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spring leslie fay 2

I snagged this flawless vintage dress a few weeks ago at Queen Bee Vintage, without even trying it on—a celebration of spring dress!

zipperJudging from its metal zipper and the Leslie Fay label inside, it can be dated precisely in the late 1950s—let’s just say 1958.

Leslie fay tag

(See how the label exactly matches the one shown on the Vintage Fashion Guild’s web site?)

And yet it looks contemporary enough that I doubt anyone would know it is vintage.

Is there any better sign of enduringly good design? Like Audrey Hepburn, it’s a dress that only gets better with age.

(Catch the origins of my fondness for Leslie Fay in this post.)

The wanna-be seamstress in me gets all nerdy about the inside of the dress.

pinked edgesNote the pinked edges, showing how the fabric was cut, perhaps by hand.

And what about the hand-cut tape that covers the raw edges of the inside seams?

The construction techniques are so obvious that you can easily picture the U.S. factory setting where it was made—very likely by one woman who very much needed the job.

The fabric? Well, let’s just say you won’t find fabric like this just anywhere.

1958 was a very good year, and not just for fashion.

It was also the year that James Agee’s book, A Death in the Family, won a Pulitzer Prize.

Boris Pasternak received the Nobel Price in literature for Dr. Zhivago.

John Cheever’s novel, The Wapshot Chronicle, received the National Book Award. Also in the running: Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.

Other notables published that year: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote, and Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, by Simone de Beauvoir. Some have called 1958 literature’s best year.

Now let’s get back to 2014 (and what I did immediately after purchasing a piece from the past.)

I lusted after a pair of turquoise sandals to match my belt, but did nothing about it. A brand new pair of thrifted slides sufficed—straight out of my closet.

I must admit that I shopped—mercy did I shop—before deciding that I didn’t need another pair of shoes to go with my 1950s dress.

Thanks to the IPad, I can shop right up to the moment that my eyes get bleary and I finally reach up and turn out the light each night. I can stay connected to the world in every way, checking up on friends, shopping, reading and writing.

But just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I should do it, especially if my sights are set on something higher than what this world has to offer. Know what I mean?

I’m entertaining a new idea: no IPad after 8 p.m. No wait…let’s say 9 p.m. See how hard it is to cut the world off and focus on spiritual things? How do you know when it’s time to shut the world off? Do you suppose that there were fewer distractions in 1958? Before you leave, go check out all the lovelies over at Not Dead Yet Style for a dose of inspiration.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.