Who knew that a cotton linen crocheted nightie from the 1930s could look something magnificent with an Officer’s uniform blazer for the merchant navy? Well, I think it does. It’s a great example of juxtaposition in fashion. Wearing opposites, contrasts of the more extreme. It’s also an example of an outfit that appeals to me on more than one level. I love the mannish blazer, masculine, strong and assertive. And the detail in the nightie is exceptional. Someone spent many hours lovingly labouring away to make it, stitch by stitch. It is a small work of art, feminine, soft and gentle. Beautiful.
It’s not an original idea – a linen smock over a black slip and opaques. It hints at Victorian school-girl, or of a maid-servant uniform in a period movie. But it’s a look that has always appealed to me.
In this case, the linen-cotton smock is in fact a vintage night gown, and the blazer is an authentic merchant navy blazer. The black and white contrast emphasises the juxtaposition of the masculine and feminine elements, soft and hard, strong and gentle, dominant and submissive.
Given the strength of the gold buttons and Officer’s stripes, gold jewellery was the natural choice in accessories. The white stone in the ring and watch face repeats the white of the nightie, helping to bring the whole outfit together.
The Merchant Navy blazer is a piece I discovered at Richmond Antiques and Curios. It is a man’s blazer, but as I have a very boyish frame, it happens to fit me perfectly. Coincidently, my nightie was also purchased from the same place (which is ‘my local’ vintage shop in Richmond), although on a separate occasion. My watch pendant is a favourite piece and also a vintage find, purchased from Eclectic, and the small white-stone ring was a very recent find from Trade Aid in Nelson. The second ring is a piece I purchased from Shine, along with my ever-faithful black leather lace-ups by Elk. Like my shoes, my sunglasses are ‘ever faithfuls’, investment buy sunnies from Matthews Eyewear.