I've always been fascinated with the past. This obsession is probably rooted in the idea that I'm never going to be a part of the 1920's, 30's, 40's, 50's or 60's so in my head they will always be enhanced, romanticised and only the brilliant parts dwelled upon. It's even seeped into my literature with a growing obsession with Richard Yates, a writer who's dower and supressed characters usually live in 1950's America downtrodden and beaten by the pressures and stereotypes of the era. Also by becoming interested in literature set in post depression years after the crash. I even glamorise this and think of how people would gather in downtown secret clubs to sway to Ella Fitzgerald or hustle and sing in their trinket town made of cardboard and scrap metal. This was a terrible time but there's something glamorous about a time that you were never part of.
This, obviously, boils down, mainly, to women and the fashion world of the time. In the 1920's the boyish frame was popular and drop waist straight dresses embelished with beads and sequins drapsed over the slender bodies of the wealthy women of the time. The 30's brought us gigantic flared pants and even more glamour in a time that money being spent on clothing was the last thing on the mind's of the people desperate for bread and a home.
50's of course brought us Dior couture at it's best rejoicing as the fabric rations were abolished and the huge swinging skirts and lady-like obsession struck the world.
All of these eras have something in common. They were all filled with women who looked the part. "I'm just nipping the shops it doesn't matter", was not something a lipstick lady of the 50's would ever mutter whilst still wearing her cleaning clothes.
I was talking with my mum about this just yesterday and she said that my nanna never left the house without pantyhoes and lipstick. This seems ludicrous of course to me, a child of the generation that wears pyjamas tucked into ugg boots to nip down to the post office or the mothers who never stop wearing jeans. This is not necessarily a personal boycott on comfort but I'm nostalgic for the glitz and glamous that, sadly, I feel is lacking from 2011's women.
I think it's disheartening that we don't take such pride, (I'll agree the strain on etiquette in the 1950's was a bit strenuous and this is not a bid for the return of this), in how we look.
With the return of the womanly form in a/w11 we saw Prada recreate some beautiful 60's tailoring and louis vuitton return filly to the curvaceous and sumptuous form that's very rarely celebrated nowadays. However nobody seemed to adopt this trend at all. Shearling jackets took off well, shearling boots followed, sixties casual shifts were bursting out of the seams of Topshop and river island. So where was the brilliance of the busom? The to-die-for-frame of the curvy housewife?
It's a shame we don't want to dress up. So next time you're deciding what to wear and you're having a confident day where you feel good and positive, show it in your clothes! Throw on something a bit glamorous and don't be afraid to be looked at. Because those looks are those of awe and wonder and a misplaced sense of 'I'm sure I've seen that somewhere before'.