When we visited Falkland in 2019 I found the loveliest vintage clothing store. In it was a 1930s silk velvet dress that I intantly fell in love with; however, it was quite expensive and when I tried it on I couldn’t quite zip it up. It seemed like an irrational decision to pay a lot of money for something that didn’t fit so I left without it.
Back then I had slowly been putting on weight without noticing. It was only when I tried on some old dresses in my own wardrobe that I discovered they no longer fit. It was as though they’d shrunk just hanging in the wardrobe. Not wanting to discard my lovely old dresses I immediately set about rectifying the situation and although I’m not as light as I was in my twenties I’m back to fitting into my old clothes albeit a bit more snugly. My mind therefore turned back to the velvet dress.
I have looked at it online many times over the last year and a bit, wondering whether it’s still there, and more importantly, would it now fit? Eventually I made up my mind: I was going to get it. First I had to convince Ben who naturally thinks old dresses that are rarely worn are frivolous and unnecessary and he’s probably right. Neverthless I put together a PDF document stating my case – supporting local businesses, family heirloom etc – and presented it to him. He eventually agreed and the order was made.
I immediately began to worry that the dress would arrive and wouldn’t fit but fortunately the next day I caught a tummy bug and after several days of (in the words of Greg Davies) producing the fecal version of a Jackson Pollock I’d lost another kilogram or so. I have no idea how I got sick – everyone else in the family was fine – and fortunately I’m better now but it was very timely indeed. The dress arrived today and after a bit of rearranging of internal organs I managed to zip it up.
It’s hard to see how magnificent it is from the photograph. This dress is nearly 100 years old and is made with a heavy but beautifully soft silk velvet. It’s fully lined, has a metal zip, and there’s boning in the bodice. It has the most exquisite drape and feel to it.
Hopefully I can make sure it lives to see another 100 years.