, the woman, who either was 100 years old or had tanned a lot as a teen because even her legs were wrinkled on top of the varicose veins, wearing the bright orange sleeveless minidress I saw once. And of course any number of my fellow fatties who insist on wearing clothing so incredibly tight that you can see each dimple in their cellulite. When I point out how bad they look they start in on how wearing clothing totally inappropriate for their age (such as anyone over 40 wearing the kind of clothing you'd see Paris Hilton wear while clubbing) and/or their body type makes them "look confident and therefore sexy because confidence is sexy."


    Yeah, no. Dressing in a manner that flatters shows confidence and makes one look sexy. Dressing in a way that would make a hooker blush with shame makes you a laughing stock.

    Of course, now I can just refer them to People Of WalMart or Beach Creeps.

    I think the fact that people are often too nice, telling people they look good when really they look bad has hurt us fashion wise.

    That's why, if I ever get famous I'm going to use my fame to start my own fashion line where clothing is made in a manner that is flattering for larger body types.

  4. Couldn't agree more!

  5. I agree, and she doesn't have the legs to pull it off, either...IMHO.

    I'd nix the stirrup pants, though. *shudder* I still have memories of the '80s.

  6. Okay, so I'm weird in that I like stirrup pants and disco music. Hey, stirrups didn't creep up on me like regular stretch pants do. They always stayed in place. That's why I like them.


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