Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vintage Categories and Quandries

I don't know about you, but I've sort of got three categories of vintage in my closet: 1) the sturdier pieces that are in such good condition or made of a solid enough fabric that I feel comfortable wearing them for a day or evening out, without having to be excessively cautious; 2) the more precious pieces that are still wearable, but that likely only have so many outings in them that I try to limit when, where, how often I will wear them (these items usually require me to be extra vigilant while wearing, which can sometimes mean limiting full range of movement to avoid popping seams, etc); and 3) the collector items that I treasure, but that I will never wear for fear of damage, disintegration, etc.  This navy and white polka dotted silk dress has been stuck in limbo between 2) and 3) for over a year now.  As I was going through my spring/summer clothing storage boxes, "she" emerged from the depths and once again has me pondering...do I wear her or just keep her "under glass," as it were?  This dress has absolutely none of the problems that vintage silk usually exhibits....and I'd like to keep it that way, but oh how I long to wear this beauty out at least once!  Adding to the element of danger, however, is the fact that the matching belt (not shown) juuuuust fits me. If I wore it out to eat dinner, the belt might unsnap in an explosive manner and shoot across the room :)).  Surely, this is frivolous frock nonsense to fret over, but such is my fashion quandry.  Do you have similar pieces/do you categorize your vintage closet in similar ways? Any stories of heartbreak or woe that I may want to heed before I think of going out in this dress? Oh, and yes you can probably see that my shoe strap is still broken. Just wanted to see how red shoes would look in relation to the red centre of the flower detail accenting the big floppy jabot-style bow at the neckline.  















20 comments:

Stephanie Lynn said...

I have a lovely 30s dress that I can squeeze myself into on a good day. :( I've been toying with passing it on to someone or keeping it. I bought it as a "I'll wear it after I lose 10 lbs" dress... and then promptly gained 20 lbs. :/

BaronessVonVintage said...

I can relate! Until I started dance class, I thought I would be giving this one up, as well. I've bought a few "once my waist is x size, I can wear it" frocks in my day. TRYING to break that habit, but then the hoarding instinct kicks in :)

Mary R. said...

Oh, I DO like this!

Desiree said...

I wish I had enough clothes--vintage or otherwise--to have this problem! That dress is fantastic and I'm looking for something exactly like that. Wear it out. Beautiful.

iLiveinmyLab said...

OMG. That dress is outstanding! I also have similar categories in my collection as well. It's a big reason why I've been so dependent on Miss Kim bc most of my pieces are in between 2 and 3. However, I have come across a few pieces recently that I will definitely wearing out more.

Lauren said...

I mostly just wear my 30s things on special occasions, except for my overcoats and suits which feel a bit more "hearty", I guess. Most of my vintage I wear frequently in regular rotation are my 1950s pieces I can wash. But I do have things I haven't worn yet or won't wear except for occasions I know I won't be active, and some things I won't wear at all (like Victorian pieces) but love to look at.

Trixie said...

I wore a 30s silk dress to the Gatsby Picnic one year and it literally started shredding on me! By the end of the day the dress was in tatters and I looked like a peasant (I'm probably on one of their How not to Gatsby boards somewhere. Do not come looking like a peasant.) LOL

That's a gorgeous dress. I can see why you really want to wear it!

honey hi said...

i struggle with this issue!! it actually worsened when i started my shop - i personally dont mind wearing damaged vintage around (actually, i almost prefer it, mostly because of this very issue..then i feel less guilty in case something should happen to it...) but i find ive been extra cautious about wearing things for fear of hurting their resale value, .... i keep telling myself that the clothes are made to be worn and i should get wear out of them without fear, but it is hard to do :( i have to say, when i have worn and damaged beautiful items, i most often do not regret it. one of my favorite dresses is this beautiful pale pink 50s dress, just perfect, and i used to wear it all the time and my friend once burned a hole in it with a cigarette by accident, and once the initial gasp was exhaled, i really was ok with it and i still wear it and probably wear it even more and get more wear out of it as a result...

Mrs. Exeter said...

Seeing this dress I can totally understand your quandry - it is far too wonderful never to be worn. You need to take it on an outing that involves lots of photos (and little food? LOL at the idea of an exploding belt!). You look so stunning in this I hope you can find a way to wear it.

Andi B. Goode said...

I have quite a few dresses that don't fit me, right now, but I don't want to part with them as it's only been a year since I put on weight and it was only a couple of inches here and there (and there and here) that I've put on. So, that's one category. ;] I only have a couple of dresses that I won't wear because they're just too thin and delicate. A lady at a local vintage store said I should just wear them because, well, that's what they're for! But I also don't want to be the death of them. The women who run the stores here don't seem as precious as other vintage sellers, actually! They're a bit more gung-ho about things. Maybe you could have a dinner party and wear this dress then? That way, you'd get to wear it but wouldn't have to leave the house?
-Andi x

*Katia* said...

i have a dress not vintage but in 20s fashion which i never worn.i payed it 120 euro and i never payed a dress that much in my life,plus it's completely white and i'm afraid to ruin it. 2 years in my closet,up to now!!

*Katia* said...

forgot to say that your blue frock is adorable!

Penny Dreadful said...

It is tricky, isn't it. Because yes clothes are meant to be worn, but then when it reaches a certain point they become more of an antique and should be respected as such. You wouldn't use a delicate 19th century tea service for your everyday morning cuppa, so why feel obliged to wear a dress that is even more delicate! However yes, it is nice to be able to wear something that special at least once - perhaps you could have a garden party just to be able to wear it? Luckily I have loads of sturdy 60s things in my wardrobe, so no such dilemmas ;) xx

Hannah said...

I have so many items that are nearly falling apart but I still wear them, I guess most would consider that sacrilege but I like to make the most of them. I also have a stunning blue velvet 1950s dress that is so tight on my manly shoulders and has mexican food stain on it but I still wear it. I think clothes should be worn, unless you have spent a small fortune on them, but perhaps I am just blasphemous?

Pearl Westwood said...

I say just wear it, then if a seem should come away or anything it can be carefully stored away for admiring purposes only. Then you get to wear it, maybe only just for a couple of special occasions and you can make sure to take plenty of photos for future admiring. I have a stunning black beaded dress which is my 'preserved' dress and a pair of shoes I thought would be perfect for if I got married - Im single ha ha, but it is so lovely just have these special things isnt it x

Miss Rayne said...

I've just been putting some of my vintage into deep storage, i have a 4th category: frocks that are too delicate/damaged AND i can't get into anymore but will never sell. It is hard to decide on the borderline cases though, modern life doesn't gel with sedate wearing of vintage clothes, just sitting in the car puts pressure on seams. But after all they are made to be worn.
I do think your blue spotty dress deserves one of those Victorian glass domes all to its self, preferably sited in a place in your home where everyone who visits will see it and say 'ooh' in a high squeaky voice.

BaronessVonVintage said...

thanks for your comments, everyone! More and more I'm re-convinced that sometimes it's worth the risk to wear and enjoy one's older vintage pieces...though the glass dome is sounding good, too, Miss Rayne :)

N. and M. Ziegfeld said...

Oh my, that dress is positively stunning...I'd have to say I think you ought to take that risk and enjoy this piece...its so lovely, and from what you have said, in too good of a condition to be relegated to "untouchable" status just yet...she deserves some lovin! =P

avintagespirit (Lizzy) said...

Yes, I have a couple items that I feel are too fragile to wear too often, and I'm torn between the enjoyment of wearing them and just not wearing them and treasuring them, especially if I've put on a bit of weight and know I might stress the seams.

Charlotte said...

It's a constant dilemma, to be sure! The last time I wore my beloved Lovebirds dress I noticed the delicate rayon fabric is splitting at the shoulders. I've put it aside until I can find a way to stabilise it, but once I've done that I'll continue wearing it - I love it too much not to enjoy it.

xx Charlotte
Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage