The dress set me back a dollar at the Greenwich Hospital Thrift Shop. The hat, three bucks. The chestnut colored chunky shoes were holdovers from my first trip to Paris the summer after junior year of college.I bought them for the French equivalent of $42, an outrageous sum for shoes in those days.
My friend John Vachon took this photo of me standing outside my bedroom in what we used to call a “group house” in Cos Cob. Vachon, married to my then-husband’s college French teacher, was a photographer for FDR’s Farm Security Administration in the 1930’s and for many years, a staff photographer at Look magazine.
A few of us were going out to dinner at a local steakhouse when John shot this photo. The dress dated from the 1940’s and featured a keyhole necklace, a peplum, and Joan Crawford-style shoulder pads. Sequins were sewn all along the keyhole, so no jewelry was required to jazz it up. My boss, upon seeing me in the dress for the first time at an English Department Christmas party, remarked that her aunt had one just like it during World War 2. This was my all purpose party dress until 1980, when I officially marked the end of the ‘Sixties by handing off my vintage frock to a friend’s young daughter for her dress-up collection.
Photo ©1972, John Vachon