Vintage Fashion Malady #38: Ad Location Syndrome

If you’ve been bitten by the vintage collecting bug, chances are you’ve gradually become symptomatic with a slew of related ailments. Perhaps you’ve heard of and actually experienced “Set Completion Syndrome”, where a lucky find of sparkly brooch with matching earrings leads you to obsessively seek out the matching necklace (and bracelet, and ring…)

Maybe you find yourself getting up at the crack of dawn (after tossing and turning all night with nightmares about your personal Holy Grail slipping repeatedly out of  your grasp) to put your name on a list to get in line for a high number at an estate sale (“Elbowing Others Out of the Way Syndrome”).

Maybe you return multiple times to a vintage clothing shop or antique mall till you finally break down and purchase something that leaves you without money to pay the phone bill, because it has been “calling” to you for days (“Siren Song Syndrome”).

Well, there’s a new one to add to the vintageaholics diagnostic manual. It involves a compulsion to pore over old magazines or catalogs as well as online till one finds a period advertisement for a vintage item one has taken a shine to, it’s called “Ad Location Syndrome”, and I’ve contracted a terminal case of it.

I’m not seriously complaining, though, because despite how time-devouring the endless trips down twisty garden paths can be, the thrill when I do happen upon what I’m in search of is beyond incomparable. Case in point: I just found the ad to go with a L’Aiglon dress with matching scarf I was preparing to list in my Ruby Lane shop, and learned things from it I would never have figured out on my own.


My dating hunch said the dress was a late 40s/early 50s cusper; turned out it was from summer 1950 on the dot. I didn’t congratulate myself too much, though,, since left to my own devices I would have never have surmised the scarf (called a “kerchief” in the ad) was intended for double duty, either on the head or on the shoulders. And I certainly wouldn’t have known that it wasn’t meant to be tied under the chin á la 1960s convertible-riding bombshell with sunglasses.

I also wouldn’t have tied the sash in back, creating the illusion of an apron (the ad describes the dress as having a “flower-strewn apron effect and camisole top”). Basically, the ad suggests the dress was meant to have a kind of “Country Miss” vibe, which I did not pick up from it as it dangled before me on the hanger mocking my descriptive skills.

Sometimes a picture—or an ad—really is worth a motherlode of syllables!

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