How do you feel about clothing? Is it just something utilitarian, or is it part of your creative expression? Has your attitude towards clothing changed over the years? When was the last time you dressed up for fun?
After reading Jyllian’s post Gekommen um zu bleiben , I decided to blog about a topic I’ve pondered for years: the lost art of dressing up.
As Jyllian puts it:
“I want to wear kitten heels, a bob haircut , flapper dress and carry a small jeweled purse whilst drinking champagne and speaking barbs politely. Sigh. Why isn’t life like this?”
Exactly! Why isn’t life like this? When did American clothing become more utilitarian than fun? (Sometimes it’s even worse than that, as seen on the People of Wal-Mart website!)
One thing I enjoyed about living in Europe is that people there still take time to dress up a bit. As long as people are having fun and it’s not a chore, I’m all for it. It makes people-watching so much more fun.
Of course, anything can be carried to extremes. In his book, The Sweet Life in Paris, pastry chef, David Lebovitz, gives an amusing account of how he could tell that living in Paris was rubbing off on him: after lounging around in sweats all day, he shaved and dressed up to take his garbage out! (If you’re wondering who Lebovitz is, I blogged about a cooking class of his that I attended in this post.)
Years ago, when I lived on a tiny island in the San Juans, I saw photos from Fourth of July celebrations held there during the early 1900’s up to the 1920’s. What struck me about these beachfront clambakes was how decked out everyone was. The women wore dresses and fancy feathered hats, while the men wore snappy suits and hats.
Those parties of yesteryear looked so fun. I keep thinking that I want to organize an elegant picnic, where the guests are dressed in finery from some particular era. Another thing I want to do is have a glamour hike, where everyone wears fancy outfits and takes time to stop along the way to powder their noses and admire each other as well as the scenery.
My fiance enjoys playing dress up, too, which is one reason we’re getting married at a Renaissance Fair this spring. We have had a lot of fun figuring out what to wear over the past several months.
Our honeymoon includes a transatlantic voyage from Texas to Barcelona. We will have a week at sea! Naturally, I’m wondering what to pack, so the other day I Googled “what to pack on a cruise,” and while there were some practical tips, the clothing ideas were pretty dull. Some cruises, including ours, have formal nights when you are expected to dress up for your evening meal. I found quite a few people complaining about that, but I think it will be fun.
In fact, I’ve decided to treat our honeymoon trip like women used to treat trips – like a special occasion. Instead of jeans and T shirts, for instance, I plan to wear comfy dresses that I can dress up or down with costume jewelry.
I toyed with choosing a particular era, but then I realized that the beauty of the 21st century is that I can pick and choose. I can wear a flapper dress one day and a 50’s style halter dress the next. Why not?
While hunting for affordable dresses, I found a website called ChicStar. People submit their own clothing designs to ChicStar, which are voted on. Winning designs are designed and sold online. Isn’t that clever?
Many buyers submit photos of themselves wearing the outfits, too, which I find really helpful. It’s nice to see how the clothing looks on people in their everyday lives. Here is a sailor dress that I am thinking of wearing on our cruise, although I can’t decide which color. Scroll down the page to see cute photos of customers wearing the dress. I love the one where the customer has 40’s style tresses and is waving goodbye to the train.
Since there’s a pool on the cruise ship, I did some hunting and managed to snag a retro style sailor swimsuit on eBay at a fraction of the original $100 price. (I sometimes feel like the price of women’s bathing suits is inversely proportional to the amount of fabric used to make the dang things. Seems like the tinier they are the more they cost.) At any rate, I hope websites like ChicStar continue to thrive, and that more adults rediscover how much fun it is to play dress up.