Thursday, June 5, 2014

$5 Silk Dress

Recently I did some thrift shopping; I wasn’t looking for anything in particular nor did I expect to find anything—but I did. It was at a thrift shop I nearly didn’t go to; I’d already had an unsuccessful shopping morning, so I was on the cusp of calling it a day but decided to stop by this last thrift shop for just a few minutes.

After finding nothing in the tops and sweater racks, I stumbled upon a Talbots navy silk dress. I love navy and it’s a very deep lovely midnight navy. I got kind of excited as I pulled it from the rack and hoped it would fit—and it does (mostly). The sleeves are short on me (and slightly damaged with a couple of snags) and the top portion is somewhat voluminous in the back, but I love the way it looks from the front—very simple. I love the stitching that goes down the front and I like the covered buttons in the back. To me, the dress is reminiscent of one from the 1930s; it’s loose in the body and more fitted in the skirt, it has kimono sleeves, a longer skirt and a more conservative overall look.

When I look at a dress like this, it makes me appreciate the craftsmanship it takes to make a garment. While I do try to sew, I’m not a great sewer, but I know enough to see when something is put together properly. The darts on this dress match perfectly. The top half and the skirt portion each have four darts in the front and back, and all align with precision. (I know when I’ve sewn some of my dresses, being even an eighth of an inch off can throw everything off.) [Pause.] I wish I could sew better. [Sigh.]

The upside and downside to this dress is that it’s silk. I love the way silk feels but I don’t really want the extra effort it takes to take care of it. I tend to avoid dry cleaning—sometimes to the detriment of the garment itself. Two items come to mind (that were never the same after I washed them in the washing machine): a silk dress that ended up with watermarks on it and a white linen-blend wide-leg pant that shrunk (about two inches in length). The dress I bought new (so that especially sucked) and the pants I bought from a thrift shop (so that sucked a bit less). At the time I hoped nothing bad would happen to them when washed, but I knew I was taking a risk. However, there have been other garments I washed (that had a dry clean only tag) that came out unscathed.

So I guess it comes down to how much you really care about the garment itself. How much care will you put in to cleaning and maintaining a garment? This silk dress only cost me $5. It wouldn’t be the end of the world to risk it in the washing machine, BUT I like it. It’d be a shame to ruin a dress I like. If I’m not too lazy, getting it dry cleaned and the sleeves altered would probably be the “smart” thing to do…

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