Thursday, June 5, 2008

You know you are old when your prom dress is "vintage"

{Vintage '80s Gunne Sax taffeta dress, photo from Midnight Glamour}

When I think "Vintage Prom Dress", I imagine a spiffy little number from the 40s, a Dior "New Look" full-skirted, wasp-waist frock from the 50s, or a something mod or Jackie-esque from the 60s. So I am a little disturbed today to learn that my prom dress is considered "vintage". I sported the lovely black & white number above to my high school prom, only 24 years ago. While everyone else was wearing pastel prairie dresses and lace, I was pushing the ol' fashion envelope. Well, as much as one could push it, back then in the 80's, when it was already pushed pretty far. We had our prom at a very grown-up catering hall. Our theme was the power ballad of the decade, "Heaven" by Bryan Adams. The DJ used a turntable, and played records (I was tempted to link that to a wikipedia entry for all you young'uns).

Midnight Glamour sold the above dress (and no I did not buy it) for $135, pretty close to what Mumsie shelled out in 1984 at the Jordan Marsh Department Store. But let me tell you, we sure got her money's worth:

  1. Wore it to my Junior Prom in 1984.
  2. Update (June 7) Wore it to emcee "Mr. Advocate" high school pageant*
  3. Wore it to someone else's Junior Prom in 1985.
  4. Had my grandmother (a seamstress) shorten it to "tea length" and wore it to some guy's college formal at SUNY Maritime in 1986.
  5. Had grandma deconstruct it and sew the knee-length skirt to a drop waist black taffeta bodice with big puffy sleeves (please try to remember this was the 80s, people) and wore it to a formal at my college in 1987 with some guy from SUNY Maritime.
  6. Wore it to yet some other guy's college formal at SUNY Maritime in 1987 (what can I say, I liked a man in uniform).

Stopped short of a Molly Ringwald/Pretty in Pink New Wave redesign of the dress. I think it went to Goodwill after that. Adding in the cost of the additional fabric (but not for labor -- for that was priceless) and dry cleaning, the average cost per wear was about $29. Not bad, eh?

I almost wish I still had it in its original incarnation, because I still think it is pretty cute. I have no idea where the heck I would wear it though!

*The Advocate was our HS newspaper and every year we did a "pageant" as a fundraiser. The contestants were all boys. It was a lot of fun, especially the big opening dance number. We had some good sports at our school.

21 comments:

Hooked on Houses said...

Noooo! Please don't tell me we're now the "vintage era!" How can the '80s be vintage? Weren't they, like, yesterday?? This is truly frightening.

What's not frightening: this dress. Clearly you were miles ahead of me as a teen when it came to fashion. I don't think anyone would be buying my hot pink ruffled gown today. -Julia

littlebyRD said...

I love this story! I loved Gunne Sax...never did get one. The one you had was beautiful. My prom dresses were hideous. What fun memories!

pve design said...

I wish I had my Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress too that I made for my prom - I wore it with flat sandals and it was a tiny vine print, chocolate and vanilla.
I was sewing it when my date arrived. Some things never change, nor go out of Fashion but become a great vintage!
Thanks, I am hooked on the fresh paint every time I post so it looks "coordinated!" Appreciate your kind comments!

a little bird said...

ooohh, I love this dress! How interesting to see your prom dress - obviously you were a vixen ; )

diana @ please sir said...

Awww...such a cute dress - still got the style working!

A-M said...

If that image is that of your dress then I am sorry.... I still think it's fabulous. What wonderful memories. I so loved the eighties.. I still play all the music and my little boys love it. They prefer eighties music to anything... oftening humming Hewy Lewis and the News, "Power of Love" when nodding off to sleep! A-M xx

Fifi Flowers said...

hilarious! my prom dresses are in a box at my mother's house along with old diaries... I should pop over and take a peek and get a good laugh! btw... don't know if you've been tagged before or not... but I added your name to mine... sorry... just ignore it if you already did it...

knitseashore said...

Gunne Sax made the best dresses! Yours is gorgeous! I still have my senior prom dress; and it's black too (I think Gunne Sax, but am not sure).

My mom had a fit at the time, but the southern pastel hoop-skirted thing just didn't do it for me either. I love that dress, and I can still wear it, I just don't have any place to wear it to. And the elbow length gloves. Must find place to wear the gloves. Thanks for bringing back wonderful fashion memories. :)

Mrs.French said...

You are the only person I know who actually got their money's worth out of their prom dress. The hot pink, sequined number I wore lasted one night and was put away to never be seen again...and that's a good thing.

Pigtown-Design said...

I had the MOST hideous salmon pink taffeta bridesmaid dress during that time. I had someone re-make it into a formal dress.

And thanx for the memories of SUNY Mac! We used to sail against them in college.

Teal Chic said...

Robin,

I'm on your side, it's so not vintage! :)

I agree with hooked on houses, you were so ahead of your time!!!

Marie Louise said...

Hmmmm...weren't you wearing some version of that dress last night? It's a skirt now, right?

My Castle in Spain said...

Classy! and me neither, I don't really see it "vintage"
your dress looks fab..!
Have a great week end..

and thank you for your sweet comment. Much appreciated!
:-)
Lala

Jules said...

I love the dress! So not your "typical" 80's dress! I think it's fab and it's great to see how much use you got out of it.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Tat dress is fab! Oh my, you had such better taste than I did. I shrink when I think of what I wore. eeeeek........!

Robin said...

Thanks everyone for appreciating my teenage fashion sense! And I made an update here today, as I remembered a SIXTH time I wore it, (see note in red).

To all those who look back on their prom dress and shudder - take comfort that today's teenagers will probably do the same thing 20 years from now.

Knitseashore - I think those gloves are coming back, you should wear them out to dinner!

ML - that skirt was black with blue and purple flowers. You need to start wearing your glasses more. And get color tested.

Mumsie said...

Ahhhh yes, I remember the dress and it's many disguises. If any of you lovely ladies need to borrow the long black gloves, I think I still have them. "Mumsie never throws anything good away." (or so I've been told.)

Brilliant Asylum said...

Love your dress--it is so full and fabulous. My prom dress was the most 90's minimal, white Nicole Miller tank dress. Boring, but I could probably wear it to a party today (if I could dream of fitting in it).

The Nester said...

I think that is just about the classiest prom dress that I have ever seen!

Anonymous said...

this is not vintage

Kristen said...

OH MY GOSH!! This dress probably would have been the dress I would wear to my upcoming prom! It's gorgeous!! Why on earth did you give it to Goodwill????!!!!!