Archive for April, 2010

>Dressgasm of the Day: 1900 butterfly gown

Posted by Jessica Jewett 1 Comment »


Today’s dressgasm is truly spectacular. Ordinarily, I am not that attracted to dresses of the early twentieth century but this dress is antique, yet it looks like it could be worn today. Call me crazy but I would wear this dress to the Oscars or something.

This dress was found on eBay and I believe the listing said it was from circa 1909. It’s a formal gown made of what appears to me to be ivory satin but it might be silk too. There are beautiful black and white butterfly appliques of varying sizes that trail down the full skirt. I have not seen a dress of this period that was sleeveless, so my theory is that the dress might have been altered later to fit future fashion standards. It might not be altered, though. I’m quite unfamiliar with the fashion standards of the 1890 – 1920 period.

The lady who wore this dress was probably young and unmarried due to the fresh and youthful color and design. The sleeveless bodice suggests a fashion forward attitude that an older matronly woman might not have been willing to adopt. There is a bit of a train on this dress as well. She might have worn it to a formal dinner with little to no dancing, or she was an excellent dancer and wore it to a ball with no fear of tripping on it. In either case, the young lady surely made a sensation in this butterfly dress.

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>My day at the Shepherd Center

Posted by Jessica Jewett 5 Comments »


For the last year, I have been using a wheelchair that looks and feels like the engineering work of Dr. Frankenstein. The power wheelchair I had for the last six years or more gave out over a year ago after repeated damage by various airlines in my travels (that’s a whole other blog), so my mother took an old hospital chair and mixed parts together until it was something useful. It was only supposed to be a temporary fix but with the slow pace of Medicaid, it has taken a long time to get anywhere with acquiring the equipment that I need. Today, however, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. The shiny new wheelchair pictured in this blog will soon be mine with a lot of custom parts built to fit my body.

I have had a bizarre feeling the last week or so that something was wrong with my appointment at the Shepherd Center. It’s a place in Atlanta where people with severe disabilities and spinal cord injuries go for treatment and getting new wheelchairs and other equipment. A lot of military veterans are treated there for their combat wounds as well. It’s a wonderful place full of (mostly) helpful, smiling, positive staff. No facility is without faults, though. The scheduling department screwed up my appointment by switching my notification letter with another patient, so I showed up today for someone else’s appointment. The envelope was addressed to me but the name on the appointment sheet was someone else. When we realized what was going on, the receptionist went to her supervisor because I wasn’t even showing up in the system. Eventually the supervisor concluded that there was a huge mistake and that my wheelchair appointment was actually two days ago but nobody told me a thing. They knew they were at fault, so they sent me up to the wheelchair clinic anyway even though I didn’t technically have an appointment.

My specialist was amazing. He gave me enough attention and respect even though there was an appointment screw up and he treated me with the kind of dignity that I rarely get in the system. We went over my various needs, what type of pain I suffer, and what options might suit me the best. The Shepherd Center really advocates independence and mobility, so if there is any possibility for a patient to use a wheelchair of their own power, they do everything they can to make it happen. I have limited use of my right hand, so they decided that I should be in charge of my own mobility as long as I can.

We talked about the limitations of Medicaid and the rehab equipment industry a lot. I don’t have a wheelchair accessible van because I can’t afford it, which means 90% of power wheelchairs are not going to work for me because they weigh 200-300 pounds. Nobody can lift that or fold it up. The options for power wheelchairs that break apart and fold up into four-door sedans boil down to only a small handful of choices. The reason is Medicaid and the industry in general falsely believes that disabled people don’t go out and live normal lives. We are mistaken as people who are confined to the home and never have social lives or experiences out of the home besides our numerous doctor appointments. Therefore, technology and mobility equipment have never catered to the idea of accessibility outside of the house. The industry in general just doesn’t offer power wheelchairs designed for people with active lives like I do and so many of us do. Active, social quadriplegics are a myth, apparently.

I was hoping to find portable power wheelchairs advanced in technology since the last time I got one about six to eight years ago, but sadly, nothing has advanced in that field. In fact, Quickie (the brand I have used for years) completely discontinued their portable power wheelchairs. That means my old wheelchair is an extinct species. This time we went with the Invacare brand, which is a brand I have never used. The picture at the top of this blog is the model we ordered but we changed some things to fit my difficult body. We ordered footrests that are very close together and at a 90 degree angle, rather than the ones in the picture that stick out. There will be a butt cushion and a back cushion that will prevent me from getting pressure sores and ease the bones that cause me pain. I was measured, stretched, poked, prodded and examined for more than two hours before we made any real decisions. Invacare is really my only choice unless I went with a wheelchair that I can’t move myself. Losing what little independence I have would be very disheartening.

To take it apart, you pull out the batteries, pull out the butt cushion, the back cushion, take off the footrests and then pull up on the seat so the frame folds up. When it’s folded, it’s only thirteen inches wide. It sounds like a pain in the rear but that’s my life. It’s always been this way. Going out anywhere is a chore but I have to grin and bear it to go anywhere. Just get on with life and don’t look back or dwell on what you can’t do or what you don’t have! So many people at the Shepherd Center can’t feel their bodies, can’t breathe on their own, can’t pee without tubes, etc., and seeing their suffering up close reminded me of how lucky I am. I may be a quadriplegic for life but I can feel my body. I can breathe. I can move. Life is not as hard as we make it out to be every day. These patients still smile and still find joy in terrible situations. I wish everybody could visit these people with spinal cord injuries and other severe disabilities.

It will be a month or more before I get my new wheelchair. His name is Marcel, by the way. I always name my wheelchairs because they are such an extension of my body. They almost develop personalities and I would be lost without them. Marcel, my love, you will come home soon!

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>Dressgasm of the Day: 1880s violet wedding dress

Posted by Jessica Jewett 1 Comment »


Today’s dressgasm was another eBay find from a few days ago.

I found this dress rather interesting because of the two different bodices that were made to give the dress distinct looks. Multiple bodices used to go from day to night were fairly common throughout the nineteenth century but surviving examples of entire ensembles still together are not as common anymore. I can’t remember everything the eBay auction said but it appears to me that this dress is made of silk, probably silk taffeta, which was a common luxury fabric in the nineteenth century. The color is a lovely icy violet with white highlights and trim.

The eBay auction said that this dress was a wedding dress. Most certainly, the bride wore the high necked, long sleeved bodice on her wedding day. As to not waste a perfectly beautiful dress, she made or had made a ballgown bodice – the short sleeved, wide necked bodice with the white belt – so that she could continue to wear the dress for evening events. In some cities in the later part of the nineteenth century, it was expected that the bride appear somewhere in her wedding dress within a year of the marriage. Prior to that tradition, most brides reused their wedding dresses repeatedly as church dresses or reworked them as ballgowns or, among poor brides, simply reused them in their everyday lives. Nothing was to go to waste in the nineteenth century since there were no standard sizes or ready made clothes. Everything was made specific to each person through a great deal of time and effort.

If I was this bride, I would certainly want to reuse this dress a lot because of the beautiful color and the flattering way it hugs the figure.

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