Thursday, July 25, 2013

What We Wear . . . and Why

Have you seen Sewaholic's newest pattern, the Saltspring dress?  It is absolutely adorable.  And for about five minutes, I looked for the perfect rayon challis to make the maxi dress version and then I remembered I'm forty-nine years old and the dress design, while adorable, is too young for me.  Not wanting to give up, I actually considered making it for Aimee's fifteen year old daughter, who would look so crazy cute in it, but I realized the Selfish Seamstress would feel a great disturbance in The Force if I actually volunteered to sew for someone else.  I reminded myself of the dozen and dozens of patterns I already own that I will never be able to wear because time is flying by and I'll grow so old my arthritic fingers will wither, and I finally regained my senses.

And that got me thinking about what we wear, and what I wear, and what is in fashion. It was a classic sartorial existential crisis, dear readers.  Because, basically, I believe anything goes these days, despite what fashion magazines portray and Target sells. The incredibly popularity of vintage patterns and reissues of vintage patterns are a testament that sewers, at least, pay little attention to Vanity Fair.

And I truly believe that other people do not care one whit what I wear, as long as what I wear is clean and not too revealing.  I would venture to say that my co-workers aren't the least bit surprised by anything I wear because I've been there 20 years and not only have I worn a dress with blue crabs on it, but if I really like something, I literally wear it for years.  I could show up wearing a tiara (and I have) and they barely shoot me a glance.

So how could a cute dress pattern be "too young" and therefore unacceptable?  I don't know, but instinctively I knew it was.  I was deeply struck by Trina's post from some years back about her philosophy of dressing - that her goal was to feel cute every day, and any clothes that didn't produce such feeling were ditched.  Gone were the practical "work clothes" - she wears what makes her happy and makes her feel cute and I think she's right on the money.   Particularly since I believe, as stated above, people do not truly care what others wear.

Any dress that makes me uncomfortable, either physically or emotionally, isn't going to make me feel great about the day.  If I am wearing something "too young" I am going to feel self-conscious, which is the antithesis of "cute".  "Too young" is any dress that makes me feel ridiculous, and that is saying something for someone whose favorite dress has blue crabs on it.  But that dress makes me feel fab (sorry Vicki) and I remember dancing around it the day I finished it.  It's like we were meant for each other.

So I'm passing on the Saltspring maxi dress, even though I know that maxi skirt would feel amazing fluttering in a summer evening breeze, and I'm going with a vintage shirtdress pattern I've been wanting to try for several years because 2013 is the Year of the Shirtdress.  And after seeing Erin's dress, I am making it in Michael Miller's "Lock and Key":

So yeah, the Saltriver dress is too young for me, but I'm going to be wearing a 1962 shirtdress that has keys on it.  Which just demonstrates that "appropriateness" is all relative, dear readers.  We live in a era where we each get to decide what is right for us, whether it is the latest from Michael Kors or whether it is a 1950s wiggle dress we sewed ourselves, and no one cares.

In a perfect world, I'll cut this baby out tomorrow night so I can just start sewing Saturday morning after my cup of tea and chocolate for breakfast while I watch "This Old House".  Because that is how I roll, people.

1 comment:

Lindah said...

Ha ha, good post. Definitely, anything goes in my little town in northern CA. The saltspring dress is quite nice, has a lot of good/functional style built into the pattern and attractive, too. But I'm sure I'm a bit too mature for the style. And I'm finding that the practical interpretation of the 'anything goes' style has become somewhat narrower in my perspective these days, practical being the key word. hmm, I wonder how that happened? ;-)