Saturday, June 8, 2013

Love Letter to a $4 Vintage Peplum Dress

$4 vintage find: vintage 80s does 40s black velvet peplum dress

Dear $4 vintage dress,

We've been through a lot together in the past 12 years and you've always stuck by me. I remember the first time I saw you squeezed on the back of a rack in Cambridge's Garment District thrift store. I was running my hands across the rack looking for something bright and pink or orange, but your soft velvet burnout caught my attention.

And then there was your neat little 80s-does-40s peplum, and your adorable little front bow. And you know I can't resist a sweetheart neckline...

$4 vintage find: 80s does 40s black velvet peplum dress

You were the perfect combination of structure and comfort, with your boned front bodice and your super-stretchy elastic shirred back. Really, you're everything I could want in a dress:

$4 vintage find: 80s does 40s black velvet peplum dress: Back shirring view

Thanks to that shirred back, you've survived many a closet purge over the years. My weight has gone up and down, but you almost ALWAYS fit.

You make me feel glamorous and put together and thrifty all at once. You've accompanied me to many a dance over the years, and even a Zombie Purim party (sorry about the fake blood, but it washed out):

Mikhaela & Mary dressed for the Zombie Purim party

Plus, even though I got you second-hand you were originally union made in the USA (thanks International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union!)

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for coming with me to my college reunion last weekend. It was my 33rd birthday and I was grumpy about spending it back at Harvard and I barely saw anyone I knew (that's what I get for taking a semester off and graduating with the class behind me!) and I soon realized why velvet dresses aren't generally worn on 90-degree summer days ... but I had so much fun getting dressed up and dancing with my husband in his rented tuxedo.

$4 vintage find: 80s does 40s black velvet peplum dress

Love and kisses,

P.S. You are so hard to photograph, dear dress—but that's the black velvet I suppose. Here you are in an overexposed shot for more clarity:

$4 vintage find: 80s does 40s black velvet peplum dress

--Black velvet strapless sweetheart peplum dress, vintage--
--Fake pearl necklace my mom and I both wore to our weddings--
--Vaneli silver leather strappy sandals, bought for my wedding in 2007 (similar here)--
--Pleated silvery gray clutch, now covered in cranberry juice stains thanks to a drunken reunion attendee (similarish)--

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the ready-to-wear hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for (and quite likely spent on yarn or fabric).


  1. You look beautiful, what a great dress!

  2. You look stunning!! What a fabulous dress and for $4?! Amazing!

    And, wow! Did not know that you are a Harvard grad. Wow! Impressive!

  3. You look lovely! I have fond memories of the Garment District...

    1. Did you ever go to the Dollar a Pound? That was my favorite... I used to take the train in and dig through that room with my friends in high school...

  4. Cute dress! It's great when you can love and wear something to so many occasions!

    Off subject, but why don't you just go to the reunion of the class you "feel like" you belong to? I graduated a semester early, but go to the class reunions of the year I started with, instead of the one I graduated with. I am closer to that group, having gone through more with them.

  5. Wow, what an awesome dres (and for $4?!?!?!?!)! Amazing!

  6. What a beautiful dress!! this was a great shop, just $4 usd, and you have worn many times!


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