As a young adult I used to practically LIVE in the op shop. I couldn’t pass one without scooting in to see if I could find a divine 60’s mini in some outrageous fabric (or sleek black). I also loved oversized men’s suit jackets with their myriad of internal pockets, perfect for stashing keys, phone numbers and money for the taxi home. It was the 80’s after all…….
When the 90’s hit and I earned more money I got a taste for beautiful things, shiny new from the shops. I resisted the pull of the op shop, and apart from the odd market find, I behaved myself.
In the 2000’s I became a mother, paid creche fees, earned less, needed clothes suitable for running, bending, frequent (very) washing. Opportunities for nighttime splendour have become fewer between, and guilt over spending (paint excepted) on frivolous items makes them a bad investment.
We have another wedding coming up soon. A beloved cousin, marrying her true love who moved from afar. It will happen on the beach in the afternoon, the reception will be somewhere fitting in the evening. What to wear! The fab formal frock of last week is not suitable, black is taboo……..
This morning I went to my favourite fabric shop, determined to be inspired and left (this has NEVER happened before) EMPTY HANDED. Completely.
Feeling stunned and unsure, we wandered further down the street to an op shop, wondering if perhaps there may be a piece of fabric or garment in there that could be remodelled (I was desperate and unsure)….
Gently calling my name in polite whispers was a vintage, hand-tailored (Jermyn street London no less) dress in cream with gold embroidery that looks like it could have been done by the mice from a Beatrix Potter’s Tale. It’s a 60’s shift shape, with elbow length sleeves. Not terribly much hanger appeal. Let’s try it on anyway – it’s Jermyn Street…..perhaps it could be cut off and be a great top……. It is in brand-spanking, perfect, perfect, perfect condition.
Made for me. Could have been tailored for me personally. Perfect fit, perfect length. I still can’t quite get over it.
At the counter, wondering if I was mad or just incredibly lucky I thought – How can I make this perfect garment more ‘now’ without ruining it? It may need gold jewellery… Again calling my name softly, so quiet you could hardly hear…… A single elaborate earring. No pair, just a lone little one, which fits – like it was made for it – on my every-day necklace. Again, too good to be true!
The dress will be dry-cleaned, shoes must be bought – but that will be fun, I feel virtuous and lucky and very, very blessed!
Playing with fire, progressing gently….. I’m really enjoying painting again, and feel good about my new body of work. Need more time, but don’t we all – and at least I don’t have to spend a day sewing a new dress now.
I win! 🙂