Friday, June 1, 2012

Party Like It's 1959.

Hello, my name is Teri, and I'm addicted to vintage-style dresses.

It all began last summer, when The Hubby and I spent our ten-year wedding anniversary in Las Vegas.  I was feeling sad that I'd lost all my gambling money, and so we hopped over to Caesars Palace for some tuna tataki to cheer me up.  It was there, three doors down from Sushi Roku, that I saw it:  The Bettie Page Store.

An entire store filled with styles inspired by Bettie, Marilyn, and June:  I was in heaven.  I tried on everything and I couldn't really afford anything, but I ended up splurging on these two beauties anyway:

Full skirts = better meals.
Is there a more flattering silhouette for a woman's garment?
Although my closet was already filled with dresses and skirts, I wished I could wear these new finds every day.  So comfy!  So feminine!  So simple!  More!  More!  More!

The fall came quickly, and so did the cooler weather.  My obsession went into hibernation along with my swimsuits.  My wallet was safe.

And then spring arrived.

The problem with these adorable vintage-inspired garments is that they're SUPER-expensive.  I don't get it.  Mad Men is all the rage.  Zooey Deschanel is wearing this stuff all over the pages of US Weekly--why aren't there more affordable versions of these fashions available?  I've seen them sprinkled around Old Navy and Forever 21, but there's no real selection to speak of.

Ordering online is an option--Modcloth is a veritable circle skirt wonderland with some moderately-priced items.  If I want to try it on and feel the fabric, though, I'm limited to Anthropologie, where one dress runs upwards of $150:

This is what the Anthropologie dressing room looks like.

This is what I look like wearing a dress I can't afford to buy.

Seriously, why are they so expensive??  It's a problem.  


Luckily, I have a secret weapon in the war on overpriced clothing:  a mother who loves me and also happens to sew.

On a recent visit to her house, we went on a fabric and vintage pattern bender.  Did you know that Butterick is currently reprinting and selling patterns from the 50s and 60s?  Well, they are.

For less than the price of one of those dresses from The Bettie Page store, we got enough materials to make at least four dresses.  Whaaaaa?

It's always been my mom's dream for me to sew.  I don't know if this is because she wants me to follow in her footsteps, or because she wants me to be able to make my own stuff so that she doesn't have to do it.  My guess is the former.  Either way, she started teaching me the ins and outs of following a pattern.  It's like learning a new language, but the promise of new-old fashions keeps me motivated to keep trying.


Our first joint effort was this Marilyn-esque halter that I wore for Mother's Day:

Hooray for monkey arms!

 I'm not gonna lie; she did pretty much all the work.  I pinned and cut a bit, but Mom probably would have finished faster if I hadn't been "helping".  I also think that we made the skirt a little bit too long, but that's just an opportunity for me to break out the sewing machine she sent me home with.

A few weeks later, she finished this one, which has become my new favorite dress:

Lots of nice compliments from strangers when I wear this one!

I want one of these in every material possible.  It's comfy, stylish, and spins perfectly.  It goes nicely with heels or flats.  It's the perfect dress, in every way.

Am I the luckiest girl in the whole wide world?  Possibly.  One thing I know for certain is that my wardrobe is looking pretty spiffy, and I can still actually afford a tube of red lipstick to match.

Best.  Mom.  Ever.
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