Back to black?
Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 03:39PM
Joyatri in Fashion, India, black, thifting, vintage fashion

I used to wear a lot of black. About 10 years ago, I embraced color. After experiencing the overload of color, noise, smells and general liveliness of Indian cities, Boston seemed to be a ghost town in black and white. (A friend moved back to Boston after several years in Spain. Used to smartly dressed Spaniards, he told me that it looked like everyone in Boston was wearing pajamas.)

I picked up these two black dresses at the thrift store the other day. I’m not sure if they’re keepers.

Here I look like a prim governess. This late 1960s was made by a local dress shop. It has a hand-stitched label: Signed by Gertrude Frank, Brookline. Of black polyester crepe with princess seams, the style is flattering. But even with the white ruffles at the collar and cuffs, I’m thinking it's too severe. Granted I only accessorized it with an Arts and Crafts, Ruskin-style ceramic and silver brooch (marked ‘Kensington Art Ware') and Victorian gold and black enamel bracelet.

And what is with tight sleeves in vintage clothes. My arms are probably the thinnest part on me, but the sleeves from the elbow down are so tight I can barely move. I noticed with my vintage Wallis jacket that the buttoned cuffs are quite snug, even though I have freakishly tiny wrists with a circumference of 5 inches. Luckily this Victorian bracelet fits me perfectly.

The other dress is a maxi dress with a black knit bodice and a brown and white polyester skirt and belt. The high collar and cuffs have black and white snowflake-pattern trim. Even though the dress fits beautifully, I don’t why the maker (it’s homemade) combined the brown and white floral and geometric patchwork print of the skirt with a Nordic black and white trim. Kind of ugly, no?

I'm not sure even the right accessories will save either of these dresses.

Article originally appeared on (
See website for complete article licensing information.