This gazebo has become my go-to “oops, I procrastinated and now it’s raining” picture taking spot.But, hey. I do not hate it. It works perfectly with the way I interpreted this lovely, vintage mauve maxi from Kristina. When I initially saw the photos of this dress I fell in love with the ethereal quality that speaks to my Pre-Raphaelite tendencies, but once I had it in hand another style came to mind.
Kristina had already knocked it out of the sartorial park with her boho inspired outfit. The boho look is definitely authentic to the decade that birthed this dress and depending on accessories, I could see it on either an earthy hippie or a glamorous disco queen. It even reminds me of a dress my ever-stylish grandmother wore in the seventies.
But, when you really look into the history of fashion and the different eras it becomes clear that many style associated with the later half of the 20th century, in fact, have their roots in much earlier decades. While we might associate flutter sleeves and flowing skirts with the hippies of the sixties and the dancing queens of the seventies, the look actually made its modern debut in the 1930’s-1940’s world of Hollywood glamour. As easily as this style could have been worn by Donna Summer, the great Bette Davis could have donned it, as well. The similarities exist in the draping and the pleating, the use of the lightweight, flowing fabrics, and the Grecian inspired cuts. I mean, see? The ancient Greeks even did Old Hollywood before Hollywood did.
So, while I was first drawn to the earthy quality of the dress, when it was my turn to take a crack at it, I decided to pay homage to a whole different decade. An intricate, metallic belt, t-strap shoes, flowing hair, and matte lips take this look to the allure and the romance of the silver screen.
Why have I spent my entire adult life not owning a cape?! They’re awesome and I mean that in the old sense of the word. Not just cool. They’re awe-inducing! My favorite bit is how easy they are to wear, which totally blew my mind. You can throw them over any kind of outfit and it’s like adding style sprinkles to a cookie. This outfit is as simple as jeans and a t-shirt and yet it is so much more than that with the cape.
I’ve always thought that capes would be difficult to wear. Something really “out there” that would stomp me. I could appreciate them on others, but when it came to me, I just didn’t think I would be able to figure out the equation. I looked at them and only saw “x + y(cape) = chic and dramatic” and I’m just awful at math. Well, I am so grateful to this group because I was able to play with something that scared me without making a commitment. I was able to discover how absolutely easy capes are.
What I learned during my time with Emily’s cape, and now Hannah’s, is if you treat them exactly like cute coats, they are pretty much foolproof. They seem to inspire overthinking, which makes sense. They are a tad “other” in the wardrobe world. At least they are in my Northface and yoga pants obsessed corner of the world. But, they don’t need to be. If you think of it as any other coat you can easily integrate it into your rotation of clothing without having to do any sort of wardrobe algebra. Now go out and wear all the capes!
Cape: Hannah’s | Shirt: Olan Rogers Supply | Pants: Torrid | Shoes: Torrid | Hat: Boohoo
Emily was gracious enough to let me borrow this lovely scalloped collar shaped necklace. I was so excited when I saw it in her closet because it was so full of sweet little details. I not much for accessories, but this is exactly the kind of accessory that I would like to add to my collection. It’s a statement piece that mimics the characteristics of a collared shirt or dress. I was even more pleased when I saw it in person because it is solid. It’s heavy and thick and I imagine it could take a beating. Much like many women I know, it’s beautifully formed with sweet, delicate details and fortified with strength and resilience. Because it takes from both the hard and the soft it’s perfect for adding to any outfit.
I wore it to mimic a collar on my floral sweater as a nod to the collegiate quality of my plaid driendl skirt. I love mixing this skirt up in different outfits because it has a distinct preppy style with its navy color and plaid print. Yet, the primary colored lines offer a chance to play up lots of different styles and colors. The skirt can be librarian chic, 1950’s sweet, or even spunky and ecclectic with a graphic tee and statement belt. I’m going to be putting it up for swap to see what the over lovely ladies can do with it!
Sweater: LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s | Skirt: Thrifted: Shoes: Payless | Necklace: Emily’s
The one little tidbit I can tell you about my time with this lovely red cape is, you always feel fabulous when wearing a cape. It’s impossible not to. You’re one part super hero, one part Little Red Riding hood, and one part vintage sewing pattern illustration. That adds up to a whole lot of fierce, romantic chic. Plus, you can throw it on top of anything and look instantly amazing and I’m not sure there is anything else in this world that can get the job done the same way.
I played around with a lot of looks and even attempted to photograph several of them but something always got in the way. Whether it was bad lighting, rain, or a forgotten camera battery, something was always stopping me. Ultimately, I landed on this outfit because it reminded me of work wear featured on the previously mentioned vintage sewing pattern illustrations and it wasn’t a direction I have seen featured with the cape yet. I also found that while Emily and Kristina paired the cape with long silhouettes, I preferred short and sweet on my body as the length of the cape plays of the length of the skirt and gives the illusion that my legs are longer than they really are.
I just might have a more modern and playful look up my sleeve for later because I can’t stop myself with all these gorgeous borrowed items! But, shhhh….don’t give my unmitigated gusto away to everyone else.
When I first discovered Shaped by Style, through Hannah’s blog, the very first post I ever read was about this dress and I was hooked. They had me at brightly colored, vintage horse print. So, I knew exactly which swap item I wanted my first post to be about!
I was a little nervous about it fitting but I didn’t need to be, at all. This dress is a great example of how versatile clothing can be on different bodies. On Emily and Hannah it holds it shape while floating away from the body in a pleasing a-line silhouette. On me and a pregnant Kristina it hugs all the curves and baby bumps of our bodies quite nicely. The fit looks intentional on all of us and makes me believe this dress comes with a touch of magic.
This will not be the last time you see me in this dress. Trust me. I felt a little manic when I pulled it out of the package and started wildly grabbing things out of my closet to see what it looked the best with. Did I want to go nuts with a rainbow of layers? Well, yeah. But that’s coming later. For my first attempt at styling it, I wanted to illustrate how a vintage dress with an almost ridiculous print can fit into a modern, even edgy, aesthetic. Pairing it with trendy black pieces, like ankle boots and a motorcycle jacket, updates the style in a cool, sleek way and also frames the dress allowing those great saturated colors to pop. My trusty herringbone tights provide coverage but also highlight my legs and eliminate the possibility of this dress looking too “old-fashioned.”
Thank you so much to Kristina for being a genius thrifter and rescuing this beauty from being turned into a Halloween costume. Then continuing it’s story further and delivering it into the hands of bloggers all across the country. You are doing this dress a great service!