I never really got to the story about the lost dress, did I? Well, in case you missed it on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or wherever else it lives on the internet, it starts like this: I made sure there was some time set aside on our Honolulu trip for Chinatown.
Home of Barrio Vintage and Roberta Oaks, lei stand after lei stand (each one more intoxicatingly fragrant than the last), and fantastic food and drink at places like Lucky Belly or The Manifest, with sweet treats unlike any other at award-winning bean-to-bar Madre Chocolate or Wing Ice Cream.
Needless to say, you could hang out there for a few days and still not be bored or have explored every nook and cranny, which is pretty impressive, if you ask me. The good folks at Barrio Vintage sent me off with the treasures I found, some nearby recommendations, and a few new Instagram pals. One of the treasures was a bold and pretty vintage Hawaiian sundress.
I wore it almost immediately the next day to brunch and on our Tradewinds catamaran ride. It got soaked and the sun and saltwater and sand all plotted against my poor J. Crew mini-wedges in a soft Italian gold leather, which promptly came apart, forcing me to walk the mile or so back to our hotel room barefoot. That's truly not a big deal, especially not around the Waikiki beaches, so we just strolled in the sand, making a pit stop at Duke's Barefoot Bar because MAI TAIS.
At some point on the way home, I stripped off the dress for a quick swim, and M watched me from the beach. She was left in charge of my stuff, INCLUDING THE DRESS, while I tried in vain to climb out of the water onto a seawall so that the waves could come and knock me off of it. (Trust me, it looked like a blast.) When I got back to shore, as breathless and invigorated as a Hemingway character after a dip with an amorous, newly shorn tomboy, M handed me my stuff and off we went, toes in the hot sand, chattering away happily.
Once the sun dried some of the saltwater off and we were almost to the hotel, I looked for the dress. "Where's my dress?" I asked, and M just kind of raised her eyebrows in the half-amused, half-guilty look a child gets when they've done something terrible. "Where's my dress?" I repeated, and she goes, "That's a good question," cringing, but still deeply amused and kind of sorry but more entertained than anything else. We both knew going back for it would be pointless, it either blew away into the street or the sea or had been plucked up by some lucky soul who found it and was like, "SCORE!" I threatened to wring her neck and pointed a finger at her: "DARN YOU, YOU OWE ME A DRESS."
That's kind of a long story, but the point is this is the replacement dress! Not even a little Hawaiian, not even a sundress, but a total gem nonetheless. This one came from somewhere a lot more local, a boutique called Rare Bird that carries local and vintage wares up in my old neck of the woods, Piedmont Avenue. Ta-da!
Secretary dresses are great, go-anywhere dresses that can dialed up or down in the work-appropriate department. Masters of that whole "day-to-night" thing all the fashion magazines talked about when I was growing up (they don't still do that, I don't think). The palette and pleating make this dress for me: soothing, creamy shades from the 60s with beautiful elongated knife pleats creating the soft faux wrap-front neckline and in the skirt.
The great big leather belt is Steven by Steve Madden (go figure), the bag is Dune London from Asos and yay, you can actually see my Dolce Vita sandals in this one! I've put my Low Luv x Erin Wasson pony leg on a gold chain and switched a cool, one-of-a-kind coin pendant with a horse to another long chain for perfect layering.
Godspeed this Monday, kittens!