Thursday, November 12, 2009

reflections on fashion

This morning I was standing waiting for the elevator and noticed my reflection in the lobby doors. I was wearing a new dress, a nice snuggly cotton knit "corduroy" in a dark, rich garnet, just the right warmth and weight for November. The hem of the dress, swung just at my ankles revealing just an inch or two of black cotton stocking. For a moment I marveled at the vagaries of fashion that have allowed me to wear, in middle age, the long dresses that I longed for in childhood.

In the 1950's, I pined for the fashions of an earlier century. I fancied myself in the graceful sweep of long skirts and rustle of petticoats--the sprigged cotton florals, delicate cotton lawns and bright calicoes of the previous century. When I was ten, I learned to sew and the first thing I made was a dress in blue flowered cotton with fitted bodice, long puff sleeves, and full gathered skirt that reached the floor. It was my "Pioneer girl" Halloween costume inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. The next year, I modified the same dress' sleeves with lace and gathered the full skirt into poofy panniers over a long pink underskirt, and became "Colonial girl" -- inspired by a series of books about "little maids" of various revolutionary battles. The year after that, I made another dress in rich, dark red plaid and sewed a hula hoop into a full petticoat to be "Civil War girl." You get the picture -- inspired by Louisa May Alcott. You get the picture.

When the maxi-skirt hit the fashion runways in the early 70's I grabbed on tight to that fashion trend, and never looked back.


Anonymous said...

I often dream on what it must have been like in day of the prarie life or back in Jane Austen's novels. If I could pick anytime to live, other than now of course, it would be in those days. Women were always in dresses, men dappered out.... something so very romantic about it all. I'm with you on this one. Hugs. Tammy

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way, but can't say that I often wear a dress. You beat me by two years with your sewing. I have been making my clothes since I was twelve.

Hula-hoop, huh? I will remember that.

Anonymous said...

I love the Jane Austen fashions BUT & I say BUT I think they really need the pencil thin body to fit upon!! Not me...LOL!!
As for the maxi's.... Yeah man... I love them cause' at 58+ they can hide a multitude of sins!! teehee...
Thanks for visiting my blog!! Come back soon!!

Geraldine said...

What a fun post Sue! I went through all the fashion phases years ago: mini,midi and maxi. I remember them well. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on fashion, then and now. For me, comfort is a lot more important these days, than in my younger days. I still try to look presentable if not stylish all the time.

Your garnet dress sounds pretty btw.

Hugs and hope to see you at OSI, G

Maggie said...

This post fit me well but I have to admit I have never been one to stick to any fashion.

Little style in youth and now comfort in this age.

I admire those who can sew and do justice with their creations.

septembermom said...

I like the elegance and flow of a long dress. It's lovely to be able to make your own clothes. Now with my little ones, I tend to wear comfy pants all the time. Not too much glamor here :)

Amias (ljm and liquidplastic) said...

Wonderful post, Sue.

You are so right, I loved the Maxis when they came out, and still have a nice collections. Long dresses make me feel so feminine. I am also a Jane Austen fan .. love the fashion, and the dancing.