Brown velvet Frank Palma vintage hat: etsy seller Nostalgia Vintage
Brown and white plastic cameo earrings: Handmade by me
Vintage aqua plastic bead necklace: Salvation Army thrift store
1950s paisley dress: etsy seller Firefly Vintage
Royal blue skinny belt: eBay
Bangle bracelets: Assorted sources
Vintage maroon gloves with buttons: etsy seller Antiqueelegance
1950s corduroy bucket purse: etsy seller Rue 23 Vintage Clothing
Teal tights: (New stock) Value Village
Dark brown faux letter heels: Pipsqueaks and Damsels Consignment Store
Lip colour: MAC Diva
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
When one thinks of the swirling droplet-like motif that is paisley, chances are the decade that springs to your mind first and foremost is the 1960s. Indeed, this almost hypnotic pattern, which can trace its roots back to the Sassanid Dynasty of ancient Iran (beginning nearly 1,800 years ago), was highly popular during the era that saw the Summer of Love and fashion designs that were often heavily influenced by classic ethnic sources. However, it was in use long before then in the western world, and though you may have to dig a bit harder, it's not impossible to find pre-1960s paisley print garments.
I have always, always loved paisley. When I close my eyes and think back to my first introductions to this intricate pattern, I see men's ties and a richly woven scarf my mom had in the 80s, as well some of the ensembles worn by musicians, fittingly enough, on the covers of a few of my parents classic folk and rock albums from the swinging sixties.
Paisley can come in all kinds of sizes and colours, it's kaleidoscopic like swoops dancing across the fabric, beckoning one to fall under its enchanting spell. I own two 1950s dresses, both so strikingly similar actually that I'd debated selling off one or the other, but can never bring myself do to it, knowing full well that pre-60s paisley don't come along in my size (and price range) everyday. Aside from a similar colour palette, paisley size, and tailoring, these dresses both also share in common the fact that they're a touch too big for me. No matter though, that's nothing a handy-dandy belt (in this case a matching royal blue one) can't help take care of in the blink of an eye.
As you may recall from earlier vintage outfit posts this year (such as this one), Tony and I have been on an ongoing mission to try and find a decent place to shot indoor outfit snaps (for those days when the weather just does not want to cooperate outside) in a house with very little natural light and few blank walls/suitable spots.
To date, I think these shots have probably been the the best of the locations we've tried. They were taken in our basement using the wall against the staircase, which is part of my craft room, as our backdrop. It was already evening when we took these snaps a few weeks ago (before popping over for a visit at my mom's house), so we used the lighting in the room and Tony's Canon flash to help illuminate them. They've not perfect, but hey, they document what I was wearing, which is the key thing, and I really don't mind the lighting in the upper-body-only photos.
I was in the mood for a riot of colour that day, so I partnered some teal tights with this bold paisley dress, as well as a fun vintage plastic bead necklace, handmade cameo earrings, some bangles (natch!), my beloved (and often worn) maroon gloves (last seen in my Valentine's Day outfit) and 1950s corduroy bucket purse, a vintage brown velvet hat, and a pair of brown heels. It was a fun, fairly warm (important as it was cold and snowy that day) ensemble and one that finally gave me a chance to photograph one of my much adored vintage paisley dresses.
My eyes are always peeled for 1940s or 50s paisley whether I'm window shopping online or thrifting in person. I've found two dresses so far and like to think other pieces featuring this eye-catching pattern will join my closet over the course of time.
Paisley don't get anywhere near the pre-sixties play of, say, polka dots, leopard print, florals or even novelty prints, but - prone to cheering for the underdog as I am - some how that just makes me love, and want to wear it, it all the more.
What can I say, like the title of today's post proclaims, I have a passion for paisley! :)