Neverending Summer.

As everyone has written about on social media, it's incredibly hot for late September. It feels like the earliest weeks of August even though a few weeks ago the temperatures sunk into comfortable jacket weather. The light is changing, leaves are collecting, and those of us who wait all year for the creepy season are knee-deep in our Halloween media.

I hit Edwardian-white heaven the weekend before last. I'm only keeping a few pieces for myself, and swapping some of what has been languishing on my own clothing rack so that it's not entirely a swiftly-developing hoarding-habit. 

Last Monday I spent the entire day doing my favorite part of collecting and selling vintage and antique clothing: laundry.  It was a sleeves-rolled, tubs full, dirty water kind of day. Everything got it's own specific mixture of cleaning potions depending on the extent of stains and condition. Most came out nice and almost-white, some a little crispy (oops). One piece, a nightgown that wasn't in great shape when I got it so it was only ever going to be mine, had some stubborn stains (not to mention several tears). Rather than bend over it in the sun, baking-soda and peroxide paint brush in hand, I tossed in an inky bin of black fabric dye. I did a bad job patching one of the holes. My usual savior, fusible interfacing, did the trick but in my rush to wear my night-ened nightgown, I stuck it on the exterior of the thing instead of the reverse side. Again, oops, but at least with these kinds of garments there isn't a huge difference when you wear it inside-out.

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My little nod to Vanessa Ives while staying cool. Now I have to keep my fingers out of the dye and prevent myself from turning every white piece of clothing I own something inky. 

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Darkling: 1930s Satin.

I know it's not even mid-September yet. Most of the leaves are still green, half of Instagram is begging for summer to stick around while the rest of us are visiting craft stores weekly to visit the Halloween sections and starting to think about sweaters. When the cool air started to sneak in, at first just at night but now it's occasionally chilly during the day too, I dug around in my Ikea bags for a 1940s black satin dress that needed mending, got it done in time to list for the impending autumn. 

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It doesn't photograph beautifully, typical for black. It's the most delicious, inky black satin I've ever found. The back buttons (not photographed because I didn't want to risk tearing anything to get them done up) were all covered in a black chiffon in their former lives, but now only a few are still covered. Underneath they're a cool grey metal. It has a pleated, ruffled, detail along one side of the shoulders but of course it absorbs itself in pictures or at least, it did this morning when I thought the light was going to be perfect (it wasn't). 

I have no inclination to keep this one, and I'm not sure why, so into the shop she'll go sometime in the next week or so if I can get the light to cooperate. In the meantime I styled it with an edible-jewelry piece from work and took some self-portraits for the new website portal--hydrangeas will not do for September and October. 

 

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I'm still feeling awkward about the prospect of blogging here. The whole world of it has changed so much, and whatever it is now doesn't seem the kind of place I'm a part of. This is a discussion that happens a lot on twitter or facebook--someone from the old fashion blogging days will post about how it used to be, missing it a little bit, and how it's changed. Going through some of my older archives the other day I had such a strange feeling about it! And yet here I am again, calling it a journal, dressing up and taking self-portraits (I guess? It feels indulgent to call them that) and writing without proofreading about it all. 

Anyway, I'm feeling very Darkling I listen (I'm still writing, still working, still trying to force out this thesis. Did you know it wasn't until a few months ago that I realized 'darkling' is an adjective? Of course it is, of course it is, but I always read it as a strange term of endearment. I like it better that way) here, and heading into this season and weather that makes me feel a little bit more myself. 

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Legacy.

The idea of an introductory post, after all these years of chronicling little bits of life on various corners of the internet, feels strange and unnecessary and yet—one must start somewhere. Inevitably, like most things, the old blog and I outgrew each other (while we are talking about feelings, it feels wrong to suggest it was only I that did the growing) and it seems right that I alight elsewhere along with my new project—Augusta Anne Vintage.

I’d been promising to do it for years and finally last fall I launched tentatively at a beautifully curated local market, and it went very well, and I spent most of the year after that (just shy of) making a space for processing and storing and photographing some of the treasures I like to dig for in flea markets and estate sales.  And struggling to finish my Master’s thesis, using the vintage mending pile as the carrot to finish one chapter draft after another. I spent a significant collection of moments here and there thinking of names—this was very nearly ‘Cake Life Vintage’ after a phrase I use to describe my culinary profession these last eight years—before realizing perhaps the most obvious and cliché choice felt the most right: my grandmothers’ names, Augusta and Anne.

There is something I’m working on articulating about it that hasn’t quite bubbled its way to the top of my brain, about legacy and women and family. Every collector of old things has that need for history in an object, an especial tug on the heart when an item is a little bit imperfect and maybe decrepit. The desire to know who wore it before is always there, and it’s one of those old chestnuts of a story trotted out when every collector or seller explains the why of emotions about old clothes. I do feel all that to an extent, but also I love textile and fabric and getting dressed. I've learned through tears and typing that the thoughts will distill themselves into prose eventually, and the poignant meaning will out. My mother and I are preoccupied, in a good way, with stories and family history so somehow it seemed right and important to name this little dream of mine after them. 

So, anyway, here they are, some vintage snapshots of Augusta and Anne, some but not all of my favorites (where's the album? Buried somewhere safe where we wouldn't forget it and did anyway). These were also on the old blog at various points, but it wouldn't be the beginning without them:

Anne at Tom's River, NY circa 1948

Anne at Tom's River, NY circa 1948

Anne at Point Pleasant, NJ circa 1948

Anne at Point Pleasant, NJ circa 1948

At 48 E. 16th St., in Bayonne NJ 1946/7

At 48 E. 16th St., in Bayonne NJ 1946/7

Anne with three of her brothers late 1940s.

Anne with three of her brothers late 1940s.

Augusta at the beach, late 1940s early 1950s.

Augusta at the beach, late 1940s early 1950s.

Augusta with ice cream sandwiches and Steve (my dad!) mid 1950s.

Augusta with ice cream sandwiches and Steve (my dad!) mid 1950s.

Augusta, mid 1950s, one of many shots of her amazing legs.

Augusta, mid 1950s, one of many shots of her amazing legs.

Augusta, cheer practice at Smithtown High School, 1940s.

Augusta, cheer practice at Smithtown High School, 1940s.