Tales from Ceenie, #1

Ceenie is a regular at the tavern I refer to as my living room. She’s lived in the Denver area her whole life, and she’s seventy years old. She’s one hell of a swanky dresser, always wearing something sparkly or shiny, or as bright as her teased red hair. She’s the kind of endearingly “direct” that only a seventy-year-old woman can get away with. (“CJ, I just hate it when you wear those damn ugly tennis shoes. You should wear your stilettos all the time. And I hate your hair, you need to get it out of your face.”) The stories she tells me are so entertaining that I’m just going to have to start sharing them with you all. Here’s one she told me a few nights ago.

Ceenie and her family lived in the Littleton area, which is now an uber-populated suburb, but back then was quite rural. Littleton was built around a racetrack, where the locals would bet on horses and then wander into bars with names like The Winner’s Circle.

She and her friends were teenagers when hoop skirts and crinoline underskirts were an absolute necessity; you just couldn’t be a hip teen without them, and the bigger, the better. They decided to wash their skirts in sugar water to stiffen the crinoline and make them stand out more, and hung them up to dry on the clothesline.

Unfortunately for them, horses absolutely love sugar. When they came out to collect their skirts, there wasn’t much left on the line — but the horse was sure happy.

I’ve been looking for a very long time for a 50’s era gown with the huge crinoline skirt, and I finally found one a few days ago at a vintage shop. It’s a wedding dress, and fits like a glove. I had to have it. I’m hoping to find a great fur wrap or bolero to complete it and make it a little less wedding-ish, or maybe I’ll find someone brave enough to dye it for me. A soft grey / silver would be gorgeous. Scary, though.

Here’s a quick little snap of it, taken this morning in a somewhat hung-over haze. I think dresses like this are perfect for SWD sessions. Good thing I sing at a cabaret so I actually have an excuse to buy things like this! Some day soon, I’m going to have Ceenie as my guest at the Clocktower, so we can both dress fabulously together, and she can tell me more stories about her girlhood experiences there.

1950's ball gown

50's ball gown from Creme de la Couture, Englewood, CO

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