So I took a little break from the No Buy this weekend. Hold your fire, friends, there will be an explanation coming later. I did it in a very controlled way, you'll be glad to hear, by visiting a couple of my favorite vintage dealers who I knew would be having Memorial Day discounts. And sure enough, I scored some serious gold.
Bronze/black iridescent waisted sheath.
I've added an alligator patent belt and my black patent Miu Miu mary janes. At first I thought it wanted the Blahnik Dianamus sandals, but I think the mary janes are better. I really love the long sleeves on this dress but I'm going to shorten them, for a few reasons. First and most importantly, overall they're a little big but the wrists are tiny -- so tiny I can barely get my hands through them and I have relatively small paws. What this does is cause the sleeves to sort of bunch up instead of hang, and since the shoulders of this dress fit a tiny bit loosely on me, it's throwing the whole thing out of whack. I haven't decided how short to go -- I think I'll start with below the elbow and see how that works.
I so adore this fabric, which is that wonderful (although slightly scratchy) iridescent taffeta from the 60's. As a blue-eyed redhead, this rust-brown-bronze is really good on me, but I almost never wear it. Why? you ask. Well, because I live in Austin, and burnt orange and white are the school colors of the University of Texas, which is located here and a HUGE part of life in this city. There's nothing wrong with being a fan of UT per se, but usually when someone is wearing burnt orange or rust-colored clothing here in Austin, there is a Longhorn insignia printed or embroidered on it somewhere. And there is a LOT of it. At any given time in Austin, probably a good 10 - 15% of the population is wearing some sort of UT logo'd clothing and frankly, I'm good & sick of looking at it. It's fine to support your team, but I do not believe it should dictate your fashion choices, and I do not care to be mistaken for someone on her way to a tailgate party. I think that in this dress that won't be a problem.
Oh, this thing is amazing. It's a suit -- waisted sheath dress and perfect (perfect!) little short jacket made of the most beautiful patterned silk.
Shown here with a gold patent belt and my gold & crystal Blahnik Priscas. Florals are huge this summer, and there are a lot of dresses in this silhouette (Roland Mouret's influence, I think. People are still crazy for those Moon & Galaxy dresses. And don't forget the whole "Mad Men" phenomenon -- remember the Michael Kors fall show I posted about?), so this thing, 50 years or so after its birth, is right on point. I would also like to add that the jacket is going to be a great stand-alone piece. It will be very, very adorable with a pair of my new wide-legged trouser jeans and some sassy heels. And of course, one of the loveliest things about it (and everything I'm showing you here) is that it's lined. Because back then they put linings in dresses, even dresses that weren't spectacularly expensive couture pieces. (This one doesn't have a label, but from its construction I'd say it's high-ish end department store or custom-tailored.)
The lining of the dress is a layer of superfine silk organza. It's exquisite. There's not a single raw edge on the thing, every seam is pinked at the very least. The jacket has a regular charmeuse lining, so it's heavier.
Please note the bound buttonholes. Just gorgeous. It's next to impossible to find a bound buttonhole anymore, even in designer clothing. Just one more sign of the decline and fall of the human race, if you ask me.
Nugget #3 (probably my favorite):
Blue/green brocade waisted shift dress with a wide square neckline. The color of this is so unbelievable -- completely saturated peacock blue & green iridescent brocade worked in a floral pattern. Gaw-juss. I'm wearing it here with my Pedro Garcia rose-gold Noa pumps. I'm not sure about these shoes, the dress may want the blue sequined Armanis, but I haven't decided yet. The Noas are great, but they are such a retro shape themselves (I described them as "very Angie Dickinson running around in Vegas with the Rat Pack." The ever-trenchant Plumcake agreed, stating that she could "imagine them thrown over Frank Sinatra's shoulders." I'll leave you with that visual.) that they may make the whole outfit authentic to the point of costume-y. They are so deliciously sparkly, however...
The other question I have about the blue dress has to do with these elastic straps that are sewn on the inside of the neckline at the very top of the bodice:
One of them has an eye from a hook & eye attached to the bottom, the other one looks like it had one but it's fallen off. I can't quite figure out where these straps are supposed to hook into -- I can't find any mateless hooks anywhere in the inside of the bodice, they must also be missing. I suspect it's some kind of contraption whose purpose is to keep the very wide neckline from falling off the shoulder, but I'm not sure how. (If anyone is familiar with this sort of thing, please let me know. I'm dying to understand this little mystery.) I'm going to hem all of the dresses, as well, just an inch or two so that they hit me just at the bottom of my knee.
Now. A note on the breaking of the No Buy and the title of this post. I did some hard number crunching over the last few days and realized that my goal of an October trip to Paris is an unrealistic one. XE.com this morning quoted the euro at $1.57. This means that, what with exchange fees and credit card surcharges and all that jazz, for all intents and purposes when you actually spend the euro it's probably at about $1.65. I doubt very much that's going to come down by October -- it's more likely to go up, as a matter of fact, and I can easily see it going to $1.75 or more. When exchange rates are this bad, it makes just walking down the street and breathing in a foreign country heart-stoppingly expensive. Not to mention airfares, which I also think are not going to get any better any time soon. So, as much as it breaks my heart, I have to be a responsible grown-up and shelve this plan for the time being.
After I worked through all of this in my head I had a little cry and then I went for a nice run and I'm mostly at peace with it now, so don't worry about me. And let's not talk about it too much more, because it doesn't much change things and I'm ready to let it go. I will say, though, that the dreamy items above were a direct result of me doing a little consolation shopping to salve my wound. It did the trick and then some, because the total for all three of those dresses? Less than 50 bucks.
All hail the Bargain Queen.
One more thing -- as an additional consolation, I'm planning a nice, fun, three-day weekend to visit some of my nearest & dearest in Dallas next month. Dallas is a far cry from Paris, of course (although not from Paris, TX), but my friends there always treat me comme une princesse and my darling Ms. Jody has promised to call me mon amie all weekend if I desire. While I'm in Dallas, in between the museuming and the retailing and the general swanning about, I though it might be fun to have a meet & greet with whatever Dallas-area readers might be interested. So if anyone reading this in the Dallas Metroplex (a phrase I can't even type with a straight face, let alone say) is interested in getting all swankied up and meeting me for an early-evening Friday cocktail hour, let me know. If there's enough interest, I'll put something together. Right now the most likely date for this would be June 20, although that isn't set in stone. If you think you might like to join me, let me know in the comments or by sending me an e-mail (see "contact" in my profile).
C'est tout pour maintenant. A bientôt!