It may be June, but it is certainly not flaming here in the far south-east, and yes, I am wearing a vest today, and had a hottie in bed last night (Amy has just told me that in America this means something quite different from hot water bottle, but I do mean hot water bottle, and not the Head Chef, nice as he is). However, you will see from the picture that I did find a summer frock opportunity a week or so ago, and you never know, I might even get to wear it again before winter.
|Soft focus (recommended for granny fashion shoots)|
|The arms are a trick of the light|
I saw it hanging in a charity shop, and something about the fabric and pattern spoke to me across the rails - it just had an air of difference which stood out amongst the mediocrity. In fact, this dress called me in from the street, where I was supposed to be meeting my dear mamma outside the optician's (it was all right, I didn't lose her - when she saw that I was not waiting for her by the door, she just headed for the nearest charity shop, reasoning that it was the place I was most likely to be, and she was right).
So I tried on this frock (how did it make it to an anonymous high street shop - why was it not diverted to the vintage market?) which is made of an interesting textile called Dicell KN Celanese Acetate - just look at the label, it has vintage written all over it.
This is a label from my childhood - wonderfully vague washing instructions, with no buckets to be seen. A mild, warm wash just sounds so cosy ...
And how we have grown since then - the shop had labelled it size 12 in accordance with the label, but just look at those measurements - bust 34in, hips 36in. That's me, and I am a standard size 10 now.
Which might be why this frock had not flown off the rail before I strolled in to take it home; it was also very tight round the arms on me, which I put down to my arms fattening with age, and my dear mamma pointed out that the neckline was a tad high. But I did not care - this floral frock was waiting for me, and I was not going to let it down.
But let it down I did - at home, when I was gingerly ironing the creases from the Celanese acetate (perhaps my wash was not mild enough), I suddenly noticed a different colour stitching on the shoulder seam. Very bravely I attacked these interlopers with a seam ripper, and lo and behold! (there's a lot of that in my life) the armholes increased in size and the neckline dropped down. The first lady owner must have had tiny arms and a short body, and perhaps she never really felt at home in this frock, because it has a never-worn air.
|Skipping granny fashionista - mind the uneven surface|
Which proves that this dress was just waiting for me and my long body and fat arms to skip happily about the garden in it.
And now I would like some help from you. I am not sure when this dress was made but I suspect the early sixties - do you have any idea? The construction is a simple shift, with a single bust dart on either side. I think it must come after the full-skirted numbers of the 1950s, and before the very minis of the mid and late 1960s (which I remember). But you may know better, and any suggestions will be most gratefully received.
|Hectoring headless granny fashionista|
And finally, I will get on to What I Learn, which is what my science teacher used to make us write at the end of the experiment: (a) I now know why models are so young (so they don't have fat arms and wrinkly hands), and (b) if you want to be a granny fashion model, your photographer must either be shorter than you, or if he is taller, make him crouch down, otherwise not only will your arms look fat, so will your ankles, and the general effect will be of the sack of potatoes kind, and (c) chop your head off as this will avoid all sorts of double chins, bags under the eyes, wrinkles and generally less than fetching expressions, which of course are all a trick of the light, because you don't really look like that. No, surely not?