About a month ago I encountered a much coveted Vintage Unicorn. You know, one of those glorious, unexpected vintage items, that take you by total surprise, but is so unusual and perfect, that you know it must be yours right away. Even if you don’t know *quite* how you’ll pull it off, there’s just a sense of fate in the air when you spot it.
My latest Unicorn was a very old fashioned style night gown – like, really old – Regency or Victorian kind of thing. Or as I like to call it, ‘Mr Darcy’s Shirt’. There’s a whole fan-fic-esque story that I’ve invented that goes along with that title, one that would make Jilly Cooper very proud, and I’ll happily divulge with you…well, after two and a half gins!
I’d never come across anything like this piece before. It’s reproduction, but of the highest quality, completely pristine, in the softest, heavy cotton, with silk lined pockets and collar. Um, swoon.
How was I going to wear it, though? It is so incredibly oversized, knee length, and shapeless. I had absolutely no idea, but for $30 I knew it had to come and live in my collection. I’d regret it if I let it pass – after how can I ever refuse frills and balloon sleeves of such grandeur!? It’s the New-Romantics dream!
The inspiration to wear this, and explore its potential, didn’t hit for a while, so it sat in my wardrobe, patiently waiting – but I decided on Thursday night that Friday would be the day, and so I tried it on and begun to play around with ideas. A friend on Twitter then suggested that I go for a Gibson Girl style updo with my hair, which I set about researching – and from that my look was based and then born.
The Gibson Girl style is something I guess I always loved, and strived for in my mind – that soft, Victorian, romantic look, but with slight tomboy tones – I just didn’t know what it was called. So it was a new term for me, and one that as soon as I researched, knew it was exactly what I’d been looking for, ands would be just perfect. Luckily I’m very good at doing messy updos…its pristine and tidy I struggle with!
So in the end, I wore the nightshirt tucked into a favourite skirt – this high waisted, satin number, from Lindy Bop that is a constant go to (and I own in three colours because it’s just that good…plus, it has pockets!!) – to make it a blouse. I back combed my hair and pinned it into the famous Gibson Girl soft, but voluminous, updo. I then topped it off with a floral piece of mine, in creams and whites, that I felt suited the romantic whimsy of it all quite nicely. I guess I want you to believe that I’ve been skipping through the meadows picking flowers and casually placing them in my hair, whilst reading sonnets, to my Dandy-Gentleman suitors.
The sleeves were quite bulky and I didn’t want to be constricted with a jacket, or ruin the tone of it all – so I threw another vintage favourite, my purple wool cape over the top – to really top off that dramatic vibe. Because there really is no such thing as too much (and once I took photos, I realised, with glee, how the purple, with the ruffled collar, was a very Purple Rain Prince look – a double whammy in style goals!).
It was a look that was dramatic, whimsical, soft, and a nice additional, different, addition to my repertoire. Yet one that was still very much me – which is always the goal. You gotta always feel like ‘you’. Never forget it!
The shirt reaffirms that idea of these Vintage Unicorns – that when you see one and you feel, in your bones, that you have something special – you just have to go for it and get it, even if you’re not quite sure how you’ll wear it. Because these pieces are rare, and once gone, you’re unlikely to ever see them again. So snag that Unicorn. Make it yours! Even if it takes years, one day you’ll have that a-ha moment and you’ll know exactly how to wear it, and it’ll be utterly perfect (I know, I know, I’m such a bad advocate for minimal, capsule, wardrobes and living – but eh, where’s the fun in having just 20 pieces?! Where is the fun?!).
Oh, and the greatest achievement of all? That I went all day in this white shirt and didn’t spill a single thing down it – which for me is the true miracle and fashion challenge.
SHIRT/ NIGHTGOWN: Vintage
SKIRT: Lindy Bop
FLOWERS: So Long Marianne