Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Make Your Own Damned Dinner - My 50s Dress

I adore the fashion of the 50s. I grew up watching re-runs of "Leave it to Beaver" and "I Love Lucy", so I have a huge amount of nostalgia for those lovely fashions. Not so much love for the attitudes towards women, but man, I do love the revelry in being utterly feminine in your clothes.

This is more my attitude now:
That's an image by Anne Taintor, and I have it on a coaster. It's a phrase I use a lot. Ha!

I found this lovely REAL 50s dress in a thrift store for $44.00, just before Christmas:
When I tried this on, I knew I had to have it. It fits perfectly, like it was made for me. That's a shot without the belt - I'm wearing dark teal tights.

With the belt, having a twirl:
I'm sure this is meant to be worn with a crinoline, but it has plenty of volume on its own! The waist is like a cumberbund, all pleated, and the skirt has precise 3/4" pleats all the way around the waist.

I was too cold to wear it like this all day. The dress is unlined and I think the material is a cotton blend (doesn't wrinkle badly at all). I wore this new-to-me cardigan for most of the day:
The cardi is a sort of heathered teal colour. I think it was $8.00 in the same thrift store. It's a nice soft wool blend, and in new condition (it's not vintage at all).

This shot is to show the detail in the design: there's actually an extra piece sewn into the armpit so that you can move your arms (the fabric doesn't stretch, of course).
The dress is a "Toni Edwards Original". The only think I could find on that name is another vintage dress and a bunch of old eBay listings.
Note the metal zipper - it also has all those hook and eyes at each major seam. And isn't that a cool pattern? When I got thrift shopping, I always look for patterns that still look modern.

To keep the dress from looking too "I'm a 50s housewife, let me get my vacuum", I went with my rocker chick accessories: big earrings, big belt, a couple of cuffs and my kick-ass shoes:
I could hear this guy purring from across the room:

Cardigan (Smart Set, thrifted), dress (Toni Edwards Original, 50s vintage, thrifted), hose (Hue), belt (Jacob), shoes (JLo), studded cuff (80s vintage), cuff and earrings (Shi Studio).


  1. What a find! That pattern & the seafoam
    color are stunning, and you're right, it fits like a dream. I don't want to sound weird, but WOW, girl, what a rack you've got! You should show that sucker off more regularly! Awesome!!!!!

    Ps: those shoes are drop dead, too!

  2. What a wonderful find, and it looks great on you!

  3. The dress is a wonderful find! Have you thought about bringing the hemline up to show off your legs?

  4. GOOOOORGEOUS! And I love how you've styled it.

  5. So pretty. I really love the pattern, I'm a sucker for a great paisley. I like that you styled it with modern rocker accessories. I love doing that.

  6. That fits you to a tee! A vintage website I browse has some authentic Lucille Ball-owned items from back in the day. I have to figure out which one it is. Maybe ??

  7. Ha ! your cute cat was probably complementing you !
    I love vintage dresses, this was a real great find.
    I love how those metal zippers will keep it all together no matter how many pounds you gain!
    Adding the cardi and the belt brought it up to date, I am so excited on this post I can't even stop writing.

  8. Wow, what a find! I love it best with the belt and bolero. You are going to have fun mixing this up in your wardrobe, I can tell!

  9. Julia, I was so excited to find this - and it fit! Heh, no worries, I know I've got boobs. Thanks!

    Chris, thank you!

    Kasmira, now that you mention it, that would probably look good, but I always hesitate to alter vintage. But you're right, it would look better shorter.

    Thanks, Sal!

    Thanks, Alison. I'm also a sucker for paisley. It's not very creative, but I do love my rocker stuff.

    Wendy, thank you! Oh my god, I love that site! Thanks!

    Lorena, you are so funny! Thank you! I am going to stay trim so I won't have to test the zippers!

    Kristen, it's so pretty, isn't it? I am actually not sure how else I will wear it yet, but likely not till some warmer weather!

  10. I absolutely love that dress. You are so lucky to have found it!

  11. That dress is stunning on you. I love the pattern and the very redhead-friendly green color, and it fits you like a glove!

  12. Thanks, Rebecca - I know, I feel very grateful that someone let that go...and that it fit me!

    Thank you, Kari! It was a truly lucky find.

  13. I love vintage dresses, and that, my dear, is a fabulous find! It fits you like a glove and is so flattering.

  14. Tina, I feel so lucky to have found this. And it's in amazing shape. I bet it wasn't worn very much.


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