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Saturday 14 January 2017

How to wear a pink vintage gown as daywear in the winter

I read a blog article recently on how to wear a dress in the winter. You take a dress, you put it on, and then you put on a coat. OMG!! Why hadn't I thought of that?! I was freezing cold wearing this sparkling dream gown the other day. Had I seen that article, I would have known to put on a coat. Heh.

I bought this exquisite vintage gown in late 2015 to wear to the gala of a fashion show I styled. Stupidly, I didn't apply due care when I washed it and the delicate chiffon bodice partially shredded and patches of hand-sewn rhinestones, beading, and sequins came unstitched. I truly thought the dress was a goner...

Until this past week - Project Resuscitation! I had two options: 1) scrawl MALFUNCTION somehow across the front and shred the skirt; 2) attempt a mend. I chose mend. I'm glad I did. It was delicate work with missing beads and fouled threads, but the results exceeded my expectations. The rhinestone star now looks like it's exploding, which I like - a supernova on my chest.

When I bought the gown, several areas near the hem were also yellowed and ripped, but I'm leaving these imperfections as is, partly because I have no choice, but mostly as living traces of the past, like wrinkles on a face. (The dark area in the photo is my shadow.)

When I move in this dress, the chiffon swirls languidly behind me in its own time zone of dimly-lit nightclubs and champagne bubbles. What a shock it must have been for it to wake up after decades of slumber to freezing temperatures in a bamboo garden at a Keg restaurant on the back of a middle-aged tween with Troll hair and pointy black boots. Under a big blue beast!

Where the wild things are

Yes, of course I wore a coat. Not just any coat - it was Sandra's Big Blue. We swapped for a while, my glowing orange traffic-cone coat for her animal. You can see that the beast has already made friends with a few of the other jackets and coats in my closet. I hope they procreate. See Sandra's IG here.

For a while now I have noticed that wearing bright red makes me feel fantastic, and wearing this gown and doing this shoot, I realized that bubblegum pink has the same effect. PINK?!! Gaaa!! Never, EVER would I say I am partial to either of these colours, especially pink.

Look, LOOK! Evidence of creeping sublimal pink mind-takeover -

Shelley, Forest City Fashionista, took this photo of me last spring

Dress with fake pesticide from my post Most Joyful Nature Woman in a Hot Pink Gown
There is a video based on this in the right sidebar as well.

Why not just buy me a PINK PONY and get it over with?!! Sedate me with candy floss, heart-shaped candies, unicorns, and My Little Princess tiaras? Put me in a frigging tutu, why not? (Oops, I already do that.) At least red is a colour with bite - fire, passion, tempests, romance, sirens. But pink?! O woe, I surrender to its power.

I wore tights, socks, a slip, a camisole, weird lycra shorts, and a white long-sleeved top under this dress because I suspected I'd be leaping about with Sandra outside during our afternoon shoot. She took these grove photos.

So yes, you can wear a dress in the winter without a coat, but you have to jump around a lot to stay warm, be super-focused on something to take your mind off the fact you're freezing your ass off, wear layers UNDER the dress, and not stray too far from a cozy coffee shop you can flee to when your sweat starts to freeze over. That's sound advice.

I've worn a few other outfits I've loooved this week, including a manly suit. But I think there are enough photos on this post already. Well done if you've made it this far. If you want a peek at the suit, it's on my IG, here. It's mostly black and grey, the opposite end of bubblegum pink - 'cause that's how I roll. I look like a politican, a real one.

I shall link this outfit up to Patti at Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb, when the time comes.

Has pink seduced you too? How did you recover? Thank you so much for stopping by. I mean it!

PS: In case you don't know, Sherry of Petite Over 40 is hosting a blogger meetup in Phoenix, Arizona, called Winter in the Desert, February 10-12. She is planning all kinds of fun things to do and I so wish I could be there. You must go and give me all the details.


  1. stunning pictures in that bamboo setting!!!
    and chapeau for rescuing the dress - the gods of vintage will thank you!
    me is wearing dresses in winter - all the time! and we HAVE winter here, the real stuff. but pants are only for skiing :-) and i always thought that pink is a fab color - earning lots of critic from "emancipated" woman.....haha! pink is such a gorgeous color - so why should we leave it to little girls? :-)

  2. You are right - projecting all those twee conceptions onto pink is another sort of imprisonment. Free the pink!! And yes, it IS a gorgeous colour. It took a while for me to fall for its charm.

    I admire your boldness to wear dresses in your REAL winters. You are surely a pro at it in style and technique. Thanks for your wonderful comment, Beate. Mwah! xo

  3. I am always desperate to read the How to... fashion blogs. Who else will tell me how to put a shirt on (arms through sleeves, label at the back) or when I should wear shoes (when I go outside) or that I, a grown woman, am allowed to wear jeans (without needing a note from my mother)? Thank goodness for the mavens!

    Although I think Barbie was better in a black and white swimsuit rather than plastic pink everything, I've always liked pink, and even love it in some incarnations. Look at Bruno Mars in the Uptown Funk video - he OWNS his pink blazer. And you own this candy floss flurry of pinkness, especially with the blue coat! Beauty and the beast. Brilliant job on fixing the beads - such patience - but I'd kinda like to see the skirt shredded (guilty smile here).

  4. Pink is probably my least favourite colour but on you, my dear...fabu! Of course. And yes, in this weather wear all the under layers you can squeeze in.

  5. That dress is soooo dreamy - I'm very glad you attempted a mend. I think it's about the shade of pink. A bold, saturated hot pink does feel empowering because you can't ignore a woman in a full-length fuchsia dress. Whenever I wear my hot pink winter coat someone always comments on it. Pink can be totally badass.

    I love these photos of you exploring the bamboo forest. The coat swap is an excellent idea.

  6. I love that you were able to find a bamboo forest in Vancouver to take these photos! It is really a blogger's paradise out there!

    The dress is sublime. I love that you took the time to repair it. A piece like this needs to be preserved.


  7. What a fabulous gown!! I admire your patience and persistence in repairing it. Definitely worth it. And pink...I think we should reclaim it as a power color, especially a vibrant pink like that one! That bamboo forest is amazing too.

  8. You are splendiforous in your formal wear. A Pepto Bismagician!!! I am so inspired that I am going to shred all of my clothes and start all over again. I'm not kidding! Love you!

  9. I love your pink ball gown and how clever you are to mend it. Determination will out...

    The photos are fabulous, well done Sandra. I love the beast with the ballgown; it's almost like beauty and the beast!!


  10. everybody looks good in pink. A pink gel in a stage light works wonders. Thank you for repairing that beautiful dress.

  11. I've crossed to the Pink Side and I've never been happier to embrace its sticky sweet embrace! It makes me happy to wear it - it's a magic colour. I absolutely love that you fixed your dress and flowed with its wrinkles. I might have to wear MY pink vintage dress this weekend in empathetic vibratory bookend to your dress.

    Rar to that beast coat!

  12. Cor lummey, that's a gorgeous frock! You do it proud and vice versa.

  13. ohhh, don't understimate the power of Pink, particulary those hot-pink and brilliant fuchsia!, it's not so strange that you surrender to its power! (I've done too!). I hated it but I'm a believer now.
    All that pink fabulousness! glad that you repaired all the lovely details!. And the blue furry coat looks amazing!
    (so great that you read the advice about wearing a coat in the Winter, what would we do without brilliant advice like that?)

  14. I am so hot for pink this year! Love this fabulous frock and you did some skillful repairs, missy. And the blue coat is so YOU as well, even though it's a loaner. Looking like a million-billion bucks, xox


  15. Let pink take over the world! Or at least that's how I feel when I wear hot pink! I think the world would possibly, no probably be a whole heap better if we all had to wear pink one day a week!

  16. You did a marvellous job on the dress. Such a skilled woman you are. Pink isn't my colour (either?) but bright pink is better. I have a long top in that colour which I like a lot. That is it. You are doing much better. Still, it is not my choice of colour for you. If the frayed hem is bothering you in the future, just shorten it and make it into a cocktail dress.
    The blue coat of Sandra is marvellous.
    Keep warm darling.

  17. Pink! I luv Pink! and your star bursting looks amazing. well done mending. Hot Pink in Bamboo is too Cool. + the Cookie Monster coat. oh my. go-go Pink!

  18. Every time I read that phrase 'joyful nature woman in a hot pink gown' it cracks me up. <3 PS that's supposed to be a red heart, not a pink one.

  19. What a stunner of a dress!! You can't beat a vintage frock. The pink looks fab in that bamboo forest. X

  20. The pink chiffony woman with the starbursting chest in the bamboo forest being engulfed by the big blue bear is really scary Mummy!
    Is she? That's nice dear!
    Xo Jazzy Jack

  21. I'm a late comer to the pink party too, but oh how I love it! You look adorable in pink, but there again you seem to look adorable in most things, and hey we love you all the more for that. Congrats on your sewing skills - I'd be well proud of setting about this kind of repair - what a bright spark you are!
    My pink ruffle blouse has the most wonderful effect on my mood. Wear pink to fight winter blues I say x

  22. THIS POST IS FABULOUS, MELANIE! I love it! And yes, I also LOVE BRIGHT IN THEIR FACES pink. It's alive, mischievious, at times arrogant, demands attention... Your dress is beeutiful, and the coat...sigh... xx

  23. I didn't used to love pink, but I feel drawn to pink now as I get older. It is such a joyful color! The dress is fantastic, and I am amazed that you were able to restore it - such a delicate piece. I especially love the combination with the blue coat - just wonderful!

    As for dresses and skirts, we used to love them all the time - I mean, women in general, of course. In all kind of climates! I grew up and lived (till almost 30) in one of the coldest climates on earth, and we wore dresses and skirts all seasons. :) But I have to tell you, now after living in this mild climate for the past 10 years, I really forgot what it means. I remember there were many layers involved. :))) Here, I frequently forget to wear a hat or a scarf even on cold days. Just got out of habit! Thank goodness for blogs. :)

  24. Like many, I loved pink as a girl, hated it in my teens, 20's and 30's, and then around 40 realized I was repressing true childhood love. I think older women wear pink better than young women (over the age of 18). Age takes the saccharine out of it. And electric blue-pinks are so much stronger and intense than reds! ALso: there is a dearth of good pink on the market today. You pretty much have to get vintage to find a good pink. As you have, most successfully. -Laylage

  25. Loving your pink dress and the fun photos. Pink is one of my favourites and fortunately it's def here to stay for Spring.

    xx Yvonne

  26. I'm all for reclaiming pink whenever we feel like it. Love all your revisited iterations here, and I am glad you mended this latest beaded one.


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