I wonder, often, if I should write blog posts here with a specific idea or theme in mind, a blog post thesis statement, but in the end I'm trying not to stress about it too much and just let it be. I bring up that wonder only because I know right from the start that this one is going to be about a number of things, and I'm sure there is a neat way to tie them all in together but I'm not sure what it is.
We don't get to the beach that often anymore, which is a shame generally for anyone who doesn't, but I'm one of those who feels it specifically because I spent so much time in the sand and sea as a kid and up through adolescence. We took a weekend trip, something that doesn't happen all that often because it's hard to have a weekend off of work and to want to spend 6 hours or so of that in a car. Occasionally the time between trips is long enough that you forget the parts that are awful (packing, unpacking, not the actual driving but the traffic jams, the way rest-stop bathroom soap smells) and you load up with bikes and outfits and go somewhere.
As a teenager we spent two summer vacations away from our usual spot (Long Island), instead heading out to Cape Cod. There's that thing about teenage summers, I don't know what it is but they are golden in the remembering, like most things, but there's something particular about those summers so that I keep trying to work on stories about it and them and very specific locations that I was only in for a moment compared to all the other places in life. I haven't been back in about ten years, and since then I've spent a lot of time (for whatever reason) picturing and thinking and writing about silly things like the walk to the beach where we stay.
Anyway, I brought along my Edwardian dress to wear and photograph in the beach landscape: the wooded path, the weird little field ('The Snake Path' although the sign with the name wasn't around when I was 15), the jetty sticking out into the bay.
Dress: Vintage (antique really though, haha!) via instagram, Shoes: Vintage via thrift
It's not actually the kind of outfit I would wear out there (in fact, later, when we took another walk down after dark in the weird mist, I was in a sweatshirt and jeans), and whenever I write about it all in a uh, creative nonfiction kind of theme, it's always just stupid shorts and sneakers and the hoodies that litter the teenage years of the early 2000s.
But I think about this path, the road curving away and ending in this little dark forest path that opens up into a field that deposits you onto the road lined with beach houses before getting to the water, and the feeling of walking that and the street lights in the tree leaves. None of that is at all related to this dress at the beach, in my mind and memory anyway, all the same it seemed alright to wear a treasure of a dress to something I'm so fixated on in my personal tropes.
I'm also wearing it backwards. I think. I'm pretty sure, and I'm pretty sure you can tell because the lines in the bust are kind of awkward (I mean, they are anyway because I own nothing even close to the appropriate undergarments time-period-wise for this kind of thing) but I kind of don't care? It's impossible for me to snap and button myself into it without assistance, and being honest it's also a tiny bit snug. I also like the lower neckline that happens if you wear it backwards, and so to date it's the only way I've worn it.
I've had my eye out for one for ages, and this one finally popped up on instagram in a sale at just about the right price and almost the right size (I'm actually tempted to sell it now that I've worn it a few times, but waist sizes from this era in my size are so hard to come by I feel I should probably hang on to it). I've been sitting on it since then, occasionally putting it on for an event and then changing. The problems of what to wear not just slip-wise (if you don't want it sheer) and uh, bra-wise are tricky and not entirely things I've solved yet.
This was a bit of fun. I'm fast approaching 30, but I still sort of love dressing up and going and I don't know, pretending on a bit of rock. Too many novels, but I know for certain my teenage self would approve of this kind of pretending.
It feels silly sometimes, like for a few years this all made sense, and now it feels indulgent and maybe a little stupid, but something in me still wants to chronicle it and tell myself little stories. If I get my act together I'll write actual things down and who knows, maybe they'll make an appearance in the world in some kind of print?
Once again, thanks to my boyfriend David for taking these. He's gotten really good at knowing what I'm asking for with images, good team and all that!