Sunday, May 22, 2011

Everyday Costume.

Lately I've been thinking that it's a shame I'm not more outgoing or gifted in the vein of performing and acting, because most of the time I'd really like to wear some sort of costume and pretend all day. I'm just shy of twenty-five so full-out costume dressing doesn't really click these days, although that hasn't stopped me from trying at least a little bit. My habits of dress usually coincide with a movie or book I've seen or read and if you've seen my last post I'm sure you can guess the sorts of things I've been trying to channel as far as the costume for the day goes. I've been forgoing my usual eyeliner (partly because my allergies were so bad that I was starting to despise applying any makeup at all) and keeping my mascara to a minimum. Despite my penchant for lace and old oddities of dress, I don't really have much that would work when it comes to 19thc. corsets and calico dresses. I've also been sorely lamenting my chopped hair, wondering why I ever did such a thing, and trying my very best to will the stuff to grow faster.

In the meantime though, I'm making do. I had a white dress I snagged on sale at Anthropologie last year, but had hardly worn. The thing about white dresses is they always seem like a crisp, cool idea at the time, and then I hardly wear them.. For a while a few years ago I couldn't get enough of the things, but that was mostly paired with tights and strange boots, rather than in summer. I have a little pile of white dresses that I bought on impulse, thinking that yes, they are white, but I can always dye them (this is also my justification for buying vintage that is stained so much I'm unsure if I could actually get it out). Assuming I ever get around to that task. My need for at least one Jane Eyre inspired outfit was enough to push me to try such a thing, and so I started with this dress:

Consequently you cannot see it very clearly because it is white. Helpful.

I don't generally like shirt-dresses. In theory I think they're lovely, and then I put one on and can't stand it, so they hardly get worn. But something about the lines of this dress reminded me of the costumes in the movie. Originally I had visions of a mint-green thing, with a little lace jacket (I have procured on from Forever21, which is not in this post, but it was originally planned to be) that I imagined I might dye with tea, and a pair of triple strap flats ordered from golden ponies (I've ordered them, and they're on their way but not here yet). As it turns out, the color green I wanted has been discontinued. I didn't really trust myself to adjust the shades of green in the store, and anyway my favorite dress in the aforementioned film is a very pale blueish grey. After a first dye, using less than a quarter of what the dye instructions called for, I had a dress in a pleasing shade of light blue. I was thrilled with it, but in my heart it was not the color I wanted. It was a little more Alice in Wonderland blue rather than faded dress grey blue. I opted to try a grey dye over the blue for a short amount of time. The resulting color was exactly what I had hoped for.

After that I threw some snaps on the collar to close it up the shirt-ness of it, and after adding a little lace collar and some ribbon, I was quite pleased at my vaguely Eyre-esque outfit to be worn traipsing to historic sites and wandering grounds.

Olana, a place I remembered visiting when I was a kid, so we headed back!

I have a small collection of lace cuffs that I buy for no reason. I love the idea of them, how period they look, how delicate and strange they are. A lot of them are on their own and appalling cheap because they are missing mates or stained, so I've started wearing one by itself as a kind of bracelet. For the purposes of this costumed outfit I wore it alone, but I've been enjoying it layered with some shiny bracelets for more regular days.

I'm trying my best with my hair! I used to be able to do so much with it when it was long, all these romantic hairstyles! Now I'm limited, and this length doesn't hold curl very well, but I'm making do until I get some lengthy locks again.

Dress: Anthropologie, altered
Collar: Vintage, thrifted
Cuff: Vintage, antiqued
Shoes: Urban Outfitters
(For reference, I used RIT liquid dye in Evening blue for the first dye, and used RIT pearl grey in powder form for the second dye)

Pictures taken by John M.


  1. Your dress is absolutely adorable! Love the little lace collar!
    I think I got into acting because of the costumes, too ;) But I am not at all outgoing in real life...

  2. You truly did an incredible job with the dress, nice work lady! :)


  3. So beautiful! I always feel like dressing like a character from book or a period movie as well, so I know how that feels!

  4. Oh my goodness. This is my favorite post of yours ever. The latest version of Jane Eyre was beautifully done. I don't blame you for being so enamored with it. After seeing it I went out and bought some of that velvety ribbon Jane wore around the collars of her dresses. You did a wonderful job dyeing this dress and your lace accessories are to die for. That cuff! ♥

    I'm constantly drooling over those triple strap flats from golden ponies. Now I'm looking forward to seeing you style them. And tea staining... I've had visions of tea stained blouses in my head for the longest time, but every time I pick up a pretty white blouse at the Salvation Army I can't bear the thought of altering it. Maybe I should start looking for slightly less pretty ones that I wouldn't mind dyeing, hehe. Or seek something out at F21 like you mentioned...

    Olana! I love it there. The last time I went was several years ago at Christmastime. How gorgeous it was decked out for the season.

    Forgive me for babbling on and on. I always mean to comment on your posts, so I guess all of this was just building up!

  5. What you have done is amazing, and I wish I could buy one like that!I can imagine it would have been lovely in mint green-but the colour you made it is just as gorgeous!
    I love the little lace collar you put underneath it:)
    well done, I would never be as daring as to dye my clothes.

  6. You are so thoughtful, so put-together, and so lovely. Keep up the amazing work, my dear.

  7. This is a very very pretty look. I really like white dresses but hardly ever wear mine too, especially because I'm afraid of staining them with some food, a bit silly I know. But I have to agree that the dress looks so much prettier in blue. I can be partial to this too because blue is actually my favourite colour. But anyway I adore this look and putting the collar and cuffs was brilliant!

    PS: I am considering purchasing a pair (or more) of golden ponies shoes too, just need to decide which ones!

  8. You look fantastic! I adore the lace cuff, I wonder where I can find some... xox

  9. I actually love your bobb so please don't lament it. Its fresh and fitting for summer. You won't regret it with the heat.

    That dress is spectacular, 10x more stunning with the dye job. I can actually see its unique lace detailing now! Even though this outfit is amazingly inspired by Jane Eyre, it works very well as a contemporary look too.

  10. i love that little lace collar detail! i think you are doing a perfect job of channeling jane eyre here :)

  11. so pretty. and i love the cuff, it sounds amazing with bracelets layered off. never would have thought of that

  12. I really adore reading your posts. You make me feel so inspired to be more creative, and this post was no exception. I have a massive pile of DIYS to do myself and am looking forward to the challenge!
    Oh yes, and I love your bob too. However, this may be because my own hair is quite long (well, for me) at the minute and I get the urge once in a while to hack it all off.

  13. You're so beautiful. I can completely relate to wanting to wear costumes 24/7 - the idea of being an ethereal pixie or a steampunk princess beyond the confines of the dressing room is a super appealing one.

    Where were those photos taken? Is that local?

  14. I do that same thing! Moves definitely dictate my personal trends. I have yet to see the newest version of Jane Eyre, but I'm sure I'll love it, just like I love your outfit :)

  15. That dress came out amazing. White dresses always look so beautiful, but very rarely they really suit people. I think that greyish blue suits you much better!

  16. I really understand the sentiment of wanting to dress in costumes all the time. Life can be prohibitive sometimes!

  17. Oh my! That dress is just darling, it's such a pretty colour now and I love the lace collar. The pictures are just beautiful too.

    I know exactly what you mean about hair length, I had a lot cut off at the end of last year and now I'm really regretting it and I want my long locks back, plus I really hate that inbetween phase! xxx

  18. Oh wow, you're the prettiest thing I've seen today! The lace collar is exquisite:)

  19. Wow the dress looks amazing! I think that's the great thing about clothes, You don't need to go to drama school or be on the stage to have some fun and be someone else for a while:)

  20. Your dress is lovely as is your lace cuff. I would love to be able to wear flamboyant costumes in my daily life too, oh well, I will make do with admiring pretty costumes from afar

  21. you, are amazing...! the dress is absolutely beautiful and i can't believe you dyed it yourself! the faded blue-grey is perfect and the cuff as bracelet is genius.

    oh, and i was so enamored by the clothes in the movie. they were rather simple but had tiny little details and cuts and shapes and draping that gave them a little something extra. i wish us women could still dress like that...

  22. wow, you look so lovely and that shade came out perfect!

  23. Wow, these photos remind me of a Jane Austen novel! And you look like you could be Elizabeth Bennett! =)

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  24. I LOVE these photos so much! I think this is a perfect mix of costume without actually being costumey. I looove the little lace cuffs. And your makeup makes you look like a doll!

  25. I love the way this turned out! You look like a modern day Jane Eyre fairy.
    I marched home this weekend with an armful of white dresses that had been languishing in my closet (I too think they are crisp and cool and wonderful but then never end up wearing them, mostly due to the fact that I am afflicted with such ridiculous clumsiness that I would be walking around in coffee stains rather than virgin whiteness) with all the intentions of using my parents copious amount of space and washer and dryer for dyeing...but the local drugstore only carries black dye! Hopeless! I am now on a mission to find some better stuff. Do you use rit or some other brand? You seem so knowledgeable on the subject of dyeing and I really need some pointers!

  26. I adore this and now want a dress exactly like it :)

  27. Well the dye job is GREAT! Good for you doing that. I want to do the same to an item of my own but I just never get around to it. That little lace cuff is super cute too. I'd say this is totally a normal outfit though, not costume-y at all.

    I'd lend you some of my super long hair but I'm afraid it's attached!

  28. Gorgeous outfit! I'm new to your blog, sort of meandered over via various other blogs, but I love your style! And especially that you're inspired by Jane Eyre to make a few outfits. (Jane Eyre is my favorite book.)