Since the Ladies Garden Tea was supposed to be in a garden, I had originally planned to wear one of my big pouffy 1950’s style floral dresses. However, because the party was moved indoors, I decided (for the second year in a row) that crinolines and petticoats, crowds of people and fine china don’t make the best of friends. I also decided that, even though it can be incredibly fun to dress in all your vintage finery, because I was hosting, it might be a better idea to wear a simpler style for ease of movement and comfort of the guests. This floral dress, which is so bright and vibrant that it coordinates with hardly anything else in my wardrobe, and is completely contrary to anything else I own (I was planning on creating a more cohesive wardrobe, but you know how that goes . . . ) is what I decided to wear instead. I got this dress just at the end of summer last year, and hadn’t had a chance to wear it yet, so the party was the perfect place to “debut” it. Not that anyone cares about that but me. (Do you like to save new garments for the perfect occasion?)
I got this dress last August, from a thrift store, which is where I get the majority of my clothing. It was originally listed for a lot of money. By “a lot” I mean, not only am I spoiled by the prices of buying the majority of my clothing second hand (“They want two whole dollars for this!? Oh right. . .”) but you actually could have bought a new dress, from a cheap fashion chain, for the same price, or less than this one was listed for. Oh, and the belt was missing. And, it was not from a very expensive or high quality brand. I obviously was not going to go and buy a new cheap dress instead, but it really bothers me that some thrift stores have raised their prices to a point where you actually can buy new clothes cheaper. This is so irrational, and it’s so frustrating as it just contributes to the entire cheap fashion cycle, and throwaway culture we live in. There are many people who won’t shop second hand if they can buy new clothes cheaper, and there are people who legitimately can’t afford the prices of even cheap new clothes, so where can they go for clothing if they can’t go to the thrift stores? I am not in this position, thankfully, but I expect to find lower prices at a second hand store. I think this is one of the unfortunate side effects of thrifting and vintage becoming “trendy” – so many thrift shops have become unattainable for the very people who need them, and have drifted from their original purposes. Is this something that is happening elsewhere in the world? I see it here in Canada (not in all of the thrift shops, mostly in the thrift store chains).
Anyways, that was a bit of an aside . . . so how did the dress end up in my wardrobe after all? Well, it just so happened that the day after I saw this dress, tried it on and fell in love with it, there was a 1/2 price sale. I put the dress back on the rack, fully aware that it might not be there when I returned the next day- but it was! A couple other pieces I had put back were gone, but this was was still waiting for me 🙂 And I’m so glad. It was a lovely thing to wear on a grey and dreary day, and it does have a very garden feel about it. Because it literally has flowers on it.
I would have paired it with my white shoes (the only thing in my wardrobe that matches the dress) and a straw hat (I guess that straw also matches) if we’d had it outside, but as it was held inside I was stocking-foot and hatless (scandalous!). However, for the benefit of these photos, which we took outside half an hour after the party ended, because it stopped raining (of course), I did wear the shoes. 😉
Have you ever put something back at a thrift store, and gotten it later, or did it end up being the one that got away? What would you wear to a tea party?
I am beginning to think that the second weekend of June is marked for rain. For the second year in a row now, I have planned to host a Ladies Garden Tea, in our backyard, and though we have had sun in the days leading up to, and sun in the hours and days that follow, during the hours of the party itself, it has rained. We have decided that it will now be called simply, “The Ladies Tea”, and have given up on hoping that gardens will have anything to do with it at all!
I’m not too worried about it though, because this year we planned to host it indoors, and made our preparations accordingly, so there was no last minute scramble to move the party indoors when the day dawned with grey clouds. An added benefit of holding the party indoors, is that even if it doesn’t rain, you sometimes must contend with wind, sun in your eyes, sunburn, flies in the lemonade and mosquitoes that refuse to leave you alone. By setting up the party indoors, you avoid all these problems, and you can always open the windows to let the fresh air in (and the bugs out) 🙂
We changed things around this year, (because we were thinking ahead for once) and set up the sideboard and a table along the side of the living room, so the food and drinks would be close at hand. It worked so much better, rather than having the food in the kitchen like we did last year, as people didn’t have to break up the party in order to go in search of sweets. Last year we had so many leftovers of desserts that hardly even got touched, and this year we had very few leftovers. On second thought, maybe we should have the food in the kitchen again next year; I wouldn’t have minded a few leftovers. . . 😉
Since the party was supposed to be a Garden Tea, it had to have a summery and “gardeny” feeling to it. So, the morning of the party we went in search of flowers for bouquets. Last year we had peonies, but this year the season is late and so the peonies had not started to bloom. However, we managed to catch the very last of the dark purple lilacs. Two days before the party, I thought to myself, “The lilacs are still in bloom, and should stay so until the party”, but the very next day when I looked at them again, they had started to wilt, turn brown and fall off the hedges. Only one day before the party!!! We thought that we wouldn’t be able to get any for a bouquet, but fortunately the dark purple ones still had flowers. They were falling fast though, and if you even looked at the bouquet, I think that petals were dropping off. We got two lovely bouquets though, and paired the purple flowers with Caragana branches. Caragana is a rather strange bouquet material, but I love how sculptural and fluid the bouquets turned out to be, and yellow and purple is such a lovely colour combination. For the rest of the smaller bouquets, which we placed on the tables, we gathered wildflowers and weeds, and came up with enough material to make several miniature bouquets. All in all, the room did have a rather summery and festive feeling to it, despite the rain.
And of course, the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those who attended the party! There were sixteen of us, some of whom were new acquaintances who came with friends, and we all had a lovely afternoon of tea and sweets and conversation. I can’t wait for next year!
Do you enjoy tea parties? Have you ever hosted an event? And have you ever been rained out?