Friday, January 13, 2012

Do I Dare?

Boardwalk Empire is one of my favorite shows on TV today. The plots and characters are as good as The Sopranos (which is saying a lot). But, Boardwalk Empire has one, very important thing over Tony and Carmella - the costumes. Set in Atlantic City during the 1920's, I often find myself drooling over Margaret Schroeder's dresses.

(For some reason, I had a hard time finding some full-body shots of her in best dressed categories. You'll either have to trust me or start watching the show yourself.)

So... I love the show. Last week, I finished reading The Paris Wife. It's about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, during their marriage, when they lived in Paris in the 1920's. (P.S., I wound up loving the name Hadley so much, it made me want to have another daughter, just so I could name her Hadley. My mom told me that wasn't a very good reason to have a baby. hmph).

Then, two days after reading The Paris Wife, Netflix sent me Midnight in Paris. I knew nothing about it, except it starred Owen Wilson and involved late nights in Paris (duh), but that was enough for me. Turns out, every night at midnight, Owen Wilson's character (who is a writer) is transported to 1920's Paris, where he hangs out with... You guessed it, Ernest Hemingway (and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, Gertrude Stein and pretty much everyone else who was mentioned in The Paris Wife. Funny how things seem to happen that way, all of a sudden you seem to be inundated with a particular era or cast of characters.

I'm pretty sure other things happened in this movie, but frankly I didn't notice. I was too mesmerized by Marion Cotillard's wardrobe.

Gorgeous, right? So... of course this got me dreaming of adding a little 1920's style vintage into my wardrobe... The next day, on a whim, I went into our little suburban town's vintage clothing shop. I wasn't expecting much. The kids and I got there and I asked the woman if she had any 1920's dresses.

"Daytime or Evening?"
Uh, evening.
"Are you looking for that flapper-fringe look?"
No, I was thinking drop-waist, maybe black, beaded...
"Like this?" she said as she held up a drop-waist, black, beaded dress, almost exactly what I'd envisioned. It was in my size (it'll really be in my size if I lose those 5-10 lbs. I need to lose), too.

It's not authentic 1920's, but evokes the era (the gal informed me that an authentic dress like the one I wanted would cost me about $10,000. Uh, yeah... I was a bit hesitant about shelling out $65 on a totally impractical, whim of a dress). But, I figured it was fate, right?

So... Here's my dilemma. I live in Seattle - not 1920's Paris. This is arguably one of the most casual cities in the country. Black, North Face, fleece jackets and jeans are considered proper attire for every activity here from hiking to the opera. Where will I wear this dress? Maybe to toddler time at the community center? Or perhaps it would be suitable for the days I'm assigned to work in the Dramatic Play room at my daughter's co-op preschool? Well, some friends of ours just happen to be taking us to dinner this weekend at one of Seattle's nicer (though hip, trendy and casual) restaurants. I'm trying to decide if I go for the gusto and wear the dress. The part of me who wishes we all still wore hats to weddings says yes, go for it. Have a sense of occasion and who cares if strangers think you're over-dressed and a bit off your rocker?! The more self-conscious part of me says no, you'll look foolish and out of place, thus feeling uncomfortable the whole time. What do you think? Would you go for it or should I keep it tucked away in the hopes that someone I know gets married and I get to go to a wedding?

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