I’m obviously not really tied to any sort of specific aesthetic. Some days I want to dress like Betty Draper, some days I want to look like I’m in head-to-toe Spanish Moss garb – a desert femme fatale. I seriously love their stock. And while I’ll never ever ever be able to afford any of it (ever), I sometimes pretend I’m wearing their clothes when I need to feel brave. Also, their logo design is so perfect. These are a few of my favorite pieces that are currently in stock.
- Sooooo pretttttyyy.
- Crushed-velvet T-strap wedges?! Too perfect.
- Confession: I LOVE some well-placed fringe like the fringe on this dress. I’d feel like such a dandy with that swishing around my legs. Now that I think about it … I might be able to make something like this. Noted. Also, I love the version in white!
- Oh god. These boots. The color is perfect, and see how there’s a little peephole? I think that is the only thing that could ever motivate me enough to knit a pair of socks; it’s the perfect subtle way to show them off.
- This ring is everything I like about jewelry.
- I can’t even talk about these booties. They’re so perfect they hurt my feelings. So do the ones in black.
- I basically spent my entire summer looking for a white lace dress like this or the right stretchy lace to make it with. I was unsuccessful. It is so delicious in black, too. What do you guys think of bell sleeves?
- I look at these boots and feel like I could manage going to PTA meetings and other similar horrors without feeling anxiety if I were wearing them.
- This blouse is so great! I don’t know exactly why I love it, but I do. The shape is perfect for my body. It also looks so cool in black.
Today’s Imaginary shopping spree features one of my favorite online vintage shops ever! Fancytreehouse has a great selection and awesome prices. (Check out the sales! Seriously.)You can tell how much I love this shop by how much italicized text I’m about to use.
- I love ’70s summer dresses like this one.
- This mustard blouse is so pretty. I’m trying to get some more color in my wardrobe, and this is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for.
- The skirt on this dress is great. Mama’s a big fan of gingham.
- Isn’t this cardigan just begging to be embellished with a little abstract embroidery?
- This ombré dress is made out of some sort of faux bois wood-patterned material. Which I think is awesome.
- Call me crazy, but I love this skirt. The colors are perfect and I really like the length. I’d love to wear something like this this winter to brighten up the landscape a bit.
- Another ombré dress! This time it’s yellow, with a crocheted bodice and gauzy skirt. In love.
- This perfect skirt is only ten dollars. Seriously, someone less broke than I am must buy it immediately before I do. It’s so adorable!
- Yup, that’s a white lace peekaboo on the back of a red full-skirted dress. Gorgeous.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love Shop Kempt. Their clothes are feminine but not too girly, and I think their selection is perfect; not so many pieces that you get lost in the swarm, but enough that there’s always something interesting.
- Jada Florence dress – Love this! It’s so very twee.
- Varina Eyelet Tiered dress
- Florania stripe blouse – I’ve been trying to re-acquaint myself with shirts. Sounds weird, but I really don’t wear shirts that often, and I’ve kind of forgotten how to find interesting ones. So I love this; also I have a soft spot for that faux-chiffon polyester. I love wearing it.
- Hannah striped dress - Shocker! I love black and white.
- Fiona geometric blouse
- Snow white sweetheart dress
- Evelyn wrap dress – This looks so much like a vintage dress with a shortened hem, I almost can’t believe it’s something newl
- Cool it up draped jacket
- Bailey coral tank – I almost never wear this color, and I think it needs more of a presence in my wardrobe.
Alright, it’s time to talk about feminism again. Right now I’m really irritated by a particular type of generalizing lady-hate: when women think that by embracing femininity other women are setting back the feminist movement. There has been a lot of talk lately about this; that it’s “popular” to flaunt typically girlish traits (curly hair, cute dresses, love of cats/cupcakes/ukeleles etc.) to make yourself less intimidating to men, particularly as an over-correction to the ultra-masculine feminism of the ’80s and ’90s.
It seems to all be based that anything feminine or young is naturally weak, which is obviously an anti-woman sentiment.
There is a difference between infantilization and the choice to live an adorable life. Infantilization is brought about by external pressure; but there’s more than one path to the cupcake shop. From my perspective, the writers of blogs like Delightfully Tacky, A Beautiful Mess and Little Chief Honeybee aren’t at all weak or submissive in their (formidable) femininity. They wear twee dresses and have lovely tattoos and still kick ass.
One line in particular I hate from this piece by Julie Klausner is “And despite the facade of cliqueishness, and female friendship, and the Romy & Michelle’ness of gal-pal fun times, let’s be real. We all know these manic pixie Muppet Babies are really just in it for the peen.” Her assumptions are just so limiting. I mean, I’m certain there are girls who don the affectations of girlishness to attract some strange breed of man. But damn, Julie. That doesn’t mean we’re all so conniving in our kitten-love*. I don’t think it’s anybody’s business to limit a woman’s honest self-expression. We are complex enough creatures to have the space in our brain for feminist theory and ass-kickery as well as knitting and skirt-twirling.
Julie talks about this affectation as purely a way to trick men into not being intimidated. In my personal experience, dressing myself with lace and ruffles has absolutely zero effect on how intimidating I am. It just seems like such a shallow and lady-hating premise to say that all women (or at least all of the women that are talked about in her article and in the one I’m about to mention) who like feminine things do this purely in the search of dong.
Unlike Julie’s post, this anti-feminine rant from the Huffington Post was open to comments, and in those comments I found dozens of women to respect. Women who garden and knit and love a good polkadot who kick ass not despite or because of these qualities, but in harmony with them. Seriously, read the comments. The article itself has too many ridiculous faults to even discuss at length. I think the basic problem is that the author’s definition of “feminism” is just plain wrong.
Responses across the blogosphere to this type of thought have been similarly encouraging. Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky said in her great post about Klausner’s article:
Why I have to fit into someone else’s criteria for what a woman “should be” to be acceptable to men is the same as men telling me what I should be to have them like me. I won’t let anyone tell me who I should be, and I certainly won’t let them tell me I should be this or that so that men will like me. If I like wearing rompers and eating FroYo instead of drinking wine and reading Ayn Rand, so what? And what if I like doing both? Are dressing the way I do and being a strong, independent, smart and driven woman mutually exclusive? I say that’s bullshit.
And Stephanie of The Yarn Harlot responded to the article in the HuffPost (which linked directly to her blog in the first paragraph) by saying:
I know by some this love of all things girly seems like an affront to our feminist forebears; women of previous generations who worked so hard to break out of domesticity and into historically masculine domains. But what exactly was it they were fighting for? The right to freely choose how to express ourselves, or specifically the right to wear powersuits and not cook dinner every night? How about the right to be seen as elaborate creatures capable of incredible complexity and beautiful contradictions. As Alex Caldiero said in a (basically unrelated, but applicable) panel discussion today, “Yes, I contradict myself! I contain myriads!”
What Klausner and Aloi (and all the others I didn’t link to) are saying matters to me, because I don’t want anyone thinking that what I wear or like or eat or make is at all related to what they expect of me. As a mother of a girl, I don’t want Grady to limit herself by others’ expectations of her.
And I have no patience for the boys-will-demean-you-if-you-don’t-act-like-a-hardass line of thought. Maybe instead people should just not devalue others based solely on their appearance. Klausner ends her article on the idea that men are less likely to demean someone who aligns to the author’s definition of maturity, and it’s annoying as hell. You know a good way to make sure no one is debased? Don’t debase anyone.
I know that as far as the internet timeline goes, this is old news. (The articles I link to were written between June and August.) But it’s back in my head because of (what else?) the magnificent book I’ve been reading all summer, Woman by Natalie Angier. As I near the end of this book, what I’m really taking out of it is that every honest expression of female-hood is something to be celebrated. That women have a complex hormonal system that allows for strength, aggression, tenderness, and generally beautiful complexity.
So, in short, I really wish people would stop hating on different interpretations of feminism and female power. It’s just another form of subjugation. And now I’m going to go eat a goddamn cupcake, thanks.
I really really would like to know what you think about all this. Do you feel pressure to alter yourself for other men or women? Do you think I’m wrong about all of this? What’s your definition of feminism? Seriously, I’d love to talk about it.
*speaking of which, here’s an incredible cat-related giveaway from Paper Sparrow. You bet your britches I want to win it.
… If by “in town” you mean “on my body.”
I got this denim peasant-y lace up corset almost a year ago, and have been tiptoeing around wearing it ever since. It’s kind of a difficult piece to style. But lately I’ve been layering my skirts more, and I think that works really well with the vest. The layering reminds me of the petticoats, bustles and bunching of typical peasantry dresses. And I’m excited about it! And I’ve informed my friends they’re not allowed to tease me for thinking Renaissance garb is awesome.
Vest; thrifted and brandless; floral dress: thrifted handmade children’s dress; skirt: thrifted AE; Shoes: won from a giveaway on A is for Ampersand.
I’ve been trying to get over my too-poor-to-feel-pretty rut, and outfits like this help. I’m remembering that wearing quirky vintage helps me feel fun and interesting; though it is probably shallow that feeling can make my entire day.
And while I’m talking at you, you should check out this awesome giveaway from Kate’s Irrelevant! You could win a custom hobby print.
I love browsing through The Attic People’s collection of vintage wares. They always have incredible stock. Unfortunately, it’s based in the UK so shipping is a bit more than I can afford, but it’s still great to window-shop. I’d wear most of their pieces in a heartbeat. Anyway, top-to bottom, left to right:
- ’50s/’60s batik mini dress (The color and print are perfect. I usually don’t go for anything with that high a collar, but this is too lovely.)
- ’50s peter pan collar full skirt dress (I never go anywhere formal enough to justify wearing this, but I think I’d still wear it anyway. Just on any old day.)
- Maxi skirt with bold Aztec print
- ’50s sheer flocked leaf full dress (Love this one. I’m picturing it on a blurry summer day with a wide-brim hat and long necklaces and bare feet and iced tea.)
- ’70s floral sun dress
- ’70s white lace blouse top
- ’80s glam silk sequin crop top (It’s really silk! I bet it’s gorgeous in person.)
- ’70s embroidery summer dress (I think this would look great in the winter with a cardigan, belt and boots.)
- ’80s-does-the-’50s circle dress with cutouts (OBSESSED. Isn’t it beautiful?)
A friend of mine from ages ago is throwing a ’60s pool-themed party tomorrow, and I’m pretty darn excited to go. By golly. I even did a practice-run on my beehive! I think the lump will be a little higher on my head next time. And naturally, I just tore my house apart looking for the perfect dress. This was the one I had in mind:
This is a genuine ’60s formal dress, and I love it but rarely wear it. I found it years ago in a rummage sale in an old folks’ home in Bowling Green, Ohio. It literally cost me only pennies. It needs a good steam, though, and I can’t for the life of me find the ridiculous vest it came with; I really can’t even describe the vest. It was very mod. And now it’s very lost. Anyway, I love this dress. I’m planning on bringing the hem up a few inches soon, so I’ll wear it more often. Me and my short little legs. Anyway, in the search for this dress, I found a few other possible pieces:
This is not at all a ’60′s dress, really. I took big pouffy sleeves off it a couple years ago and then gave up on it because I didn’t like the neckline. Also, it buttons up the back (um, because it’s a children’s dress) and I don’t want to deal with that. But it’s super cute, right? I had totally forgotten about it. If I don’t wear it to the party I’ll definitely wear it somewhere else before the summer ends.
Ker-POW, right? This little love is a helluva dress from afar. But then you get up close and see that there are some tears in the red chiffon (which rests atop hot pink silk lining) and there’s a tear in one armpit seam and it’s pretty uncomfortably tight and keeps riding up and the color on the bow is fading pretty bad. I’ve worn this to one party in the 6 years I’ve owned it, and I love it despite its flaws. I really do. But sheesh, it’s a beast to wear.
Oh, how I adore this dress. I’ve worn it several times, and it’s probably my favorite formal-ish beauty. I got it like 5 years ago in a vintage warehouse in Kansas. And though it’s a bit more late ’50s/early ’60s than I think the party is swinging, I still might fall back on it. Because it’s just so lovely.
So, what do you dears think I should wear? I know it really doesn’t matter at all, but, you know, it’s fun. And my self-confidence loves a little feedback. Here’s one more picture of that orange lace gem for the road!
- A brand-new weekly feature that I’m very excited to introduce
- Grady. In a ruffly swimsuit. On the bananaphone.
- Some more Swype poetry.
- An insane cross-stitch project
- A tutorial? Perhaps? If I ever finish that project.
Left to right, top to bottom:
- Loving Maxi Dress – A friend of mine recently mentioned that she wanted a gunne sax dress. First I googled “gunne sax” to be sure we were talking about the same thing, then I started strolling through e-bay to look for patterns. Because now I’m obsessed. Seriously, I think I want to get married in a dress just like this. Anyway, this dress kind of reminds me of gunne sax styles.
- Roan Wedge – For fall! With green tights!
- Gypsy Lace Dress – I feel like I could do just about anything in that dress. It’s a total courage piece.
- Heloise Platform – These kind of look like my most recent incredible thrift store purchase. Mint condition 70′s platform heels for only $4. I died a little.
- Hacienda Bag – Yup. I’m going to make something like this. Belt + poncho. Super easy.
- Thea Platform – I am just now getting to the point where I can wear heels again, and I’m really excited about it. “Again” meaning since before I was pregnant.
- Angel Wings Open Shoulder Dress – Love this. I’ve been looking a the thrift stores for white summer dresses, and have always come up empty handed.
- Gatwickk Boot – To be worn with number 12.
- New Romantics Crochet Cardigan – I really want to diversify my cardigan collection before fall. Right now it’s all too much neutral jersey.
- Lea Fringe Chain Tote – Grady would love to play with that fringe.
- Picture Show Slip – This is probably my favorite of the bunch. I love a lace hem.
- Maurie & Eve Platform – Wooden platforms are so gorgeous.