Show off that neglected vintage slip

This fuchsia-colored vintage slip helps embellish the neckline of a kara-line wrap dress.

This fuchsia-colored vintage slip helps embellish the neckline of a kara-line wrap dress.

A vintage slip’s femininity and simplicity are easy to admire and hard to resist. However, its practicality was, in my mind, largely in question until last weekend when I paid a visit to Portland’s N.E. Alberta Street, a local fashion design hotspot.

My coral-colored vintage slip, made of lace and nylon, dated back to nearly six years ago when I first moved to Southern Oregon. I picked it up at the Ashland Goodwill. My intention was to don it as a nightgown, but that idea never materialized. I moved into an apartment in Ashland without air conditioning or adequate heating, so it was too hot in the summer to wear a nylon slip to bed and too cold for the slip during the rest of the year.

Finally last summer, I sent the slip back to where it came from. Until the very end when I deposited the slip in a donation receptacle back at the Goodwill, I admired the lovely little thing with a tinge of sadness. But a girl has to make room in her closet for something she can actually wear.

Last week when I was scouting out local designers on N.E. Alberta, I saw an ensemble in the Tumbleweed Boutique window that made me think of my coral-colored cast-off. It was a similar vintage slip, this one in a fuchsia color, but it had been used as an eye-catching camisole and hemline embellishment beneath a $158 heather gray wrap dress designed by Portland designer Kara Larson. The vintage-inspired dressed in the “kara-line” are a good match for a vintage slip. Tumbleweed carries kara-line and other designer lines, including Glam Garb, maker of the hand-dyed fuchsia slip. Glam Garb owner Gunlis, who is originally from Sweden, peruses second-hand shops in her home country to find plain vintage slips and hand dyes them in her Odessa home in a variety of bright hues. The slips are available at Tumbleweed for $60 apiece or on Glam Garb’s website.

If you’d like to try out the idea and don’t already have a vintage slip, you can support a local designer by buying a Glam Garb slip. With some luck, you might also find one at your local second-hand shop. Next, pair with a dress that you will allow you to show off the slip’s beautiful lace accents.

This style has swept over Portland. A little later while browsing a children’s store, I noticed another woman wearing a vintage slip under a dress in the same style.

But here’s a word of caution: don’t expect every generation to recognize this ensemble as a viable fashion statement.

“I wore one of the slips with a dress, and on my way to work, a little old man on the bus said, ‘Ma’am, your slip is showing,’” said Tumbleweed employee Susan Lutjen. “I said, ‘Oh, thank you’ and tucked the slip under me for the rest of the ride. I didn’t try to explain it to him.”

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    Paris Achen

    Paris Achen writes stories about fashion and education with the motto that a frugal fashionista must be a well-educated one. Her blog weaves together commentary on fashion, beauty and fun, frugal tips on how to net the looks on the catwalk. You ... Read Full
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