|A friend of mine gave me some of her old clothing a little while ago, and I finally had a chance to go through it all on my day off last Friday. She was about my size when she was about my age, which was.. some time ago. Styles and tastes were different back when these clothes were new, and for the most part they don’t match today’s very well, and my own personal taste almost not at all. There were a few remarkable items, though, and I thought I’d show them off here.|
First, this brown top:
I hesitate to call it a blouse, because it’s not really very blouse-like. It fastens by a zipper in the back, for one thing (hello, need for someone to help you in and out!). It’s made of some stiff, shiny material. The crinkly gathered business going in the front meant that when I tried putting it on (admittedly without anyone fastening up the back), the bottom of the garment kind of rode up my midriff. While I don’t think the designer was going for that sort of look, the enormous collar comes down low enough that maybe he was, after all. Add the enormous cuffs with the pearl buttons, and you have a strange and rather hideous top. (There was an identical piece in a light sage green. Both went to the local donation bin.)
Next we have a somewhat classier jacket and skirt set.
This sunshine-yellow “100% Silk” jacket has a matching skirt. Note the lavender under-trim! And the collar that can’t possibly be meant to be turned back like a normal collar.. which means that the curvy line down the front is completely deliberate! When I put the outfit on, it actually fit rather well, if one doesn’t mind shoulder pads that came out an additional inch on either side.
This label was on the inside of the jacket, and dates the garment to sometime between 1955 and 1995, according to this page at eBay.Finally, we have a really remarkable black top and (sort of) matching skirt that I’m keeping, though not to wear at any of my usual venues:
Now this is a treasure! (The belt and the sandals are mine.)
Take a closer look at the interesting details of this top: the buttons coming up the center to a Chinese-style collar, with more buttons fastening the tight forearms. Puffy black lace for the top half of the sleeves. And these little black velvet shoulder.. things.. I don’t know what to call them. (The skirt is a black lace that doesn’t exactly match the sleeve lace, but it’s close enough.)
It’s a little hard to tell, but there’s some neat patterning to the back as well.
When was this garment made? What place, what era was the designer trying to evoke at the time, with the Chinese collar and the vaguely Renaissance sleeves? I haven’t got the faintest idea.
The designer didn’t have any notion that steampunk was coming... but while this isn’t exactly perfect steampunk garb, it’ll do. It wants a much wider belt - for one thing, there’s a button missing at about the spot the belt covers, for another thing this garment has no pockets - and boots, and appropriate jewelry and maybe a hat, and possibly pants rather than a skirt. It’s completely inappropriate for virtually any other occasion. But it’s so - so different - that it’s really rather cool. And it fits. And it’s comfortable!