Sunday, 31 January 2016

A 1940s look for a wedding guest

One of my favourite Christmas presents was this House of Foxy '1940s hostess dress' from Mr Robot. I tend to wear more late 50s/early 60s fashions nowadays, but do love a good, no-nonsense, 1940s day dress where the waist is where the body's actual waist is and there's little playing around with volume or frills. The lapels and covered buttons on this are all the detail I need. (I'm afraid you can't see them in this photo, but you can see them on HoF's website, where the dress is currently on sale for 50% off in a range of colours.)

I'd been eyeing up House of Foxy's website for ages as I love their styles and fabric choices. There are some repro brands whose designs I love and whose quality I appreciate but whose fabrics just aren't 'me'. HoF seem to pick the sort of prints and patterns I really go for (ironic, then, that the first thing I've got from them is plain). On top of that, both Cate and Sarah speak well of the quality of their products. And their clothes are British-made, which matters to me as I do try to avoid sweatshop-made goods and support more local industries where possible. However, quality and British-made aren't the cheapest options, so I hadn't got round to making a purchase. Now, having worn this a few times, I'm thinking I should definitely buy more from them.

The dress is a size 18, and fits me perfectly. My husband reckons the style is very flattering. The fabric isn't a 40s fibre blend, it's a blend of polyester, cotton and elastane, but nicely heavy and with just a little stretch. It doesn't crease much, thanks to the synthetic content. The label says handwash, but after three days of wearing it over Christmas I looked at the fibre content and style and thought I'd risk it in the machine. Had it been an animal fibre like wool, or had pressed pleats, I wouldn't have done that, but I figured this fabric and shape would be okay. It washed up wonderfully; it didn't even need ironing.

 I wore the dress to a wedding at the start of January, pairing it with a puff-shouldered angora cardigan and a 1940s-style marcasite necklace. I was so pleased with the overall look I might well wear the dress to the next wedding I'm off to, in March, though I'll switch in different accessories.

A digression about the necklace 
I've had the necklace for over a decade, and I'm pretty sure it's not genuine 1940s simply because I've seen another exactly like it on sale at a vintage fair – which, come to think about it, is a weird reason to think something's not authentic, as I'd be perfectly accepting of a brooch identical to my 1930s Bugbee and Niles one. The silver metal strikes me as too bright for the 1940s, though it could be Eloxal – a sort of oxidised aluminium made in Germany from around the 1940s onwards.

Marcasite jewellery is popular in Spain still, and I have a few good-quality pieces. The real silver of those pieces darkens, unlike this necklace. However, the stones in this necklace are very convincing, not quite as dark as the real thing, but very close. I honestly have no idea as to the actual date or materials in this thing. Do you?

I'm not really sticking to the spirit of my 'no new clothes till July' resolution, by the way. I got a Christmas wreath brooch for £4 in Marks and Spencer, but a couple of weeks back I picked up a pair of trousers and a fake pearl necklace in a chazza. As you can see from the picture below, the necklace was probably originally six-strand as there's a gap at one end of the clasp, but I like it with five and no-one's going to get close enough to my neck to spot where a strand is missing. And then this week I was really naughty. I suppose technically neither shoes nor a brooch are clothes, they're accessories, but I'm still ashamed at my lack of willpower. I shall share them with you once the postman has delivered them...

19 comments :

  1. ooo! More photos please!! I've been dying to see you in that dress. I wore a HOF dress last night actually, will put up a review soon but it's fab, I love it.

    As for dating jewellery, there are a few good websites/blogs around that I refer to occasionally, but it's all guess work really and what matters is whether you love it and wear it.

    Hope you're having a lovely Sunday! x

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    1. Sunday is ACE. We've spent the morning watching the kittens try to climb trees in the garden!

      There aren't many photos of me in the dress. You will notice a lack of handbag in that photo. I put it down and was so flustered I forgot it, and then someone handed it in and it got locked in a backroom of the cathedral. Because the groom is a Verger there, all the cathedral staff went over to the reception too... by the time I got my bag back, I was in such a flap we went home! We did get some lovely photos of the bride and groom, though.

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  2. Oh, Mim..
    First off all: you look divine on the photo!
    Second: no one would think less of you for getting an accessory when you said you wouldn't.. and, for the record: it's not a clothing item. :)

    Many rainy Sunday hugs
    M.

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    1. Thank you! We took it inside the cathedral at the end of the service. Guildford is a modern cathedral built in the 1930s - quite Art Deco :-)

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  3. I've decided that resolutions should be a rough guideline, not an absolute, so if it means you've cut down, rather than entirely abstained, then surely that's worth celebrating too? You look great in this outfit, I particularly like the cardi, it looks all soft and cosy, but is a great shape at the same time. I love marcasite. Used to have a lot until I was burgled. I really don't know what age yours is, but hey, it's lovely, so who cares? Xxx

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    1. I've definitely cut down. I haven't bought any more vintage frocks, and am getting more wear out of the things I do own.

      The cardi is a Monsoon one; I got it years ago when I needed a cover-up in a hurry for a work party. It doesn't get many outings as it sheds like you wouldn't believe, but it is nice and warm.

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  4. I love this picture, I love your jacket and whilst I'd like to see a better picture of the dress I can't really talk as I'm just as bad, everyone has been pestering me for a picture of me in my tartan frock from the wedding I went to in December and I don't have a single one!

    Shoes and accessories absolutely do not count! Seriously though it is very hard to go completely cold turkey and it's not like you ran wild and bought 10 frocks.......or did you?

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    1. No frocks, but if much of my Etsy wishlist is still available come July I'm going to go SHOPPING.

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  5. Oh, why did I follow that link!? Knowing they ship to the US is going to be dangerous for my pocketbook. You look lovely in your outfit and it looks like the perfect wedding guest attire.

    I'm not an expert with marcasite, but my old pieces tend to look a bit smoother and worn down than the contemporary, and they tend to be duller. Sometimes you can tell by the clasp, but a good reproduction would take that into account. It is very pretty whether old or new.

    I've been trying to curtail my buying, but in the face of great bargains I've been weak. So terribly weak *hangs head in shame*.

    I really like your cardigan-and the length is just perfect on you.

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    1. Thanks! It's one of my rare bought knits. Nowadays I make all my woollies.

      It is a necklace of mystery. I bought it around 2000, so that's the only date I have for it. Ah well, I like it!

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  6. That dress with the angora cardigan is perfect for a winter wedding. I'd love to see more photos of that dress too!
    Readymade clothes are a new thing in India & Nepal, still lots of tailors here. Cheap as chips too.

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    1. Aaaah, to have access to good tailoring! I did get a coat taken up, and I'm seriously considering getting clothes properly fitted in future, but it will be costly. I bet you have access to amazing fabrics too.

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  7. Oh Mim, YOU are EVIL!!! I just looked at the House of Foxy site & there is drool all over my keyboard!!!
    http://calmlycookingcurry.blogspot.com/2016/01/kashmiri-tao-mooj-fried-radish-chutney.html?showComment=1454299933346#c7850113588209485442

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  8. Hoorah, you finally have a HoF dress! I have the So Foxy Retro Dress in green which is made in the same fabric and I was amazed at how it was delivered folded up really small. I thought it was going to be a ironing nightmare but I got it out and there were no creases. It's a miracle fabric! I'm so glad you've fallen in love with yours too and I totally agree with Sarah, more pics please!

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    1. I'd say it ranks alongside Heyday! for quality - though I confess to preferring Foxy's print and colour choices, they're just that bit more 'me'.

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  9. You look lovely! Your hair is so long and glossy.
    For the first time in years I've bought myself new clothes from a proper shop, two Indian handloom cotton block printed skirts - they'll probably out-live me, probably my only new purchases this year. xxx

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    1. Well, if you're going to shop, shop where you are and support local industry. I bet the skirts are beautiful.

      (Did you find going into a regular clothes shop a bit weird? I always do nowadays.)

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  10. Such an elegant ensemble. White is radiantly lovely on you, dear Mim.

    Many hugs & happy start of February wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

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  11. Oooh, don't you look gorgeous! Your hair is such a beautiful colour xxx

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