When Zak and I received an invitation to a wedding to be held at Meadowood Country House in Hawkes Bay, I knew I wanted to find a vintage wedding outfit to suit the venue.
As those of you who are from New Zealand or have a love for Art Deco may be aware, Napier is known for its Art Deco buildings. Much of the city was destroyed in the earthquake of 1931. Naturally, a lot of rebuilding took place and this was done in the popular style of the time. Meadowood Country House is a great example of this, being designed in 1934 to replace the original homestead which was damaged in the earthquake.
The interiors of the house are gorgeous as it has recently been restored and redecorated. As I looked around their website I found myself planning a future weekend stay there. Perhaps for Winter Art Deco weekend? But for now, I had to find an outfit for this wedding!
I knew that, ideally, I wanted my outfit to come from the 30s. I spent a long time looking around Etsy. I’m on there all the time anyway but this time I had a clear purpose in mind. I found quite a few possible dress options but nothing was perfect. Until I came across this dress from MinkyVintage. It was a gorgeous deep green colour that I know I suit and it had sleeves which I always prefer.
I also adore the pussybow, the gold detailing and the pleats in the centre of the bodice. The dress slips over the head quite easily. While it is a much closer fit on me than would be typical for a 1930s silhouette that’s actually great as I’m currently losing weight and it means that even when I am smaller the dress will remain wearable and not have been a waste of money! I already feel great in this dress, though. It is so comfortable and I always get so many compliments on the colour and style. One woman at work said to me ‘you look like you’re in the War. I mean not in it, in it, obviously, but like you were around.’ Goal achieved.
The dress was perfect for the wedding we attended as it is day appropriate yet not super casual. The dress is so versatile – it’s great for work, for going out and for strolling the streets.
Next, I knew I wanted some earrings to go with the dress. I had my mind set on something amber in colour so started searching for 30s amber earrings. I came across these glass earrings from tiptoecurio. They were exactly what I was after so I grabbed them immediately. After a little mix up with the seller (which I’m sure was much more my fault than theirs anyhow) they added in another lovely pair of earrings which I will have to incorporate into a future outfit.
These were my first 1930s earrings and I was quite unused to the style. They do not go through your hair but have a hook that goes around your lobe. You then wind up the screw at the back so it clamps the earrings on to your hair. There is a very fine line between too loose and painfully tight that it took me a little bit of time to find. Now I adore these earrings and are so happy with how they look on. As orange is my favourite colour they’re something I can pair with many different outfits. I also love the designs in the metal around the glass.
I knew I didn’t want to take my large black everyday bag to the wedding so went on the search for the perfect clutch. This baby at AdoredAnew was the first thing that really caught my eye. I was pulled in by the colours as I felt they would tie in well with the green of the dress. I also loved the medieval vibe of the patterning. I’m a lover of medieval style too but it’s far more difficult to incorporate that into your daily life than 20th century styles! The chain of the bag is pleasantly heavy and the interior is surprisingly roomy.
The bag also has quite an interesting story behind it. This is part of why I love buying vintage things. A small pocket is sewn into one side of the interior of the lining. Inside is a little tag. The tag reads “NRA Code Manufactured Under Ladies Handbag Code Authority.” This places the purse’s manufacture in the mid to late 30s. The National Recovery Act (NRA) was instituted by FDR under the New Deal to try and offset the dissolution of American manufacturing jobs. The unions and manufacturers never came to terms with one another’s demands and only a couple of years after the Act was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1935 as unconstitutional. In the same year, the Ladies Handbag Authority was formed. Apparently the Ladies Handbag Authority continued to use the NRA tag for some time after this, however.