Friday, 5 February 2010

Impossible-to-wear Vintage

I have a problem. It's name is The Green Gunne Sax Dress. It came home with me last Saturday after I paid $6.99 for it at Salvation Army. The fit is right, the colour is right, the lace collar is wonderful.

Let me explain. For whatever reason the dress just doesn't look right, so much so that I could not even take an acceptable photo of myself wearing it for the purpose of this post. Worn on its own the dress gives a vague Blanche-of-the-Golden-Girls-meets-Maggie-Thatcher vibe. I have tried accessorizing it with soft and feminine items, and it ended up looking more like Dorothy of the Golden Girls, which I am not sure is a good thing. I made an attempt to style it "off" with something a little rougher, but the whole thing was a disaster. The dress is rather loose on the body (the cut is like that), but somehow it looks shapeless on me. I tried to wear it with a belt (tried several), but it looked even worse.

The golden rule of wearing vintage is to wear it with something modern, but what could that modern thing be? Could the colour be the issue? Is it just so 80s that there is nothing I can do? Do I have to come to terms with a previously unknown fact that there could be vintage out there that can't be brought into modern life? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Anyway, after struggling with the dress for an entire frustration-filled hour today, I ended up wearing this instead:

Illusia decided to join me on camera, for once!

Gray cardigan: Benetton sample sale
Stripy jumper: second hand / Salvation Army
Skirt: Noa Noa
Tights: H&M
Shoes: Vagabond


Michele said...

Although the dress as a dress may never work (it's that dropped waist thing), you may be able to salvage parts of it. Take it apart at the waist seam, turn under and re-hem the top, and then rock it with leggings or skinny jeans and boots. And...if you shorten the skirt and put a bit of elastic in the waist, you can style that your own way, too.

Amy G. said...

It's a modified sailor style, which was very in vogue at the time. I had this same dress back in the 80s, in peach, and it was so 80s that it's almost a costume didn't turn out to be a classic!

Can you take it in at the side seams to give it some shape? I'd take Michele's advice and shorten it if possible as well, making the skirt part almost a ruffle rather than a skirt, then adding black leggings and boots.

The Waves said...

Oh Michele, that is a great idea, why didn't I think of that! Thanks!

Eyeliah said...

It's so beautiful, I can never find Gunne in my size! I'd like to see it on you, to get a better idea of it's issues.

jesse.anne.o said...

Yeah, I was thinking to shorten it also - this way you could wear it as a tunic or mini but also wear it blousey as as shirt with a pencil skirt too?

The backup outfit is adorable - I love that sweater.

a cat of impossible colour said...

Could you alter it? Or would you feel guilty? I can imagine it looking great on you shorter and taken in a little, with grey slouchy knee socks and a beret. :)

tigerteacher said...

I think shortening would be a great idea also. I have an ongoing issue with thrifted skirts being just the wrong length (either crazy short or landing somewhere at an unflattering mid-calf length) and I suspect that might be what's doing with this dress as well. The length, in combination with the volume of the skirt and the dropped waist can conspire to hide your whole figure so showing your legs will combat that. For styling, I also love the idea of leggings and flats...or maybe motorcycle or combat boots and tights...or a moto jacket to rough it up a little. Oh, and red lips! :-)