Kathryn’s favorite vintage dress met an untimely end, but she may yet find another like it—Now that I know this story, I will keep both eyes open for another.
My favourite vintage item sadly does not exist any more but I’ve never forgotten it. I bought it from a secondhand shop in the High Street of Oxford (in the United Kingdom) where I was at university in the 1980s. Back then, selling and wearing vintage was not as commonplace as it is now, but this shop stocked a small selection.
The dress that caught my eye was what some people now call a “Goddess” dress. It was navy blue and finely vertically pleated throughout with a boat neckline and a matching cinch buckled belt. The dress was straight, knee length, sleeveless (I think there was some gathering detail at the shoulder) and was labelled as being from 1964. It had a touch of the Audrey Hepburn about it, although she is the last person I resemble, but I tried it on and it looked like it had been made for me, so I bought it on my meagre student income. I think it was the first vintage item I ever bought.
With its simple lines, it was timeless (it would look equally as good today), chic, slimming and in total contrast with the fussy, ruffled, brightly-coloured fashions of the day. I wore it a lot and always got compliments in it. It worked for day or evening. It didn’t need jewellery as the statement neckline and the pleats spoke for themselves.
It went with me on dates and parties I’ve long forgotten but I’ve never forgotten that dress.
Sadly, it met an untimely end.
I came back from university and and my mother took it upon herself, without telling me, to wash the dress in the washing machine. I don’t know what happened but all the pleats fell out, leaving the dress just a large navy blue tent—it was ruined, unwearable.
This is the only picture I’ve got of me in the dress—it was taken in a grassy field in the country in Somerset (told you I wore it everywhere!) when I was on break with a friend just before my final exams at university. It doesn’t really show all the fine details of the dress but you can see its clean and simple lines.
I’d love another dress like that but have sadly never seen one.
Funnily enough Margaret of Denisebrain had a very similar dress up for sale on her Etsy site a year or two back, in the very same colour, but by the time I saw the link, it had already been sold...
I know just the one she means, and now I’m so sorry it didn’t sell to you Kathryn—The next one is yours, I promise!