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Suit, 1914-1918. MMA

Suit, 1914-1918. MMA

Yes, I am as shallow as stereotypes might suggest: I see shoes, I often want shoes. Even my current co-workers know about the red leather Cuban-heeledAdrienne Vittadini pumps I passed up when they were on post-Christmas sale at Marshall Field’s way back in the Dark Ages. They would have gone nicely with this red wool suit from the Met.

There’s a Steam Railway in Essex, CT and when we went on Staff Day, we were told the train car was from 1914, an excellent year for fashion–at least before that August. It seemed like a great plan: make 1914 clothes and ride the train again next fall, possibly carrying vintage luggage or a basket with a delicious picnic. Really, who’s in? Let’s book it!

The World War I era has fascinated me for a long time, from Vera Brittain to Siegfried Sassoon,  from Wobblies (perhaps because I grew up in Chicago) to war memorials, so the Steam Train Outing in Period Dress was particularly tempting, and I started a board for early 20th century costume. Downton Abbey fans will enjoy it, too, and while I tired of Swedish murders and finally caved to Downton’s charms, my film choice for the period is Testament of Youth.

Libby Hall Dog Photo from flickr

When I saw the American Duchess pre-order for Gibson shoes, I was sorely tempted. (They’re quite similar to what the lady on the right is wearing.) Fortunately, I am saved by my pedal extremities, for which my size is not yet available.

But what really holds me back is the thought of sewing the corset. It’s like the hip surgery I don’t want to have: I know how painful it is, and how inescapable. There is no way to properly dress in the past unless you do it from the skin out. But shoes–and those fantastic Edwardian hats–might just get me to make that corset. Shallow, isn’t it?