So, rather than have a gush and write a long blog post on my long awaited return to the skirts of Sarah I thought I’d write a set of little frock tales and enthuse about each of the outfits in turn. Luckily I have a gorgeous one to start with that pretty much blew my mind when I finally had a chance to model it.
A bit of history, if you’ll pardon the pun of course. I wasn’t around in the 50s. I was barely around in the 70s, and even then I was around as a boy, then a man in the 80s and 90s, with the occasional drift into the girl world. So I don’t actually remember seeing ‘I Love Lucy’, but knew her only through, oddly enough, Star Trek.
Basically Lucille Ball saved Star Trek. With her husband their production company, Desilu, got Star Trek made. So kudos to her for that, at the very least. Star Trek pretty much defined my life. Yeah, a trekker as well as a retro obsessed girl.
I occasionally saw pictures of her and was always intrigued (and a little turned on for reasons I couldn’t put my finger on) with her style. She always wore the most gorgeous dresses; proper 1950s housewife style. And of course that gave me that little warm feeling I’ve been trying s hard to describe to my therapist.
Fast forward to the tail end of 2019, you know, before the world went to hell in a handbasket. The Unique Vintage fashion shop in the states did a ‘I Love Lucy’ inspired set of dresses. I thought Id have a little surf, maybe there would be something fun.
Oh Dear Lord.
The minute I saw the dress being advertised I literally fell in love with it. It was based on an exact frock worn by Lucy in one of the episodes; the flared polka-dot skirt, the shirt-like panel in the front with the cute little Peter Pan collar.
So I order one, along with a gingham house dress (I will model that next time), and it got delivered. January 2020. And I brought it to London on February 25th – it was without doubt the dress I was looking forward to wearing the most.
And then I got Covid. Or at least a viral blast of conjunctivitis, a fever, eight weeks of a cough and a tight chest. So I missed my session. And then the lockdown happened.
Not going to go over it again, but the lockdown and prohibition of beauty treatment meant my beloved dress just hung in the wardrobe for seven months. I would look at it with longing during the darkest days of the lockdown.
And then they lifted the ban on beauty treatments. And the first thing I did was head into London, driving for the first time, and got myself a couple of days of delicious Sarah time.
When it came, on the first day, to slipping into the Lucy frock I was nervous like I’d not been before. I felt that maybe this long pause of Sarah had ended my ability to be her; I’d put on weight, I’d been under a lot of stress.But putting on the dress was like turning off my cynical, sad male personality.
I had a petticoat on under it, and the dress was interesting to put on. It has press studs at the waist, just above where the skirt flares in, then a set of pearl buttons up the front, on both the polka-dot and the shirt front, with a normal button at the collar. After we’d buttoned me into the frock we tied an apron around the skirt to accentuate her hips, and i fluffed out the petticoat, sat in the famous chair, and on went the red wig.
I was literally speechless. The dress was everything I love in a retro housewife look, flared out, pretty collar, pretty cuffs. Quite heavy in a luxurious way. As I walked from the makeup studio to the photo studio I caught myself almost in tears.
It was just lovely. I felt like a 1950s housewife, a little fussy, pretty, submissive, the works. It wasn’t just a dress – I felt absorbed into the woman I was dressed as. I have never felt so, well, right.
We did some glorious photos (a lot of which are on this page), before reluctantly moving on to the next outfit. But I loved this one so much I did a second shoot the next day; in fact it was the end of the session and I spent 90 minutes doing various looks and poses. I could have worn it all night, but I knew if I did it would be next to impossible to want to come back.
Being honest? I was more comfortable in that 1950s style woman’s dress than I have ever been in male clothing. And that’s an interesting thing to think about.
Anyway, I’m enthusing too much – let’s talk about the frock.
It’s a lovely fabric, feels satin-y but isn’t. It’s not a very heavy dress but the cut and style means it hangs beautifully; you feel restrained by the top half of the dress while the combination of a petticoat and the flared skirt makes it feel like a ‘June Cleaver’ special. It would probably be a lot of fun to clean a house wearing it. It’s wide enough with the petticoat to dust everything you walk by unintentionally.
I went for a slightly too big size – using the apron to pull it in made it just right in the way it tucked in. The shirt facade at the front felt like silk, the combination of the silk and satin textures a delight on the skin.
This dress will be a permanent part of my wardrobe. I’m very, very tempted to hire an apartment in London and do a 1950s housewife shoot where I can make a bed, cook a meal, tidy up, all while swishing around as Lucille Ball. That would be…..sublime.
Anyway, lots of other outfits to blog about but this was easily my favourite.
Stay beautiful and remember that if your body gives you that delicious little hot feeling listen to it. It knows best….