Friday, May 8, 2009

Montenegro or Bust: tales of a Red Dress

A Recessionista's tale of shopping thrift, and experiments in fashion design. Part 1.

I was at the used clothing store yesterday, browsing the aisles in search of a new dress or shirt to inaugurate the warming weather. Or at least that was the reason I was telling myself. Closer to the truth was that after recently watching the newest Casino Royale and seriously coveting every wardrobe piece that Eva Green's character wore (do you know what I'm talking about? the amethyst ball gown? the emerald green day dress? the red chiffon wrap dress?), I was looking to mimic her taste. Or perhaps mimic the lifestyle of Vesper and Bond, attending elegant evening affairs or traipsing around in coastal resorts. Alas, in lieu of said elegant living (have I mentioned that I reside in Colorado? One of the most casual places in all of the world?), I decided to keep my eye out for something red and swishy rather than satin and sparkle. And after searching the racks, I came across a red knit dress that might, perhaps, do the trick.

Carrying it into the fitting room, I quickly discovered that flattering it was, but swishy it was not. In fact, the fit was nearly perfect, but the fabric Clingy as in "I need to buy a pair of Spanx in order to wear this out in public." Now I'm all for snug, but this was too snug. Besides, how was I going to pretend I was swishing around in Venice with James at my side when my dress was creeping up my backside? So I sadly took it off and tried on some other things.

Too Good to Pass Up?
But while stepping into a polka dot vintage housewife number, and a magenta strapless dress, I couldn't help but think that maybe the red dress was too good to pass up. I mean, with a quarter of an inch added to the seams, and a different fabric, it could be perfect. Perfect as in bringing-a-piece-of-Montenegro-to-my-Colorado-life perfect. Besides, I had been to my usual shopping stops in search of a dress like this only to find the floor length beach bohemian types that are popular this year. I did not want to be a beach bohemian. I wanted to be Vesper--world traveller and companion of rugged spies.

In Pieces...
So, in Pretty in Pink fashion, I channeled Molly Ringwald's wrong-side-of-the-tracks sensibility and bought the dress for $12, brought it home, and promptly cut it apart with my fabric shears. Where it now lays, in pieces, on my floor. My plan, naturally, is to use the pieces as a pattern for a new dress. Red, of course.

Join me next week to see how my weekend sewing project turns out...

Previous Recessionista Posts:
A Thrifty Success!
The New Midas Touch
Vintage Green

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