Say you find a vintage dress. It's 60+ years old, beautifully preserved, and a style that you've been wanting to get for a while. Vintage is expensive these days, so you do most of your shopping online, where you have more to choose from and can find better deals. The only problem with that is that sometimes, there's a measurement you didn't think to check, and that amazing dress (or skirt, or pair of pants, or whatever) just doesn't fit.
So what the hell do you do? You bought it off of Etsy or eBay or whatever, and the item is as described, so unless you want to sell it, you're stuck with it. Unless, of course, you decide to grab a pair of scissors and start hacking until you end up with something you like.
Ok, I'm exaggerating slightly, but that's pretty much what happened to me with the last dress that I purchased.
When I moved about six weeks ago, the box containing one of my favorite dresses was lost in transit.
RIP, dear friend. You made me feel like the coolest waitress, and I hope someone finds you and loves you.
The only thing that could assuage my grief, terrible though it was, was finding a replacement. Navy blue, preferably with some sort of neck tie. I love the shirt dress style, but I'd been thinking about nautical inspired gear for a while, and when one of my favorite eBayers and Instagramers, Lady Jane Vintage, posted this gem, I placed a bid and crossed my fingers.
And I won! I practically squealed with excitement when I ripped open the package, because this dress is seriously freaking cute. I went to put it on, and... oof. So tight. So very, very tight. The waist was fine, a little high; the chest seemed really small until I realized that maybe I didn't need my Boobs McGee turbo-powered padded bra and switched to something without padding. I'm broad shouldered, though, with pretty muscular arms, and the sleeves were so tight that when I went to take it off, I spent a good five minutes with the dress inside out over my head, stuck.
I don't usually like to seriously alter my vintage, particularly pieces like this one that are in really good shape. However, it just wasn't wearable for me the way that it was, and I really wanted to wear the damn thing. With a little bit of trepidation, I grabbed a pair of scissors and snipped off the sleeves.
I'm going to have to go to a tailor to get it fixed up nicely, but I'm actually pretty happy about what I did. I felt kind of anxious about cutting the sleeves off, since it's irreversible and would probably put a significant dent in the value of the dress if I ever want to sell it. Still, it's a relief to come to the realization that while vintage is precious, they're also clothes, and they're meant to be worn. If I hadn't done this, it would have probably been left to languish in my closet.
So, who thinks I'm a philistine for chopping up a nice piece of vintage? And who's wondering what I'm making such a fuss about ("come on, lady, you took off the sleeves. It's not like you hacked it up to make dish rags.")? I have to admit, this has kind of changed my attitude towards vintage a little bit. It's still special, and I'm still probably going to treat my vintage pieces more nicely than the rest of my wardrobe, but it's freeing to realize that I can really do whatever I need to do to it to make it my own.