Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dresses as coats over dresses.

When I was a mid-teen and first discovered vintage, my mum's wardrobe was a source of endless delight. Once she and Dad went on an overseas holiday and I had a good, old stickybeak at what she had in there. And when I say 'stickybeak' I really mean rummage and try on and carefully put back so she'd be none the wiser (hi Mum.)
I found o so many beautiful items. Like a cowl-necked, black, silk velvet floorlgenth gown from the Forties that belonged to my great-grandmother. And a pale-green crepe teadress, bought at the Portobello Road markets when mum lived in London and was working as an usher at a theatre. But my favourite dress was by Australian label Merivale, one that was really popular in the Seventies. It was terracotta red and cream with abstract stripes and flowers; it had the smallest puff sleeves, with a thick cuff at the elbow, and it flowed easily to the floor. It breathed 'elegant hippy' and as it turns out, mum bought it to wear to a school social when she was in year ten. 
I tried it on and- horror of horrors, sorrow of sorrows- it only fit from the waist down. When my parents moved to Melbourne, I became the breathless guardian of most of these treasures including the Merivale dress and would try it on from time to time in the desperate hope that somehow my proportions had realigned so that it would encase me completely in its light cotton loveliness. Never happened. Until one day, after another fruitless trying on I glanced in the mirror and realised... it looks just as good as a coat!
And this, my friends, was the beginning of a new infatuation: dresses worn open as loose, light, lovely coats over other loose, light, lovely dresses.
Worn here with a Lover dress, shoes from Zomp and a vintage belt. The dry ends are all my own. Jealz?
Actually, the Lover dress deserves some screen time of it's own.

 This is us, dancing.
This unbuttoned dress-as-coat revelation found another incarnation after last Saturday. I found a gorgeous Therese Rawsthorne washed-silk tuxedo dress at Surry Hills markets and, wouldn't you know, it fit perfectly from the waist down but-but-but it was too good to leave behind (and there was another girl hovering around hoping I'd put it down which always raises my competitive hackles. Yes, am aware this might make me a horrible person.) 
So home with me it came and I'm so glad it did because...
 It's a total dream.
Oh, you know, just reading some Shakespeare.

And there you have it! How to find a way to wear clothes even when they don't really fit you or 'where there's a will there's a wear.'
Or something.


  1. Rosie, you look absolutely radiant.

  2. can'