Thursday, 16 June 2011

The granny fashionista steps out again

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)
This frock is not just granny fashion style, I think it is actually old enough to have belonged to your granny - I suspect this dress is just as old as me.

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?

43 comments:

marigold jam said...

What a hoot your prose about the photography is! If you are a granny what does that make me I wonder! I would say that dress is from the early 60's when I used to nip to the market on a Friday lunchtime and with material at 2/11a yard get enough to make a shift dress like that ready to wear on Saturday evening! Mind you here in the West Country we were always a bit behind the times with our fashions so it might have been earlier than that in London!

lily said...

The dress looks very similar to one worn by my mother in a photo of her and myself as a toddler.......I was born in 58 so I guess it must be early '60's........I will have to dig out the photo and take a proper look..........it's lovely, I can see how it called out to you from the shop window..........great find.

lily x

Amy said...

Congratulations on the find...but I am really stuck on the beginning of your post when you were talking about having a hottie in bed last night... In the US this is the definition:
–noun Slang .
a sexually attractive person.
I had a good laugh :)

Liz said...

Love the dress - great colour! Good to get something that is vintage and fits. Great find.
Liz

andrea creates said...

very cute-you seem to have a knack for finding the best vintage dresses :)

Isisjem said...

The dress looks very lovely. It was obviously meant for you. It looks Early 60's to me too.

ted and bunny said...

now I just LOVE this style of summer dress because you can neatly wear a polo-neck underneath it which not only gives you an extra layer of warmth but can be co-ordinated with matching woolly tights.
Cardi on top, vest or two to take the chill off the skin and hey presto a perfect outfit for the English summer!

With the vintage dresses I buy to re-sell, I normally find you go down one or two sizes to obtain the modern sizing...if thats any help

stay warm- we have the woodburner lit here
xx

greenrabbitdesigns said...

Great post, you have made me smile! :)
I love the dress and the colour is gorgeous, my guess would be early '60's.
Vivienne x

Serenata said...

Great dress, love the photography! You do seem to have a knack for finding these great vintage dresses.

Been jolly cold up here as well and wet as anything today!

Tabiboo said...

Gosh that is lovely - I like it a lot and it suits you beautifully.

Rain here today - good for the veggies though.

Nina xxx

gillyflower said...

Oh I love that dress Pomona! The green fabric is glorious! It is rare to find something of that vintage in the charity shops now, they are usually very disappointing in terms of vintage clothing these days.
I would agree with you that it is probably 60's - i seem to rememeber my Mum wearing similar shaped and brightly coloured dresses when i was a child at school (mid to late 60s!).
Thanks your your comments on mine - Land Use does sound similar to my degree, although mine was very commercially orientated.
Gill xx

The Weaver of Grass said...

I would guess the early sixties - it is the one time when my pitiful sewing skills could be put to use and I was able to run up a selection of 'frocks' for wearing whilst my son was a baby and likely to regurgitate milk all down my back!

VintageVicki said...

Very lovely dress :)

I am always amazed at the old sizing in clothes. We had a lovely skirt come in the shop yesterday - a 70's 14 - well it barely fitted one of our skinny size 10 assistants!

A bird in the hand said...

Probably the early 60s. As for why it didn't fly off the rail...it didn't because it was waiting for you.

Thanks for an enjoyable read!

Catherine said...

Delightful find Pomona! And well done with completing the whole alteration task in one gathering movement...AND it was a success what's more. I just popped all my summer clothes away last week. Would be a little optimistic to think that I could wear any of my dresses in the next few months so I shall have to wish you warmer weather & hope to see more of yours & all of you..silly ; ) x

taylorsoutback said...

Oh how I am green with envy at your standard size 10...I personally have not seen that since my wedding gown day...

A great find for you and thank you so much for clearing up the definition of "hottie" in the UK vs. the US...LOL!!

GardenofDaisies (Gayle) said...

LOL about the Hottie!
I know they wore dresses like that in 1969 and 1970 I have pictures of my Mom and Aunts from those years to prove it.

ElfRenee said...

That's a very cool dress! Great find!

Ruth said...

Love your new dress, gorgeous colours.
thanks for your post, but now I am intrigued "potatohawk". I so want to know more about him? :)

Pipany said...

So funny!! You look just great to me though. I love the colour of the dress - 60's I should say x

Sandi said...

I love this classical style of dress, its the sort that suits me. Not sure about the 'fat arms' tho I couldn't see them. You look lovely in it. I have a beautiful hand painted dress that belonged to my grandmother, it would be 50 plus years old and her purple velvet coat, they are both beautiful, should take a photo and blog about them.
x Sandi

Vintage Jane said...

That is just the dress I have been lusting after but unable to find anywhere. Beautiful shape, print and colour and modelled perfectly by a very 'un-grannyish' fashionista!

Cheryl said...

I have some old dresses from my mother, with very similar labelling. I'd opt for late 50s to early 60s period. Such fun. I used to love wearing those dresses, but alas, I am no longer a 1950s size 10. If only!

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

You are too funny!
Looks great on you.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Susan x

Rowan said...

Enjoyed reading this:) The dress does look 60ish to me - very pretty fabric. I do agree about photographs, I'm certain I don't look as bad in real life as I usually do in photos - at least I hope I don't!

dottie angel said...

oh my goodness, indeed that green would have called to me too! what a peachy find indeed :)

you had me in stitches (ha! pun intended) about the 'what have we learnt' bit. long ago i figured my head had to be chopped off if i were to sell an apron wrap! and yes, 'tis the angle of your willing picture taking victim which either highlights or masks a multitude of ageing issues :)

for the record, i think you look spiffy in your garden frock :)

Simply H said...

Ohh love the dress, it is gorgeous - why do I never find lovely finds like this? You do seem to have a knack for finding amazing dresses in charity shops - the yellow rose one from your early june post is amazing!

Indigo Blue said...

Lovely dress! I am not that lucky but Sophie did find a Monsoon top for herself up on the top rail! Not bad for an 8 year old.

PS. Nothing wrong with your arms either!

Mrs. Micawber said...

What a pretty dress! As for the various comments on shape and body issues, you might have been writing about me. I love sleeveless garments for summer but oh, my floppy upper arms!

Celanese acetate is a manmade fiber derived from wood pulp - probably somewhat akin to rayon (which I think you call viscose on your side of the pond). All very cold words to describe a soft and pretty fabric. I like the washing instructions - I can never remember what all those buckets mean.

Beth said...

Fabulous dress and I love the pattern and colours, no wonder it called out to you. Bethx

carrad said...

I seem to remember having a similar frock made for me by my mummy in the early sixties. Mine was blue flowery. You look great in it, anyway, and you're never to old to skip! xx

Jennyff said...

I'd never have picked out that frock but doesn't it look fabulous. Hope you are getting a bit of sunshine to give it an airing, it's pouring down here and I'm about to light the fire. Have a good weekend.

Nicky said...

I'm still blonde in my head and I haven't been that colour (without the help in a bottle) since my teens!

Great legs! By the way - you don't need to chop them off! And they look fab under that cute vintage number

Twiggy said...

Hello, I've just found your lovely blog. Beautiful dress. I'd say it was early 60s what fab colours !
Twiggy x

Chrissie said...

1963, on the nail! I had several just like it made up in market-bought fabric when we were living in Singapore at the time. You look (headlessly) lovely!

Lisa said...

Oh my word! That dress is so beautiful and you look great in it!
What a find you lucky thing.
Lisa x

Helen Philipps said...

I loved reading this post - it really made me smile! Your dress looks gorgeous and I think you look very slim and young! Finding good vintage dresses in charity shops is a real knack that you seem to have - and I seem to lack! Will keep on trying though and maybe I'll find something lovely like this too. Have a sunny Sunday!
Helen x

Menopausalmusing said...

That dress had your name on it - it was destined to find you (or you, it!).

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Your definition of hottie is better than ours...much more appropriate as well -grin-. Yeah, that dress is a tad vintage but still looks good.

Barbara said...

I would say more the 60's than 50's.
50's were more elaborate and often circular skirts while 60's more of a straight shift.

Cottage Garden said...

Pomona, your posts are always so entertaining! The 'hottie in bed' mix up is a hoot - you are so funny!!

Love the vintage dress. Definitely late 60s I would say. It looks great on you.

Jeanne
x

elizabethm said...

Love the colours in the dress. I think I might take to wearing green again. It's gorgeous. Agree with other comments as to date, early 60s would be my guess.

Itch2stitch.com said...

Hello! I love that dress! Suzie xx

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