Simply Erin – 04.04.2017: Vanity Allure

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By Erin Zinzilieta-Pennington, Staff Writer, 04.04.2017

As a child I always wanted a vanity. A woman’s vanity just offers a certain sense of allure. My older cousin had a white one that looked like a desk, but when the middle section was opened it actually had a deep compartment for cosmetics and a mirror. I was enthralled with it and always wanted to see what she had new that was hidden away.

I purchased my first vanity about ten years ago. It was from 1920 or 30 and was a dark walnut. It had a trifold mirror, a recessed center, and three drawers on either side. It had curved cabriole legs and claw feet with a ball wheel in the center. When I saw it, it was love at first sight. I purchased it for $25 at an auction and then had no way to get it home. I begged a gentleman next to me to please haul it to my house, which he so generously did. I had that antique vanity for years, but when I moved out of the Victorian I was living in, I had to part with it due to lack of space. I never quite got over it and was hoping one day to find another one.

A few summers ago, Taylor and I were antiquing a couple towns over. The store we were in looked like it should be demolished. It was in a state of disrepair. It was a treasure trove of goodies though. Among the old glass, wooden rocker, highchairs and stone crocks, I saw my vanity. It wasn’t the exact same one that I owned before, this was a 1940 model. It was off white and kidney shaped. It didn’t have a mirror and was very petite in stature, which is exactly what I needed for my space. I bought it for $15 and felt giddy inside.

Once I got it home, I cleaned it up and was trying to decide exactly what to display on it. I draped the top with a beautiful piece of white linen, I placed a mirrored tray in the center with all of my favorite perfumes and I have a special picture frame on it that my favorite Aunt purchased for me before she passed. The picture frame is lavender stained glass and holds my daughter’s senior picture. It was still missing something. Next I added a white Victorian beaded lamp. It was almost perfect. I found a matching 1940’s wooden framed mirror that looked like it came with the vanity, I hung it above. I was still dissatisfied. While it looked very nice it was missing something.

True to form, I got on Pinterest and did a search on vanity décor and found that my beauty needed a skirt. Not just any skirt, but a lavish, ornate, over-the-top frou-frou skirt. I can sew, but I need a pattern to go buy and am not good at just drafting a pattern by hand. I turned to my next go-to haunt, EBay. I found an original 1940’s vanity sewing pattern with matching Pricilla curtains for $20. Yes, I paid more for the pattern then I paid for the vanity, but it will all come together beautifully. This particular pattern has yards and yards of fabric. It can be sewn with or without piping and with or without a lower ruffle. Me being me, I will probably want it all. I mean, why not? It’s my vanity.

My Mother bought me a used, round, darling vanity seat with white metal curved legs. It will also need a flouncy skirt of some sort. I showed it all to Taylor and her response was, “Oh good grief Mom, do you really want that thing looking like it’s wearing a prom dress??” Yes Taylor, yes I do. I want it to look like Zsa Zsa Gabor will come in any minute and powder her nose while wearing feathered slippers with kitten heels and a satin robe, and then…I will know that it is officially complete.


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