vintage advantage

The Vintage Advantage

vintage advantage

You have places to go, occasions coming up, possibly an actual season of parties. All the department stores carry the same designers. Why risk looking like someone else (your neighbor, your competition, your mother-in-law?!) when you can pour yourself into the right vintage dress and make an entrance. Be brave and original. All these sites list sizes and/or actual measurements in case you’re between (and aren’t we all!) Most show the garment from many angles, some with separate detail shots. Where there are small issues, they’re described. Most can be taken care of. Remember, these are one of a kind. This article is time sensitive.

1940’s Black Velvet/Red Tulle- This is a small one, sizes 3-5, 34” darts, 24” waist. If you’re Reese Witherspoon petite, imagine undulating into a bar in this sassy number. Cocktail hats anyone? Samba. Fitted rhinestone bodice, pencil skirt; metal zipper in the back (below left). $339.00

Mollie Parnis Eggplant Silk Taffeta Cocktail dress 1950’s- Remember when dresses had waists? And petticoats?! (Well, you’ve seen it in movies.) A really feminine piece in a wonderful color. Ah, the swishing sound of taffeta. Ripe for jewelry or a flower. 33” bust, 25” waist. Fitted, elongated bodice, square neckline, pretty back detail (above right). $215.00

Salmon and Gold Evening Gown with Matching Jacket-Formal wedding? Charity event? Holiday apparel? You won’t have to worry about a wrap with this complete ensemble. Forgiving shape. Gorgeous color and fabric. Purchased from the CFO of Sarmi, i.e. in good condition. 33” bust, 29” empire waist, 35” hips. Jacket has tie belt, long sleeves, rhinestone buttons. Jacket and dress both lined (below left). $ 410.00

Black and Yellow Ribbon Tulle 1950’s Cocktail Dress- Made for dancing. The kind of hand work rarely found in ready to wear. A young Liz Taylor piece. Incredibly flattering shape. Yellow tulle woven with ribbons and overprinted with black floral pattern. Attached ruffled crinoline underneath. Fully lined. Bodice is boned. 36” bust, 26” waist (above right). $339.00

Classic Marilyn Monroe Bombshell Red Chiffon- A shapely body should be shown off without looking like you painted on your dress. No obvious spandex or cheap nylon, this is top notch 50’s sex appeal. Halter dress, satin waistband; fully lined. Boned; strapless bodice. Sheer layer on top buttons at neck. Size 3-5 Bust 32” – 34”, waist 24” (below left).  $339.00

Pat Hartley Black Chiffon and Satin Cocktail Dress- Divine, darling, anywhere in the world. The blouson overlay makes your waist look even smaller. The chic silhouette and subdued polish will catch peripheral vision. Underplay your jewelry. Silk chiffon over crepe. Thin strapped bodice with black satin waistband. Back zipper. A little glitter and you’re done. Missing belt (I’d buy something satin or with rhinestones) 34” bust, 27” waist, 38” hips (above right). $174.00

Mr. Blackwell Nude Evening Gown with Hand Applied Rhinestones- This one’s a head turner. Seriously elegant with that subdued-I’m confident about myself and my style, no need to advertise stage whisper. Size 8/9. Richly covered in curly cues of rhinestones with black flat sequin leaf accents. Slit at the back. Matching crepe lining (below left). $495.00

Embroidered Lace and Turquoise Silk Taffeta Cocktail Dress- Wonderfully young looking, this would perfectly suit a fresh-scrubbed Ralph Lauren kind of girl. Feminine without being saccharine. Lovely detail. Embroidered with peach, buttercup, cerise and turquoise flowers, each topped with a single sequin and bead. Wide silk taffeta waistband, bow. 33” bust, 25” waist. Back zipper (above center). $215.00

1960’s Gold Lame Evening Gown- Admit it, you’ve always wanted one like this. So does your daughter. A modern Cinderella dress. Subtle sheen. Sweet sixteen, prom, or young looking mom. Gold brocade, boned corset style top. Halter. Tulle crinoline under slip. Fully lined in satin. 36” bust, 30” waist (above right). $75.00?!

Jessica McClintock 1980’s Royal Blue Long Taffeta Party Skirt- Never worn! This is a Sharon Stone to the Oscars number…with a little cashmere sweater or simple J. Crew blouse. Wonderful for entertaining at home or whirling the night away. (Well, some people still do.) Size 5/6. Iridescent blue with ruffles in back and at hem. Black petticoat underneath. Back zip. Slight fishtail train (below left). $289.00

Aqua Lace and Rose Crepe Sarmi Cocktail Dress- A classy, almost conservative shirtwaist shape but for the plunging neckline and beautiful hue. Truly different. Ladylike, but not prim. January Jones in Mad Men? Women will ask for the name of your dressmaker. Aqua lace with shimmering cellophane thread woven through. Lined in tan marquisette, tan tulle and pale peachy rose crepe. Matching tan satin belt (above right). 32” bust. 24” waist. 35” hips. $410.00

Cherry Red 1950’s Cocktail Dress with Balloon Skirt- I mean look at that skirt! Flirty cut as well as color. Imagine this with high heels. Add a big pin or flower. Party, party, party! 34” bust, 25” waist. Back bow. Fitted sleeveless bodice, gathered waist. Super full skirt (below left). Crinoline not included. $185.00

Classic 1940’s Rayon Crepe Evening Gown- Easily a Nick and Nora item, Irene Dunne (ask someone,) even Joan Crawford. Where’s the cigarette holder and martini? Fabulous piece. Sexy and sure. Boxy short-sleeved bodice with shoulder pads, high neckline, slit back. Ivory, metallic and sequin braid. Straight skirt, draped hips.(Unlined-needs slip) 40” bust, 31” waist, 41” hips (above right). $235.00

Victoria Royal Synthetic Satin Gown- For the conservative patrician. Why should women over size six look any less charming? Lovely, soft robin’s egg blue. The long, solid skirt helps make you look statuesque. Size 13. Scoop neckline, ¾ sleeves, tailored waist; intricate clear/smoke glass seed and bugle beadwork. Mermaid flared train at back. (Below left) $165.00

Early 1990’s (Stretchy) Black Velvet Gown- For this price you can waft around the house in it whether entertaining or not. Tasteful and proud. Gorgeous neckline. Long line. Drape yourself on the couch and wait for him. White satin shawl collar. 5 white satin buttons on left side front-just for decoration. Straight skirt, 20” slit. 36” bust, 32” waist, 40” hips. (above right) $35.00 ?!

Bubbly Barbie Style Polyester Organza Party Dress- You know whether you can carry this off. Simple hair with a loose curl and diamond or pearl studs. Extra mascara. Bouffant ruffles, bare shoulder, fitted bodice, full skirt edged in wafting ruffles. Sash included. Side zipper. Size 4, bust 32”, waist 24”. Matching pink polyester faille lining. (below left). $ 145.00

Late 1970’s 2 Pc Albert Capraro DressFinesse is a word that comes to mind here. Quietly festive. Wear with pearls or silver. Looks like old money. Size 10/11. Smoke gray, dolman-sleeved angora blend knit sweater, delicately embroidered in metallic silver and smoke gray ovals. Liquid silver satin skirt lightly gathered at the fitted waistband. Matching satin sash. $165.00 (above right).

Metallic Gold Floral Cocktail Top- Dressy but not ostentatious. Eminently useful under a suit, with satin or velvet pants, or a skirt. Even jeans, really! A little glitter can go a long way. Size 11/12. Bust 37”, waist 27.5.” Metallic gold floral on cobalt blue and jet black brocade background (synthetic.) Black taffeta lining. Fitted. Bateau neckline, darts to bust and waist. Back zipper (above). $38.00

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