Sunday, 21 July 2013

A new home for one of my treasures

Yesterday I gave away one of my treasures. It may not look like much in this photo, but it's a sheer 1950s nylon dress with sunray-pleated skirt. No holes, no stains, every seam is perfect, it still has its belt... I honestly thought I'd always have it; I was certainly never going to sell it.

However, this week I bought a vintage dress, a coral broderie anglais one from Stutterinmama. I'm already feeling like that was a mistake, not because there's anything wrong with the dress (I haven't seen it), nor because of the vendor, who has a very good reputation, but because I have the dreadful feeling that it's simply 'not me'. I'm a person of sensible tweeds and knitwear or aggressive block colours and in-your-face diamante, not a pretty person who wears delicate coral frocks. And I know I don't have the 50s figure the coral dress will require. Still, we shall see – maybe it will not be too sweet for me.

Having purchased the dress, I was hit by my usual, "What if I don't really like it? What if it doesn't fit me?" anxiety. And that made me decide to rehome some of my vintage and repro, because I've got too many pieces falling into both those categories. I'm not attached to all of it; there's the slightly too-small Swirl I've never worn and now aren't sure I want to wear anyway (note to self: your body is nothing like Fleur de Guerre's; stop buying things that look good on her!), and a late 50s turquoise dress that I'm umming about whether to keep (it fits, but I'm not sure I still want to wear it).

The nylon dress, though, was different. I loved it from the minute I saw it, but I was a size 8 when I bought it, and I last wore it to a Golden Jubilee street party in 2002. My doctor has told me to lose weight to help my bad back, but I don't think I'll ever be that small again. Nonetheless, I didn't want it to go to some random home. Then yesterday, I went to visit Sarah. I met her at the first Secret Tea Party in Bath, and we just became friends. She's getting married this autumn in a vintage dress, and I'm knitting her a cardigan to wear for her wedding, so I had to go and discuss options and colours and to take measurements. And it hit me: the dress needed to go to Sarah. I offered it to her, she tried it on, and she looked breathtaking. It fits her like a dream. Her platinum blonde colouring suits it perfectly. I couldn't be happier that it's found a new home with someone who loves it and can show it off, not leave it hanging in a wardrobe.

Some things we only own for a while, then they go on to their new rightful owner. I've had that with a few vintage things, mostly books. This is the first dress. But I do believe that you get back what you dish out; a couple of years ago Amanda Jones gave me a stunning black silk velvet evening gown, made in the 1930s by Roecliffe and Chapman for a member of her family. Perhaps in giving the 1950s dress to Sarah I'm dishing out what I've already had!

(On the subject of giving stuff away, my blogoversary giveaway is due. It's going to be a tad late as I'm VERY busy right now with some important freelance, but I promise the giveaway is worth waiting for - the star item with be the winner's choice of one of two pre-1944 brooch-and-earring sets. So please bear with me for a few weeks while I'm a bit quiet!)

6 comments :

  1. It is lovely, must have been nice to see it worn and beautiful. xxx

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    1. It was! It's such a beautiful thing, it deserves to get out and about and not be stuck in my wardrobe.

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  2. I'm glad it's not just me that thinks that about certain garments. Many people have thought me potty for thinking so. I have always been hourglass but was a much slimmer one some years ago and I have one or two garments I cannot bear to part with, but I know I they will never fit me again. Besides, apart from health problems, at my age it's a case of one's face or one's ass and I'm going with my face!
    I'd love to find the right home for them but so far I haven't managed it.

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    1. Keep them until you do! When something is beautiful and treasured, you need to find it the right home, not just any home.

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  3. Sometimes things are meant for others, aren't they? Maybe we're just custodians for a bit!

    P.S. I need to see a photo of this blue hippo dress, it sounds completely fabulous!
    x

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  4. It's such a stunning dress, and I couldn't believe it when Mim gave it to me. It's the sort of dress you put on and instantly stand taller, in an elegant pose. It feels all the more special because my friend gave it to me - I can honestly say I love it. Thanks Mim!

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