Monday, December 23, 2013

Hostess With the Mostest

This is going to be my last Vintage Christmas-themed post - I've missed a couple of days, but I knew that planning to post every day for twelve days was just setting myself up for failure.  I think I made a pretty good effort though, and I hope that I provided some food for thought when it came to your Christmas gift list.   I can't stress enough how important it is to support our small independent businesses - they are the heart of a city, not the big box stores that dominate the suburban landscape.  It's where you get to know the owner, and you know you can drop in and have a chat about the latest film, book, band, or piece of vintage finery that has caught your fancy, and there is no pressure to buy something unless that's your goal.  They also know their stock, so if you are looking for something specific, they can tell you whether they have it or not, without you having to waste time wandering miles of aisles in search of a particular item, or sales staff.  Yes, you may have to pay a little more, but you are paying for service, knowledge, and a human connection, which are all too rare in today's retail market. 

So....What are you wearing to host your Christmas dinner/party/cocktails? 

How about a butter yellow sleeveless maxi dress with flowered over-jacket (or whatever you call it).  This is not technically a Hostess Dress, which tended to be rather billowy maxi-dresses, with impractical sleeves, and had nothing to do whatsoever with cooking.  The New York Times had an interesting article on the history and evolution of Hostess dresses which you can read here.   Dress from Jackpot Vintage.

I love rows of covered buttons on dresses, even if they are a pain in the ass to fasten

In the 60's and 70's, the job of the hostess was to look pretty and keep their guests full of food and drink (Crab Nippie, anyone?)  We can retire the idea of women as "attractive servant" when it comes to Holiday parties, but sometimes it's kind of fun to channel your inner retro hostess.

Quilted, front-snaps, vibrant colours and POCKETS!   Hostess skirt available at Lovesick.

And then, there is the dress for the occasion when you want to make a spectacular statement and are not afraid of being the center of attention.....

Holy Sequinned Awesomeness Batman!  If this dress was my size, I would have definitely tried it on, but it is about a 4/6, so there is no way it would fit me.  On the right woman, it is going to make jaws drop, and you would not be expected to serve anyone drinks or food while wearing this.   Dress available at The Sentimentalist, and yes, there is just one.

detail of bird pattern on dress

As for me, I will be wearing a blinged-out sweater of my own creation (thanks to Value Village, and their "create your own Christmas sweater" display).  I'll be sure to post a photo of the results.   

If I don't have a chance to post tomorrow, I want to wish all of my readers, and blogging sisters, a very Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate).   Your comments and support over the last 4 1/2 years have been an unexpected and very welcomed source of cheer and inspiration at times when both have been in short supply.  May you have a roof over your head, food on your table, loved ones to laugh and cry with, and an outfit that makes you feel fucking fabulous.


  1. All gorg picks, Shelley! That first dress is stunning, and i have been stalking a quilted skirt like that that on Etsy. I have enjoyed your recent posts, though I haven't commented on them all. Meant to say, those fur jackets are divine. Jackpot Vintage looks like my kind of place. Alas, I'll be wearing jeans, a sweater and Uggs for the holidays. Not very glam over here, but very Alpine chic, me hopes. Please s show us what you look like in all your finery. Happiest of holidays to you and yours. Xo

  2. Amen to that, Shelley! I am lucky enough to tick all those boxes this Christmas, and that's all I need.
    Although that quilted skirt would be nice... As would both dresses, come to that! Ahhh, such great choices, I love the idea of swanning around in something hostessy while offering my guests crab nippies and cocktails (made by the hired help, of course!) As it is, I'll be cooking the dinner myself on Christmas day, but that's OK, I quite enjoy it really!
    Have a fabulous Christmas, Shelley. xxxxx

  3. that sequin dress must weigh a ton. It's so beautiful. No clue what I'll wear at our Christmas diner. I might remember to change into something after I'm done cooking.

  4. That sequinned dress is stunning! I love hostess dresses and wore my own version this past weekend (a more restrained 70s version!). I've been working at shopping locally for all my gifts (and myself), thank you for the timely reminder! Merry Christmas, Shelley!

  5. Ooo, covered buttons, quilting, and sequins - my favourites! Marvellous picks, Shelley, and an ultra-glamorous holiday season to you!!!

  6. My goodness, that first dress is, gulp. I could surely serve lovely nippies in that. Now I want to go to a party, but, sadly, there are none in my planner - oops, I don't even have a planner...
    I look forward to seeing your DIY sweater.
    I'm so glad we had this time together (sung Ms. Burnett style), Shelley. You've added a whole lot of diva to my year, especially VOGOFF. Here's to more laughs and style during the holidays.

  7. Dear lord those frocks are fabulous! I love that sequined number, ion fact i have pants to match!
    Well done on providing so much gift inspiration and for reminding us to shop locally and support small, ethical businesses. Have a fab time whatever you wear! xxx

  8. Fabulous vintage picks!!!!!!! Love the reminder to shop local & small!

  9. Great post! Love the sequin number from The Sentimentalist. Ah to be a size 4/6! Merry, merry & happy, happy to you and Fred!
    Jean & Valerie

  10. Hi Shelley!
    How are you doing- Hope you had a nice Christmas!
    Love your choices, those dresses are wonderful but unpractical!
    The sequin dress is something else, ya! I guess you would be the center of attention!
    One more to go and then it's finished, not a big fan of all this, but they all like it here -
    The best part for me was when we served breakfast to the homeless men where D works, that's was worth while -

    Keep warm, lots of snow here too, Gee! it's apocalyptic here!