Sunday, 28 April 2013

The dress that changed my life.

It sounds terribly dramatic doesn't it?
I can hear a gravelly voiced announcer intone, "It was the dress that changed her life!"
Dum dum dah!
So dramatic, but also so true.
When I ponder my vintage journey I realise that I have always loved the music, the style and especially the fashions of days gone by.
When everyone was listening to Bros in their faded ripped jeans I was bopping away to the Beatles and Elvis (unfortunately still in ripped jeans) and was dreaming of living in different times.
 I'd yearn to live the lives of yesteryear  literature heroines like Anne of Green Gables or Elizabeth Bennet.
I had always had that unsettling feeling that I didn't quite belong in this day and age.
I used to dread looking in my wardrobe. I hated myself in the jeans I felt I had to wear because everyone else was. I despised how I looked and felt that there was nothing that suited me in the myriad of chain stores out there.
Whilst I had always loved the fashions of my vintage icons (Audrey! Marilyn! Judy!) and would watch classic movies over and over just to glimpse the divine frocks and hats, I never even entertained the thought that I could emulate those screen goddesses and wear those fashions.
How could I? Sportsgirl doesn't sell frothy prom style 50's gowns! Never spotted an adorable wiggle dress in Portmans. And to my young and naive self those chain stores really were my only avenue of fashion self expression
Then I discovered this dress.
Just a vintage reproduction of a 50's style frock you may say, but the purchase of this dress was like an epiphany. I had never realised that there were labels like this "Black Roses" that made repro clothes (you have to remember that this was before the Internet was an everyday shopping tool - yes I am that old!) and in styles that I had long coveted and adored.
I began hunting down similar reproduction clothing,  but my poor young self could never afford such expensive luxuries. $150 for a dress? Are you barking mad?
And then I began to op shop and it dawned on me that I could perhaps unearth some frocks that looked pretty damn close to those lovely concoctions in my classic movies that were originals, not just repro's. I could also op shop outfits that had a vintage feel even if they weren't true vintage.
I began to go to rockabilly gigs and burlesque shows and the Internet began to become a vital mode of research in my vintage awakening. The more I immersed myself in this new lifestyle, the more I experimented with these new (old) fashions the more I began to feel like ME. I suddenly experienced the feeling of having my insides match my outsides. And it felt freaking AMAZING!
I feel great in vintage! I love the styles of the 40's, 50's and 60's and when I wear them, I feel beautiful. It is that simple!
I have battled many body image demons, and although I haven't won (do we ever?) the style of the dresses I love flatter my curves and never do I get so many compliments on my clothing as when I am wearing vintage or vintage style.
So this little frock with it's cool skull and rose pattern, is where it all began for me; the beginning of the long journey of discovering who I really was. The journey is, of course, still underway, but bloody hell I am enjoying it! (And I now NEVER wear jeans!)

I wore my epiphany dress to the wedding I recently attended (yes, skulls for a wedding - I was warding off bad energy!) with my Martin Moddel fur capelet and op shopped bag, belt and shoes and I danced the night away, petticoat swirling and swishing to the terrible 80's and 90's dance music that is traditional at weddings and I had a blast!
Do you have clothing that has changed your life?



  1. O, I love this post! It's wonderful to hear tales of how and why we're into vintage!
    It's a fabulous frock, too!
    I didn't really have an epihany as such, but I think getting into Goth (it was New Romantic that led into that)in the 80's was what changed my life, and that led me to all sorts of vintage love. I used to wear a lot of black 60's and 70's hostess frocks, and a 50's bustier was a favourite...and whilst I haven't been into Goth for some years, my love of historical clothing has never waned! It's a lot more varied now, though.XXXXXXXXXXXX

  2. Your dress is lovely and really suits you. I have been wearing jeans for years until I realised they just weren't for me anymore! Now my style is completely different...

    1. Thanks! Isn't it great to have a revelation about what suits us and say damn to trends!

  3. great post! meanwhile, i never wear jeans too. i do have some pants that i wear once in a while ... i never felt good in jeans. pants never fitted my wide hips vs. tiny waist. then i started to wear more and more skirts and dresses because they fitted much better. ... since i was 15 (20 years ago, gulp!)i started wearing vintage. back then mostly 60s style when i went out with my mod friends and 70s ... i also fell for the 80s in the late 1990s, although i hated this era so much - but sometimes you get atracted by the things you hate most. deep in my heart and soul i always loved the 50s and 40s, old movies, swing, country music. ... i tried to find more and more wide flared skirts but i just found 70s or 80s does 50s stuff on ebay ... just in the last two years i was able to realize my dream of wearing more and more vintage 50s style (i'm not a big fan of reproductions, they're too expensive and mostly i don't like a detail or the print or the fabric) ... now i feel quite 'home' in my style. And i will get married in lace dress from the late 40s i got on ebay for just 30€. sometimes vintage frocks aren't expensive ... ;)
    it's nice to read, that other poeple have made quite similar experiences in life ... thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you! - your experiences really do sound so similar to mine. I guess there is a whole tribe of us out there scavenging at markets and hunting through thrift shops to find those pieces of clothing that make us feel great, feel complete. I can't wait to see your wedding dress!