Recently, I was on a bit of a whirlwind trip around the States, for work, then play, then work again. When I travel, as I’m sure is true for most of us, I like to bring my favorite things: The dress you always feel amazing in, my go-to shoes that go with everything (and never cause blisters), my most essential toiletries. I pack the things that are so much part of my life that they’re almost an extension of me.
Then (of course), traveling means shopping. It means novel, undiscovered vintage stores. It means shiny newness that is packed in glossy bags, ready and waiting to be introduced to the rest of your wardrobe.
And then comes their nemesis: Airline Baggage Services.
You hand over your most precious goods, hoping and praying that after it disappears around the bend, into the great belly of the airplane beast, you’ll see it again.
For me, the most terrifying part of any trip is that moment when you stumble off the plane, jet lagged and disoriented, and wait patiently at baggage claim. Hoping fervently that your bag will emerge. I’ve traveled a fair bit and have had more than my fair share of waiting to no avail – bag is delayed. Bag is lost. Do whatever luggage-dance you like, the bag full of vintage and necessary toiletries ain’t coming out to greet you. I once had my bags lost just prior to a conference, where I had to attend a Board Meeting the next day in my airplane clothes (which included jeans and a beetle-print t-shirt), scrubbed senseless with hand soap in my hotel bathroom sink the night before and dried with a hair dryer…
On my most recent trip, I scored several stunning new vintage pieces, such that my closet had never seen. One was this amazing silk off shoulder 1950’s dress, embroidered with green and cream flowers. I slipped her on in Trove Vintage Boutique and got that feeling. You know the one: where you zip it up and it hugs you so perfectly that you know you will throat punch anyone who even thinks about taking her from you? Yeah. That kind of perfect.
And thus, I packaged her with great care in my suitcase, tucked between my softest pajamas and a few t-shirts that would cushion the blow should the bag be handled roughly or take the hit should a shampoo bottle dare open. I handed her over to an airline attendant, at the start of a 36+ hour journey. And on the other end, in Melbourne, I had the dreaded experience we all lie awake at night and fear: The Case of the Missing Luggage.
Here’s how this story went down:
Chapter 1 : Exhausted, travel-worn heroine treks around the US for 5 weeks
Chapter 2 : Intrepid traveler journeys home. 36 hours over land and sea, with nothing to eat but airplane fare.
Chapter 3 : Balefully waits in Melbourne for her luggage to appear, only to watch the carousel rotate and play the mournful swan song of lost baggage.
Chapter 4 : Approaches the baggage services desk with trepidation and told it would be on the next flight in. Given a card with a case number and a “buck up little camper” expression, and she trudges on toward home.
Chapter 5 : Awakes the next morning with renewed hope. After tracking her case online, told they HAVENT BEEN LOCATED YET. Cries woefully. MY VINTAGE.
Chapter 6 : Calls the airline for several days with no news. Still have no idea where my bags are or if they will ever return. She becomes wan and pale from her vigil.
Chapter 7 : The phone rings at 9:30pm. She barely dares to hope…. My luggage has been found! They could deliver that night but thought it best to wait until a civilized hour. Would 6:30am suffice? (Ummmm in what universe is that a civilized hour??) I hardly care. The lost has been found!
Chapter 8 : The hopeful sounds of the airline delivery truck chugging up my driveway. I dash to the window, daring to hope.
Chapter 9 : Reunited. A tear escapes. Credits roll. Music swells. I roll my wheelie bag off into the sunset….
Seriously, can you imagine if this dress was LOST??? Lost in a sea of forgotten luggage. Of old t-shirts and dirty socks and half-empty cans of shaving cream. Tossed aside without even realizing the value that lay within. I shudder to even imagine it.
Much like anything else, I try to have faith in happy endings – the power of positive thinking and all that. That things that are meant to be ours will return to us. We can’t always be in control (which is not an easy thing for me to get used to, lover of control that I am). And sometimes the case goes cold and the mystery is never solved. But luckily for everyone, Baggage Services was spared a world of hurt, as this beauty found her way home to me.
Elementary, my dear…
Dress: Trove Vintage (similar modern and vintage here, here & here)
Bracelet: Wear it Again Sam (similar here & here)
Belt: Alannah Hill (similar)
Handbag: Second Seed Vintage (similar here & here)
Shoes: Manolo Blanik, thrifted (similar here & here)