Two for one

And for those interested, you can buy it! Or my reproduction of it, anyway...

And for those interested, you can buy it! Or my reproduction of it, anyway…

I know. Two posts in one day. Unheard of. But I had to blog about this.

Killing time at the end of the day checking out Etsy vintage clothes that might – might – just fit me. I’m not built on lines of economy, and my measurements rarely coincide with those of actual vintage clothes. Occasionally I’ll stumble across something that can be made to wrok, but generally it’s a drool-only activity for me. Same thing today, with no joy at the bigger end of the shopping spectrum. And it’s not that there weren’t many items listed. But this goes on with my earlier post about people not being able to identify periods of clothing; some listers just have no clue about sizing.

So here it is – a few quick tips for the size-unaware.

First – if the waist of a dress is 28″, it’s not an XXL size. In fact, it’s barely even an L, as far as I can tell. But hey, let’s just consult Bettie Page and see, shall we?

The Bettie Page size chart - I figure it's vintage accurate!

The Bettie Page size chart – I figure it’s vintage accurate!

Now I know that’s a little blurry (sorry, it’s from a print screen…) so I’ll translate. 28″ waists don’t even rate an L. That’s them there in the M column. OK, so maybe the original listing was actually “Plus Size” rather than XXL, but you get the point. Since when was an M any kind of plus size? By its very definition it’s medium sized.

Column B of the same problem? It’s from the lovely shop offering vanity sizing: 50″ bust listed as an XL.

How these people xpect to sell their items is beyond me. And it’s a shame for them, because both examples here were lovely dresses, which was why I clicked on them. But I don’t like their chances of someone stumbling across them and deciding to purchase.

Rant over. Back to looking at pretty pictures.

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A Cinderella Story

The weather has been on a hot streak lately – apart from that bit where a cool change came through on Saturday and it dropped 15 degrees in 10 minutes. Seriously – so I’ve been plundering what summer wardrobe I have and plotting how to expand it. Because it has many holes. Sadly, far more holes than I have ability, time or energy to fix right now. But the biggest gaping hole is in the footwear department.

Sure, on the surface, it seems like I have plenty of shoes. But then you remove the black ones, and suddenly there’s not so many. Take away the winter warmers, and I’m left with 3 pairs of shoes, and only one them are flats. For those who don’t know, I have back issues. I can manage to wear heels occasionally without having to send a week lying flat afterwards, but more often than that and it gets tricky. Especially on days when I’m on my feet a lot. But when I was doing my check, I suddenly remembered a pair that I bought at the end of last summer. Fabric covered cream peep toes with navy leather accents, and a jaunty polka dot bow on the front. They were gorgeous, and I haven’t ever worn them because the weather turned the other way on me when I bought them. But I could find them. I remember seeing them when I was packing to move house in July, but they haven’t been seen since. And I desperately want to wear them.

Except soon after remembering them, I remembered something else. One of the last things I did before moving was to stuff a few – seemingly empty – shoe boxes in the bin, including the 0ne that these shoes came in. And I think there was a rattle in the box. It seems I may have thrown out my own pair of shoes. $90 gone in the blink of an eye. Not to mention some of the comfiest heels I’ve ever put on.

Undaunted, I’ve begun hunting for the elusive replacement. At the moment, I’m leaning towards American Duchess’s 23 Skidoo. Also divine, but more closed in that I would like…

And I’ve contemplated heading down to the local rubbish tip to see if I can find my shoes. That’s how much I loved these. So, lesson learnt from this? Probably not. It’s also occurred to me that I may have left some shopping behind on a recent shopping trip. Left it on the counter and walked away, with an entire bag of goodies left behind. Apparently, my early training as a blond is beginning to re-assert itself. Perhaps it’s the sun, bringing it all back.

Because even I can’t write about clothes all the time…

I’m in a bit of a non-sewing-related funk at the moment. Things have been…let’s just go with unsettled in various areas of mlife lately, and no amount of organisation of my sewing things has settled me (although my lovely new books on textiles did get me settled on the couch across the weekend far more than was good for me…). So I’ve been daydreaming about alternative plans and, as always, they revolve around an area of interest – in this case history of clothing.

I’ve daydreamed in the past about study in New York, in London, then I down graded to Glasgow and finally Athens, Georgia. But the reality is that there is no way for me to study full time overseas. The cost of tuition alone is prohibitive, without the restrictions on work when you’re on a study visa, and the lack of a support network when I ran into the inevitable financial struggles.

So instead, I’m trying to find a way to formally study clothing history at an Australian university – possibly with a stint overseas – knowing full well that there are none who offer more than a single unit of study on the subject, especially at post-grad level (4 undergrad degrees is more than enough for anyone, no? Yeah, I get bored, and I study. That’s how it works). I think I might have it though – masters by research. I frame my own topic, I set my research, and I have a perfect excuse to spend time overseas ogling various serious collections of clothing. Not to mention going to seminars, conferences, and talking to people who know far, far more about this than I do. Of course, I haven’t spoken to a university about this plan yet. And given my academic history of sitting just slightly above mediocre with my grades (as long as you take out the architectural design subjects, which manage to drag my average down at least 10 per cent, or rather somewhere just slightly above a pass mark), there’s no guarantees that I’ll even get in.

So, to further my goal, and my tradition of last minute university decisions, I’m attempting to pull together a research topic that would convince the history – or heaven forbid, an art history – department of a university that I knew what I was doing, that it would relate to their field. That there is enough there to write 40-50,000 words. That there is some benefit to academia, if not society, in the work. That I’m not just someone procrastinating as a professional choice. Yeah, might be up against it on that one. Especially since I have my sights set on the closest thing Melbourne has to ivy league – University of Melbourne. So far, I’ve narrowed things to the industrial revolution and the impact this had on clothing production and styles. It’s a fairly wide-ranging topic, and one I’m sure has been done to death by others before me. I’d we willing to adjust it and look at the impact of war on women’s fashions in the same period…or later periods, given that there were some interesting things happening during the twentieth century wars as well. But what the hell. I’d welcome any suggestions or comments on how to do this. Or just to recommend a good therapist to get this whole study thing out of me, because I bitch and moan when I’m doing it, and can’t get enough of it when I’m not. I know. Nuts. But just to get through the insanity, this is where I would be studying.

University of Melbourne 1888 Building - home to graduate students

University of Melbourne 1888 Building – home to graduate students

Law Quad Cloisters

The old Law Quad, the oldest buildings remaining at the university

Old Arts

And suddenly, it makes a whole lot more sense.