What Memories are Hidden in an Old Dress...?
I will always adore vintage clothing.
Over the years, I've amassed many wonderful dresses from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Make sure you stick around for a few fun stories. I'll imagine who might have worn these beloved pieces many years ago...
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In Every Old Dress There Lies A Story...
The tale could come from a person no longer living. Who knows what a woman might have experienced wearing a beautiful gown? A reunion with an old friend, spontaneous vacations across the pacific ocean, wild parties at midnight. Endless potential.
Those who are alive can continue these stories if they wish to. If they put on a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation, or restore a glamorous garment found in the dusty corners of a secondhand shop.
These old clothes have experienced more lifetimes than we ever will.
That is the beauty of vintage clothing.
You are wearing history.
But what if that history is not known? What do we do then?
Well... my imagination will start to create a backstory of its own. That's what.
Time Travelling through a Frock.
This psychedelic dress reminds me of dreamy summer days. A frolic on the beach. A jingling tambourine.
If you stare at this print for long enough, the wavy red, orange, and yellow pattern begins to spin. It twists and turns. Your mind's eye is dragged deep into these marbled pools of fire. The hypnosis begins, and you're back in time before you know it.
A gentle buzzing sound fades in and out.
A bumble bee darts above an acre of grass. It circles the perimeter and then flies off into the distance.
Nearby, a bare footed stranger is also spinning around in the grass. The little feet circle, circle, circle, until they come to halt. They belong to a young woman enjoying her youth. Her legs give way and she tumbles onto the ground in a fit of laughter. This woman is surrounded by other folks much like herself. 1970. A group of free-spirited friends. All thriving in the middle of a London heatwave.
They dress how they feel. Trippy prints, comfortable fabrics, billowing sleeves. That spinning girl - who is now a giddy heap on the floor - is wearing a beloved dress of hers. Down the bodice hang four gold buttons which shimmer in the sunlight. A tiny detail that fills her heart with joy. Matching embroidery adorns the cuffs and neckline, connected like this tightly woven community of young adults. They feel natural. They feel free.
This dress is sweet like a fluffy Chai Latte. A cozy book by the fireplace. A daisy bursting through soil at the start of spring.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the city, a pair of manicured hands tap the worn-out keys of an old typewriter. Every so often, these hands leave the keys. A young woman starts to play with her tousled brown hair. A journalist. One of the only women working for her local newspaper. She wants to prove herself to everyone around her.
A mint green dress is the armour that helps her get through the work day. Long hours are no match for the delicate skirt pleats, tiny neck bow, and buttons arranged down the bodice. It is easy to feel put together when the details are just right. (But don't tell anyone about the tiny brown stain on the right side of her waistline. She was far too energetic drinking her coffee that morning).
When the professional gets home for the evening, she will yank her tiny white heels onto her apartment floor, and she will make sure that a dusty record begins to spin. There is nothing that her favourite easy-listening record can't solve.
This dress is a joyful tune. That rare person who is unafraid to share their true colours with the world. An explosion of stardust.
As the record spins, the projected sounds reverberate around the room. You dip into the musical portal and find yourself in a colourful world. Jump ahead a decade. The 80s. Add on five years...1985 is even better!
The small face of a teen, with a huge mane of freshly-permed hair, has one ear pressed against her bedroom door. She is waiting to hear a loud creek followed by a bang. These two sounds signal that her parents have gone to finally sleep. After all, she has somewhere she needs to be. A concert she has been waiting for for months.
To the right of the door, a large white dressing room table decorated with scalloped edges has three powdery blotches on it. Two pink and one green. Someone had been experimenting with their eye shadow that evening.
10 minutes later. A creek and a bang. The teen glides over to her dressing room mirror to check out her outfit. Adjusting the padded shoulders, she admires the purchase that cost her a few weeks worth of pocket money. A loud dress in a fantastic purple, blue, and green. The thick black buttons stretch from the bodice and reaches down towards the hemline. "Thank god this fits." she thinks to herself.
Her padded right arm reaches out and drags a drawstring off a plain black hook. That would be her trusty bright pink backpack for the night. Soon, her window shifts from a straight face into a gaping one. The girl escapes into the outside world. Lets hope she hasn't forgotten the Duran Duran tickets that were perched on top of her metallic jewellery holder. No good sneaking off to a concert without doing it properly...
As the girl runs off into the darkness, the pitch black swallows you whole. Prepare for the ride back into reality.
Where is the next tale? And will it be yours...?
The next time you walk past an old dress hung up in the window of your favorite charity shop, or are passed on a blouse or skirt from your grandmother, be sure to stop and admire its history. Even if you are not the one who is going to wear it, try to imagine the places it has been to, the people it has seen, and the emotions it has witnessed.
More importantly, there was a person in that garment once. Maybe it'll be you who will create more stories in it and keep the legacy alive.
If not, look ahead and be on your way.
It may not be the piece for you right now, but you will stumble across the one you are waiting for someday.
Thank you for going on this little dress journey with me.
Hope you enjoyed it.
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Till next time!