Despite it sounding rather ominous, the word “Deadstock” is absolute music to my ears… In your vintage travels, should you see the word deadstock used to refer to a garment, it means one that, despite it’s age, has never been worn and very likely never even tried on. It may even be in its original packaging with the tags still attached. This type of garment is an absolute rarity, and I treat it with a reverence otherwise reserved for a pair of Louboutins at 75% off.
I remember when I first saw this deadstock 1950’s Kerrybrooke dress I was literally powerless to resist her – as though vintage has some magic pull from the past (that’s how it’s rationalized in my head anyway). She’d been kept in the perfect time capsule, in all her border printed glory, carried all the way through the past 60 years and straight into my vintage loving arms. I have a collection of vintage tags from dresses like this one that I hold safe in a keepsake box, like a pile of well-loved memories, to always remind me of their journey.
I know a lot of people who consider wearing deadstock to be somewhat sacrilegious – as if something pure and pristine should stay in a locked case, far away from prying eyes and sticky fingers. I definitely can agree that some things should stay untouched (particularly when it comes to the sticky fingers part), but it’s almost a greater tragedy to never give a dress like this her day in the sun. Why deny yourself happiness and save things for a special occasion that may never actually come to pass? Why can’t today be a special occasion?
I may be among the minority, but I feel that life is just too short to keep the tags on. To be waiting. To hang a dress on the back of your door and step back and admire her as if she will break, instead of taking her out for a spin. It’s too short to leave those sparkly diamond earrings hidden in the drawer to tarnish because you’re saving them for a special occasion. There will always be a future station, a future figure on the scale you aspire to, a future perfect you’re waiting for. But, wouldn’t it be the perfect day to don that fabulous dress, let those earrings sparkle in the sun and cast rainbows from your lobes, and smile with gratitude at the fabulous body that carries your heart with such care and reverence – not “as soon as”, but right now?
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
I think I needed this deadstock 1950’s border print dress to remind me not to keep myself tucked away on a shelf either. In science we’re told to work harder, work longer, publish more. We often sacrifice our families for success and told to wear the lack of self-celebration as some sort of badge of honor. But, I don’t think that’s going to help me be a better scientist – I think it’s about having a balance in your life. Taking the time to work towards achieving a work goal is just as important as taking the time to dance in the grass with your sweet pup.
My job is incredibly important to me and I love it, but I never want to lose perspective. I don’t want to enjoy life after I publish “just one more paper” or decide to postpone dinner with my husband each night so I can take just one more meeting. I don’t want to be so busy and focused on academic success that I leave beautiful dresses like this, untouched and hanging in my closet, with the tags still on, for me to pass on someday for someone else to enjoy. I want to take the time to enjoy it now.
So today I stopped to smell the flowers. I chose to be fifteen minutes late so I could frolic in the park for a while. I cut the tags off.
Go forth. Carpe that diem.
Dress: Capsule Vintage (similar modern and vintage here, here, here & here)
Necklace: When Decades Collide (similar here & here)
Bag: Vintage (similar modern or vintage here & here)
Shoes: Enzo Angiolini (similar here, here, & here)