Ranunculus Neckline Dress

Lately when I try to make things easier they get harder. It’s not really a knack that endears me to me, but it does make for extra delight when plans trundle past intended mileposts instead of making sharp U-turns into oncoming traffic.

So let me keep this short and fairly sweet….

First, I met some fabric. Then, I met a woman intrigued by my desire to merge a simple wool jersey dress with a dramatic collar. I mentioned “1940s” and “draped” and “rouched.” From there the Affable Experimenter came up with an interpretation that reminds me of the gorgeous Persian buttercup (aka ranunculus asiaticus):

After much patient experimentation, a local dressmaker succeeded in topping a wool jersey dress with a ranunculus-like neckline

Although I certainly see a connection to the soft swoops of fabric so prevalent in vintage clothing. And to dimensional dresses worn by not-so-vintage sirens.

With the help of my creative collaborator, I’d say I ended up with a dress that’s 1 part 40s Vogue : 1 part Katy Perry

While my Contrarian Classicist side influenced the design from start to finish, adding a few shiny accessories makes it simple to get buy-off from my Minimalist Magpie side. When the dress is worn on its own, all it takes is a little patent:

Long sleeves and a staid length meet up with patent platform peeptoe heels…

and also pair with highly walkable boots that have their own take on platform + patent (via a tough-to-see shiny heel)

But adding a matching jersey tube that lightly cinches the waist and upper hip area makes the perfect backdrop for an off-the-clock chain belt:

A removable tube of matching wool jersey lets me create more waist definition (and provides a handy backdrop for a chain belt once I’m off the clock)

As with most of my custom projects, the Affable Experimenter and I had to do some problem-solving here and there; overall, though, the whole process was so smooth I may be in withdrawal from “complicated.” Could that be why the highly impractical cape below seems so appealing?

A 1955 cover line touts bulk against slimness—and makes it mighty tempting to add another charcoal item to my closet

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6 Responses

  1. LOVE that neckline, just gorgeous!! I’d want to wear that Vogue cape too, though it would probably swallow me….

    • Hi Pseu—

      Glad you share my love! I’d like to think you and I could both wear the cape if its details were scaled down for our heights. I’ve seen you carry off bolder things!

  2. Oh My My, You are a 50’s GIRL!!! The dress looks divine and uptown for sure and where did you get those pumps??? I want a pair just like them!!!! And you could pull off the cape with gloves and then move to New York!!!!!!!!! We have to go shopping for shoes!!!!

    • Hi “Someone” aka Ms Gilded Lily (your exclamation marks gave you away!)—

      Thank you much! I felt deceptively classy in it, ha. The shoes are a comfort brand: Sofft, and these are the Ramona IIRC.

  3. I really love the neckline – interesting, but not so much it would be tricky to eat soup :) Whatever the detail is at the hem, I like that too.
    You should offer guided tours of your closet – I’d pay for a peek!

    • Pauline—

      Ha: exactly! As a big scarf wearer, I’m always flipping the ends out of the way before daring soup. Glad you like the hem detail too. I resisted the urge to overcomplicate with several smaller bands at the bottom but it was a little tough.

      And hey, I thought these wardrobe posts WERE a guided tour of my closet (and my psyche)….

      Since my actual closet is a tiny old-house one, I’m afraid you’d wouldn’t be riveted to your screen with excitement. [The underbed storage, now, woohoooooo.]

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