09 September, 2007

An Unexpected Chapter One

We were supposed to be doing an Old West Shootinist Society event on the Eastern Shore of Maryland this weekend, but decided not to go because it's a five hour drive and the weather was going to be hot and then stormy and it's bad for dogs. But I didn't want to let down Apprentice #3 by bagging. So I proposed that we dress up in our 1880s kit and walk around Belvidere, New Jersey. This weekend is their annual Victorian Days and I've always wanted to dress up and go.

So after dealing with the infuriating US Postal Service in the morning (yes, there is a reason I use UPS and Fedex), we came home to find Britt waiting for us. I dashed off to change and do my hair while Bob showered and shaved. Then, feeling like I had more on under my dress than was necessary (man, I am NOT used to wearing knee-length bloomers!) we piled into the car and headed for Belvidere.

In a little less than a half hour, we were there, parked, and swanning about. The biggest attraction for all of us, I think, was the antique autos. There were cars from all eras there (including an AMC Gremlin) but we were particularly charmed by the 1930s Model As. There was a pristine 1910 Model T there that we kept going back to. The first car we saw was a light blue 1922 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. Oh! Heaven...

Most of the vendors had fake Victorian stuff (like the craft shit my Mum likes so much). And hat guru Britt was put off by a shop of hats that started out alright, but then were inundated by too much polyester tulle.

{And can we please stop the "Red Hat Society" thing now? Please? It doesn't make you an individual, ladies, if you're wearing the same thing everyone else is. *sigh*}

There were a few vendors who had real vintage stuff. One had some pristine clothing and accessories and I intend to look her up at a later date. I got a cloche for $8 at one and a repro Austrial crystal choker at another. The Morris County Historical Society had tons of cool clothing and accessories they were selling off, but it all had a moth hole or a place where the fur was rubbed off. Bob found a suit that would fit him beautifully, but it had a moth hole right in the back. There were lovely muffs, but I feared they would molt.

Right before we left, Bob found some sheet music from the 20s and 30s. I was charmed by a song from a musical subtitled "A Tale of the Spanish Main". On it there was a 1920s "pirate girl" in a bob and red over-the-knee boots. I got it just for the picture. Bob was sight-reading a song called "Valencia" and using that "period" trill. He was only singing to himself under his breath, but drew a bit of a crowd. And then we saw it! "Oh By Jingo!" It's a song from one of our favourite episodes of Jeeves and Wooster. Bob has been looking for the notation online for a while now. And there it was, laying in a pile of sheet music in Belvidere, New Jersey. And then we found another song from "Anything Goes" for which Cole Porter did the music but P.G. Wodehouse co-wrote the book. Hee! So we bought it all. We got 7 for $5. The cover price on one of the sheets was 60c. Tee hee! Now all he needs is a ukelele (and yes, some of this music is actually arranged for ukelele! That's why he started looking at it).

No, we didn't take any pictures. But we might very well be in today's Warren County Reporter or The Express-Times. A reporter from the Warren County paper took our picture and asked our names.

So we went intending to be Victorian, and ended up doing a lot of shopping for our "Long Week-end". To be honest, the 20s and 30s appeal to me far more anyway.

On the way home, we told Britt about our plans to dress in 20s/30s kit and go golfing. She became animated at the prospect of playing mini golf in vintage clothing. I only wish we had caddies... =)

As luck would have it, Bob's catalogue from the Yorkshire trouser maker was in the mailbox when we got home: Spencers Trousers. Custom made AND delivered in 7 days! God, I wish there were bespoke tailors for women.

Revamp has them off-the rack for almost half as much, but you don't get a colour choice.

As for Britt and I, things are so much easier. We don't really have to buy anything new. We took a look at my copy of Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs and a book of photos from the 20s through 40s that I have and realised that we have all the right clothing to do this right now! Yeah, it would be cool to get plus fours made for ourselves, but women also golfed in skirts and sweaters. And I have at least three of the type of pleated skirt you see all the golfers wearing.

Side note: I really want to make myself a 1930s riding habit. Why oh WHY didn't I buy that pattern from Vintage Cat a few years ago when she had it! She's looking for another for me, but she said they're rather rare. =(

We ended the afternoon with an episode of Jeeves and Wooster, Britt went home, and we took a nap.


Oogie McGuire said...

I hear you on the bespoke tailors for women. After your last rant on that topic (the one about eliminating all off the rack clothing) I've spent a while looking locally but to no avail. It does appear there are some tailors in Denver, only a 6 hour drive away!

BTW next time you get to looking, I'm trying to find out more about what a rural woman would have worn in 1927. I ahve a few old farm magazines, One I bought because it was supposed to have a pattern for a ladies dres in it, but it turned out not to. We have a 1927 Gordon Van Tine kit house we restored and I'd love, just once, to make up a proper dress to match and go feed my chickens in the front yard of the house in it.

malvoisine said...

Grr - Las Vegas is an interesting place to live, but other than the SCA, we have found a lot of vintage anything. Which is a same, because there's a lot of scope for doing 50's stuff. Anything like that seems to be an isolated incident and not well advertised. We desperately want to do 40's re-enacment, but it looks like we'll have to start our own group to do it. Which I could do, don't get me wrong, but don't know if I have the time nor the gumption.....

malvoisine said...

That should have read - we *haven't* found a lot of vintage anything....

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there are bespoke tailors for women.




Kass McGann said...

We haven't found a lot of vintage anything. That's precisely why we're doing what we're doing -- dressing up and making our own fun by going to regular places in vintage dress. I've been waiting for years for someone to run a 1920s or 30s murder mystery or train trip or dance or the like, and no one seems to be doing it. So we're gonna dress up and have a picnic... or go play mini golf... or go to dinner in formal wear.

You don't need anyone else around you to be doing it. You don't need to organise a group. You just need yourself and a friend. =)

Chole said...

Oh I would LOVE to go for a golf outing and picnic. For once I already have the proper outfit! Now how long do you suppose it would take me to get there in my '25 Hupp Boat Tail?

Kass McGann said...

I don't know how long it would take. But I am certain it would take less time than it did in the 20s. The roads back then from me to you were horrid, sometimes not more than dirt roads!

Kate said...

Sounds like way fun! *hugs*

Zach said...

Interesting. I remember doing other time periods once upon a time. I'd still like to do 20-30 stuff. I wonder if Chort still does his 30s night. Not that I have the time, but it is nice to think about.