Finding my Vintage Unicorn

I’ve always been surrounded by vintage objects and antiques; I’ve seen many beautiful things during my travels and have, over time, created a wishlist of beautiful things that I hope to one day own. Now that I dress pinup full time, it’s only natural that my vintage wishlist features certain items of clothing. Some are reasonable whilst others become classed as ‘unicorns’. A unicorn refers to an item that is so rare and sought after, it’s almost impossible to get your hands on one; just like the chances of seeing a unicorn in real life. Now I do a fair amount of internet browsing and I am always shuffling through vintage stores both in real life and online, and one day it happened, I found my unicorn.

Now I feel a little bit cliche telling you all what my unicorn is, but it’s the iconic Betty Draper dress. I remember seeing this dress online years ago and I fell head over heels in love with it. I don’t remeber where I saw it but I hoped that one day I would see one in real life. The dress originally made an appearance in the 1959 Montgomery Ward catalog and then came to fame on season 1, episode 2 of Mad Men. Now I honestly have never seen Mad Men but I do know that the dress now has it’s new name from the character Betty Draper who wore the dress in the episode. Much like most dresses, the original dress had no distinct name or identification which means that for people like me, it’s definitely all about the dress itself. I have attempted to research the dress but it only really came to fame after the Mad Men airing. If I am wrong in saying this, please let me know! During my research, I also came across a limited-edition Barbie that was released as part of a Mad Men collaboration wearing the now infamous dress.

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The Betty Draper dress in the original 1959 Montgomery Ward catalog

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The Betty Draper dress worn by Betty Draper in season one, episode two of Mad Men.

 

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The Betty Draper Barbie

For me, this is an absolutely perfect dress. Originally it came in a few different colour variations; blue, green, pink and some believe there was a purple (please let me know if there was). The main part of the dress is adorned in floral fabric with a striking block colour cummerbund with a large bow at the back. The skirt is very full with a bubble hem and reaches the knee.
Peachy Keen Etsy store can be found here.

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The Betty Draper dress from the Peachy Keen listing

Now over the years that I have been vintage clothing shopping, I have only come across three Betty Draper dresses, two green colorways which were a size 22″ waist and a 25″ waist which is still available online, and a blue colorway in a 22″ waist. All way too small for me. Then one day it happened, I spotted it, in my size. My gorgeous best friend posted a photo of herself in a stunning vintage reproduction and I clicked to see where she had bought it from, the Instagram link took me to Peachy Keen’s Instagram and I saw their latest post. They were doing some organizing and in the photo of their storeroom, there hung the Betty Draper dress. After finding out the sizing, and realising it was my size, I was so thrilled to know I had a chance at my unicorn. Now if you aren’t aware, many Instagram vintage stores allow you to be tagged if and when a particular item goes on sale. You can request a tag where you’ll receive a notice that the item is about to be posted to the etsy store. I requested a tag and waited. Several days had gone past, then one morning I was having some tea and chatting to my partner when I heard my phone buzz but I chose to ignore it. My phone buzzes and pings all the time so sometimes I choose just to leave it for a while. Eventually, I picked up my phone and saw I had a message on Instagram (one of many) and decided to go through and answer some messages, it was the store, the Betty Draper was about to go on sale in half an hour, and the message had been sent half an hour ago. With the speed of a cuttlefish, I whizzed into their etsy store and there it was. On sale. In my size. ADD TO CART! ADD TO CART!! CHECK OUT! CHECK OUT!! GO GO GO!!

She was mine.

I was so excited I almost burst into tears. At this point, I understand how lucky I am to be in the right place and time to be able to purchase such an item which is so sought after (especially a larger size and within my budget) but also to have the fund to do so. I work extremely hard at both my day job and my part-time work as a pinup. I always have an emergency fund which I use in case I need to go somewhere really quickly or as a just in case so that’s how I managed to have enough in my savings just at the right time. If you have ever had a unicorn item, just keep looking and always look for it!

When the dress arrived, I was still away in Europe so it was a lovely thing to come home to. She does need a little bit of a wash but nothing major. I love her, she is mine and we will live happily ever after. Now she does need to be dry cleaned and I am looking around my state to find someone who will not damage her. I’m a bit too scared to do it myself and I didn’t want to give the shop extra work even though they offered. I did snap a few photos of myself wearing the dress because I HAD to, I mean, how could you resist? I didn’t wear a petticoat as I had very little time to steam the dress but in future a petticoat would be amazing for this dress and I can’t wait to wear her when it warms up a little.
Photos taken by Caitlyn Martin.

 

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Miss MonMon wearing her Betty Draper dress. Photo by Caitlyn Martin

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Miss MonMon wearing her Betty Draper dress. Photo by Caitlyn Martin

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Miss MonMon wearing her Betty Draper dress. Photo by Caitlyn Martin

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Miss MonMon wearing her Betty Draper dress. Photo by Caitlyn Martin

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Miss MonMon wearing her Betty Draper dress. Photo by Caitlyn Martin

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Miss MonMon wearing her Betty Draper dress. Photo by Caitlyn Martin

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Miss MonMon wearing her Betty Draper dress. Photo by Caitlyn Martin

So what do you think? I know everyone has different taste but this really was perfection in dress form for me. I love floral dresses and can’t resist a giant bow on my booty and blue is my favourite colour so it all seemed fitting. What’s your unicorn? It can be clothing related or anything?

See you in the next installment!

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Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. 

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