I know this isn’t a red dress: it’s blue and brown. But it did make me think of Madmen’s Joan Holloway in the sumptuousness of the pattern and colour, so I’m keeping the name.
It’s a handmade, silky-fabric dress, cost 2Euros, found at the annual midnight fleamarket in Wasserburg, Bavaria, on a dark and foggy summer night. No really.
A young woman was selling clothes that had belonged to her grandmother, and boy, granny had taste. It was a life told through the wardrobe: from a svelte girly thing in the 50s/60s (plain colours, flirty prints, fine detailing, nipped-in waists) through a heftier 60s (tunics and flares and motherhood?), to a stouter, funky stylish older lady in the 70s/80s. Big on dramatic floral polyesters, equally big collars, and an exquisite eye for strong shapes and detail. She’d have been on on Advanced Style ALL the time.
I tried on as much as I could in public and the chilly air, and came away with the Red Dress, and an armful of other treats. And stored it under the bed for four years. However, it did look like this on me. Not one of me finer hours.
Anyway, to do it credit – eg wear it instead of storing it under the bed for a further four years – and to make it fit me, I:
- Re-cut neckline to flatter bosom
- Shorten sleeves (ditto)
- Let out side seams to enable respiration.
But you know, I think my rethinking of this dress needs to be rethunk. The sweetheart neckline, the ankle strap shoes that I automatically reached for, even the hair in combs – all much more 40s than 60s, isn’t it? And it makes me look nowhere near as boobylicious as Joan. But I like it and will no longer be storing it under the bed.