Friday, 12 July 2013

Double Trouble



I love this dress so much I bought two!


They were listed as a Buy-It-Now on eBay in 2005 and unable to choose between green and blue I bought both. It wasn't just the fabulously bright print, the smaller size or that they were 100% cotton that lured me; they were labelled Van Allen, a groovy British boutique chain Mum & I spent many a happy hour browsing in the 1970s.


 Ever wondered about the story behind a vintage dress?

With these I didn't have to. They arrived with a letter from the seller recalling how she fell in love with them when working as a Saturday girl at Van Allen, painstakingly saving her wages to afford both as she couldn't decide which colour she preferred. She wore the blue version to the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 where it shared the same air as Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. 



In the eight years I've owned them they've travelled to India at least a dozen times and accompanied me to festivals, wild nights out and lazy days in. I never get bored with wearing the same clothes, my taste hasn't changed in over 25 years.

Thursday's Frock: Van Allen maxi (£10, eBay) worn with a stack of cheap bangles and vintage glass beads courtesy of the fabulous Em

I was chased down the aisle of yesterday's car boot sale by a woman offering to swap everything on her ex-high street clothing stall in exchange for my dress. No way, lady. This frock's almost family now.

Talking of car boot sales here's some purchases from yesterday.


A bumper bag of vintage braid, more fabulous boots (these Bertie beauties originally retailed at £149 - they cost me £2) and some funky 1960s fabric. 


A pair of 1950s plaster heads, a groovy gents' pattern, a handmade 1950s blouse, a souvenir tote bag, a V&A embroidery book from 1953 and a heap of 1960s evening bags.


Friday's Frock: Van Allen maxi (£10, eBay) worn with a stack of cheap bangles and a charity shop hair flower

I'm off to spend the afternoon in the garden and the evening outside the pub.

We could go jumbling or car booting or visit a vintage fair tomorrow or we might just do nothing, it seems a shame to miss a minute of this glorious sunshine.

Have a fabulous weekend!

85 comments:

  1. How great!!!! I always hope my vintage L.A. bag and waistcoat have a similar story like your two killer dresses! I never get bored of wearing the same clothes over and over again, too ;) And I love that your cat is in the pic, too. The kitten we'll get is the first one in the pic with the pink nose :)

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  2. whoahh, first comment, I'm proud of me ;)

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  3. They are lovely dresses. Very flattering. How great to have the story behind them. Have a splendid weekend! xxx

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  4. How nice that your dresses have a tale to tell, they are very lovely.
    Are you going to whip Jon up something from that fab mens pattern :)
    I had a bag similar to the gold one you got, except in silver and a wee bit smaller, it was wonderfully impractical but suffered a bizarre bath episode where all the silver came off!
    Have a lovely weekend xxx

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  5. Fabulous dresses. I remember Van Allen but I don't remember buying anything from there. I was more of a Chelsea Girl type girl or Top Shop or C&A. Yep, the Stones were bloody brilliant. Have a lazy weekend. xx

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  6. These frocks would have to be a firm favourite of mine as well. Even I can't quite choose between the two. They are just divine in every way!!! And my heart rate sped up at the sight of those boots. What a find! Who'd pay retail with prices like that??? Xx

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  7. Oh yes, Van Allen was a cool shop! I'm not in the least surprised you bought both dresses, and that they are a well-loved, often-worn part of your wardrobe - they are both beautiful. Swap them for high street shit? The very idea! Putting on a favourite dress is a wonderful thing - they always make you feel good, and that's priceless.
    Funnily enough, I've just bought a Dorothy Perkins dress from Ebay, which the seller listed as being from 1979, and the reason she knew the precise year was because she bought it with her very first wage packet, and had kept it ever since. I love stories like that.
    Great car booty as usual - more fabulous boots, and that fabric looks beautiful.
    An afternoon in the garden followed by alfresco boozing sounds perfect. Wonder what you'll do tomorrow? A quick blast of foraging would still leave you time for sun-soaking, I reckon!
    PS. Polly Piglet remains distinctly unimpressed, in the way only a tortoiseshell can be, little monkey!
    xxxxxxxxx

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  8. I did the same thing with a dress I got last month. Although they were new, they were on sale. First I got the green one and loved it, then went back and got the orange one. Beautiful floral print sun dresses, 100% cotton from ....gasp....the Jessica Simpson line of clothes! Her stuff is usually a tad trashy, but these are cute. Guess I shouldn't judge a dress by it's label.

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  9. what a delight to have been told the story behind your dresses when you bought them. That's something that always fascinates me - the personal history behind the garment, and it's one of the many reasons that I love family hand-me-downs. Also, what a great mirroring of their original story, that they were both bought by the same person and then both bought by you decades later! They look like they were made for you.
    MORE amazing boots?? I think you magnetically attract great boot sale stuff!

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  10. Gorgeous dresses Vix, ope you have a fabulous weekend too xxx

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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  11. Those dresses are amazing I love them both, but certainly partial to the green. But hey I wouldn't say no to either. I love that thy have a buttoned bust or is that a faux buttoned bust. What a wonderful story about the dresses and so fitting that both should find a home with you and ave a wonderful life being worn and appreciated. X

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  12. What beautiful dresses! No I wouldn't sell them either. And a cool story attached too!

    Have fun in the sun whatever you decide to do this weekend.


    P x

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  13. I sometimes tell the stories of things I sell on ebay, I've always thought that made me a bit of an oversharing nutbar, but what the hey - I love hearing the stories of things, so who's to say other people won't too?

    Great dresses, great finds and good stories - the holy trifecta of Vix-dom!

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  14. Even before I read the script I looked at that first photo and thought 'Best Dress Ever'! The added detail that you know the history of it and that there are in fact two of them leave me in awe of your closet. Not that I wasn't already!

    Wishing you guys a great weekend.

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  15. Such gorgeous dresses, I'm not surprised you bought both of them - I wouldn't be able to decide either! How lovely to know the story behind them as well x

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  16. Your dresses were great finds with great stories behind them. I can see why you love them. They look beautiful on you and seem to be a part of you. Like you said, they're almost "family".

    Your haul is unbelievable! Can't believe your luck in finding MORE cool boots! And love, love, LOVE the trim!

    xxx

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  17. I've just showed my mum your post and she said 'that's her, yes it is. She's very good' so you'll be pleased to know that! :)

    You look wonderful in your twin frocks, they have a great print and look so pristine. You definitely did the right thing in getting both. It's so lovely to hear not only the seller's story for loving the frocks, but yours too.

    I love that car boot braid and that gorgeous fabric so much...can't wait to see how it ends up.That shot of all your dresses on the line is divine and I can't help but notice how fantastic all your pots are looking. Cosmos everywhere! Finally, is it just me or is that plaster head the spit of Wacko Jacko? xxxxx

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  18. All with a story to tell, as with my wardrobe the thought of its life before me!!! now that's true vintage xx see you soon vix xx

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  19. I LOVE this story!!! I always wonder about the people who wore the clothing before me. So very cool. :)

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  20. Well if Tania Mom approves :) I don't blame you at all for buying up two, I would have done the same. How rare and wonderful that you know the story and when you told me that dress had seen Hendrix I about died. I'm going to pretend one of my frocks did!!

    I feel I a, quickly amassing my collection of fabulous frocks to take me though my old age and I couldn't be happier with the company! It was so so so nice chatting with you this week.
    I LOVE YA!!!!! Enjoy the sun, and the booze and give the gang my love!
    XXXOOOOOO

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  21. How wonderfuL! Van Allen was so cool at the time and they always sold the best. I remember the older girls saving up to buy frocks from there.
    I love your frocks, just gorgeous and look how they have travelled with you. Don't get that from Primark.
    I've just nabbed a Portugese bag excatly the same for me knitting bits. Won't be using it any time soon though as 'twill be boiling hot for ages.
    Have a luscious weekend.
    Loves ya!
    xxxxxxxx

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  22. Vix, how beautiful you look in both dresses and how heartfelt is to know the history of what you wear and to know that it come with lots of positive energy and love.
    Talking about love, I love the boots and the evenings bags that you got at the car boot sale.

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  23. I remember van Allen too , showing my age now , love the vintage trims I would have bought them too I need some pretty ribbon for my re vamped bedroom for the curtains , I might get some over the weekend you never know how these things go , that's why I love it so much , boot sales, jumbles , charity shops xxx

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  24. Gorgeous dress in both colours! I love that they belonged to the seller, and the joy she had when weraing them! have a lovely weekend xx

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  25. I absolutely love your dresses, i couldn't either between the 2 colours either! The cut and shaping were just so much better then. Enjoy xx

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  26. dear lady, you took a good decision buying both dresses, they're fabulously print and colorful, and you've enjoyed them so much!!, love that kind of workhorses that stay been loved for years! and love a vintage piece with a story to tell!
    Have a nice weekend, whatever you do!
    besos

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  27. Gorgeous dresses!! I love the stories behind them--hers and yours :)

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  28. Beautiful dress and so many memories - no wonder you don't want to part with it.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  29. Oooh the dresses are lovely. Wish I was a tad skinnier to get away with wearing such lovely stuff

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  30. Wow, I wouldn't have been able to choose either!! Beeeeautiful dresses!x

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  31. what a fabulous story. i think what i admire about you the most vix is your commitment to your style. and a day in the garden followed by a night in the pub just cannot get any better. xo

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  32. Oh, if dresses could talk! They're beautiful, both... I also haven't changed my taste in 25 years and still love the clothes I bought AGES ago :) xo

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  33. I'm not surprised that car boot lady wanted your dress, it looks like it has been so well looked after and it's so pretty. More great finds from the boot sale. Have a great weekend xx

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  34. How cool to have the story of the dresses.. Beautiful dresses they are too.
    Love all your finds, as usual.
    Enjoy the sunshine! x

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  35. Wouldn't it be awesome if you were able to get the story behind all of the vintage that you buy? This is a wonderful story, and the dresses really are the epitome of perfect summer wear - the shape, pattern and fabric! I'm sure the original owner is thrilled that her pretty dresses are having such an exciting second life with you!

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  36. Lovely dresses, I'm sure I would have bought them both too! How great they came with a story. You always turn up some great things at your boot sales x

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  37. Lovely vintage gems look amazing on you, meant to be!:-)

    xoxoxox

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  38. They're gorgeous dresses and I can see why you brought both. They were made for you xxx

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  39. I love finding a twin frock in a different colourway. To score two at the same time and to get their backstory from the original owner is precious indeed. I've always admired these frocks. The cut is gorgeous, the print sublime and you always look amazing wearing them. May they have many more happy years in your magical vintage wardrobe. We are hitting the park tomorrow for a picnic in the sun and some cheeky flyering for the mini festival. I walked past the venue earlier and it was positively heaving, I hope it's the same on Sunday, fingers crossed ;)
    Have a brilliant weekend...xXx

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  40. I don't know what Van Allen was but most surely it was fabulous. Of course you love the dresses. They are so perfectly VIX!

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  41. that dress is gorgeous I can see why you love it and two of them :) You found some very nice new treasures!! Enjoy them ~love Heather

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  42. Aww that story made me feel all warm and fuzzy lol How cool is it for something as simple as a dress to have a story, a history. I think that when we were younger (I know we're not quite ancient yet) we didn't really get a real feel for history or of a things worth. We all have to live a little, laugh a little and suffer a little before things or moments become special.

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  43. I remembering hearing about Van Allen clothing as a prize in game shows, I think! The dresses are darling but knowing the history of them is precious.

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  44. I can see WHY that woman chased you to ask for your dress, its amazing! I love that you know the story behind these dresses and they have sure lived a fabulous life with you Vix :D

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  45. You have an excellent eye for styling and coordinating the colours of your frocks with other outfit pieces. The mint coloured crochet top looks wonderful paired with your vintage dress (and the green hair-flower). It's nice that you have a spectrum of colours amongst the vintage dresses in your wardrobe.

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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  46. Your dress w near Jim Morrison, say no more! Both are gorgeous, like you. Xoxo

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  47. The dresses are amazing but the story behind them makes it ten times better! It's so nice of her to write you about it, I wish more people were like that. Also I'll check Joyatri's blog, thank you for letting me know! xxx

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  48. quick update: funnily enough I just realised that it's because of Joyatri's blog that I found out about the exhibition! I didn't connected the name before but I even put a link on the post! xxx

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  49. You are the perfect guardian for the next generation of these two dresses. And how I love the flower in your hair and the bangles you wear with this blue one. Enjoy your sunshine!!

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  50. How fecking splendid those two frocks are!! I always say buy two of something you love!!! Great story behind them, too. Gives them personality!
    Oooo, those boots! Some stupendously good scores yet again, my lovely!!! WOOT!
    Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  51. How great to find 2 dresses but in different colours and from a person who bought both of the for the same reason as you! Don't ever split up those dresses!

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  52. That's what I love about vintage clothes -- these cherished dresses have been passed on to be cherished by you.
    I hadn't heard of Van Allen -- good to know about!
    The medieval/Arts & Craft-ish braid and that Portugal bag are my faves of your haul. Once again, I have car boot envy.

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  53. Even Mr. KittyCat looks pretty with the green dress. Excellent finds!!! I wouldn't part with something as special as those, especially since they saw Jimi & Morrison. XXX

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  54. Why choose when you can have both!! I have been guilty of that. Enjoy the sun for me to, I am missing her dearly!

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  55. Beautiful dresses - how lovely that they have a story behind them and also that you have loved them so much. Hope you enjoyed the sunshine! xx

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  56. Beautiful dresses - how lovely that they have a story behind them and also that you have loved them so much. Hope you enjoyed the sunshine! xx

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  57. Your dresses made me think of the quality of clothing then vs the quality of clothing now. You can still wash and wear a dress from the 70s every week and it'll still have life forever. But try doing that with a dress you bought brand new five years ago... it'll be in the trash in no time! What's up with that?!?!?

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  58. You are so right, when in doubt buy two, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
    that dress is soooooo you.
    Happy sunny weekend, my friend.
    I hope Scotland will be nice and cool when we get there.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  59. What absolutely stunning dresses, and perfect for this gorgeous weather! I bet you're so so glad you bought them both. I love the look of all your maxis on the washing line - it's like art in the garden! Enjoy the sunshine, Sam xxxx

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  60. Gorgeous dresses and I love how the original owner sent them with a letter about their origins, sounds like you and the dresses were meant to be xx

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  61. Gorgeous maxi dress. Love these pics.

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  62. How marvelous to know the story behind the dresses. They are fab! I think I would have bought them both too.
    I often wonder about the people who had my clothes before me. I wonder where they have been or why someone didn't wear them. xxx

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  63. What wonderful stories to go with the twins! I think the blue one flatters you more, but it's nice to be able to go with your mood.

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  64. God, I'm a boring cow! Love the dresses and how cool to know where they came from and how the owner got them.

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  65. Love your dresses Vix, I can see why she wanted them :)

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  66. Love the green version :D

    Sal x

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  67. Oh i´m like you when i can´t decide which color i like most i have to have both;) and like those dresses travel and went with you everywhere it definitely was it worth! they are fabulous! i honestly have only few pieces i wear over and over again, the reason is i just forget which dresses i have;)
    wish you a great weekend!
    love and kiss,mary

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  68. I don't think I would've been able to make up my mind either, both so pretty & so fab that you got the story of them too. As usual drooling over your finds... sigh. XXX

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  69. I want the tan boots.....as you know I would love these. Fab bargain x

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  70. Also I love your dress you look lovely x

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  71. I recently been in Dublin, where we sang praises to Helga von Trollop and Vintage Vixen at Lucy's Lounge.

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  72. I love that story of the dress. Thanks for sharing it with us, love the dress and I wouldn't be able to decide which colour I'd want either. AND they were in the presence of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrisson SIGH!

    Love your boot sale finds xxx

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  73. The history behind vintage clothes makes them so special! And these 2 phenomenal dresses, both of which look so gorgeous on you, wow what a lot of history they can tell phoarrr to Morrison and Hendrix, what I wouldn't give to have been there....

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  74. Bonito vestido!
    Besos
    http://judithbysucre.blogspot.com.es

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  75. I remember Van Allen, we had one in the High Street. I always had my nose squashed against the window as I drooled over the fashions.

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  76. what a wonderful story about the dresses!! I couldn't have chosen a color, either!! you look AMAZING in them!!
    and adorable Kitty Cat posing too!!
    you got some lovely goodies at the sale!!

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  77. I'm in love with those dresses and what a treat to have the history - I just love that! Mega shopping, those boots are amazing - 2 pound - outrageous.

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  78. I love the fact the you know the history to them!

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  79. If I'd seen those dresses I would have been bidding against you!! Love the Bertie boots.
    Hope you're enjoying this sunshine as much as we are.
    M x

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  80. Sometimes I can't make up my mind and have to buy both things too. *lol* Decision making isn't always easy.
    The dresses hanging on your line are lovely and OMG how cute are those boots you found at the car boot.
    *IN LOVE* with the rooster bag! *Totally smitten*

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  81. you have to scan that hilariously camp shirt pattern and use it, it's just too good. Got Earth Song in my head now thanks to your Egyptian MJ! The dresses are both so gorgeous and they fit perfectly. Even better is that they have wonderful memories for you and for their original owner. Imagine seeing Jimi live! I'd cry. Polly looks rather plump and divine. xxxx

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  82. Good taste is priceless and those dresses are divine Vix. I really love the story behind them both – what a lovely thing to do, attaching a letter with the parcel all those years ago (in the golden era of eBay). The lady would be so happy to know how much wear you’ve had from the both. xxx

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  83. How good is that, getting the story about the dresses?! And you're taking them to festivals too, I love it!

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