Mea Culpa! So much for ‘no more clothes’ - I was walking back to the car park and had to pass the Hospice Charity Shop. So I went in, just for a browse, and the opportunity to wind down after teaching [last week was a good one - 2½ days of work after a spell with none]
There was a Next dress on the rail, and I pulled it out to look at it. It looked unworn, and I liked the shape, and the neckline, and..
After some discussion with the volunteer assistant, I decided to try it on. I was wearing lots of clothes because of the weather, and it took ages to get to the point where I was in the dress. But it fitted well. Except…it had silly little cap sleeves which were totally unflattering. I suspect that the original owner had bought it and then hated them too.
The assistant, and the other customer both agreed it was the sleeves that were the problem.
I slipped on a jacket – and looked again in the mirror. The three of us felt that the dress looked excellent like that, and just needed a belt.
I slipped out of the dress and got back into my wintry woollies. Studying the construction carefully, I realised it would be quite possible to unpick the sleeves and re-sew the lining, to make a sleeveless shift. I parted with my £4, and brought it home.
I have modified the dress, and it not only works fine as a shift on its own. but also sits well over a shirt or polo neck sweater.
It is a rather ho-hum grey-beige tweed fabric but I think some bright accessories or jacket will liven it up a little. And it is such a good neutral basic garment I can see me wearing it a lot.
The post-weight-loss Next dress I bought in September has already been worn so much. I hope this one will be in and out of the wardrobe too. The false placket on the front makes it a little more interesting, and the fuller skirt makes it comfortable to wear. It feels suitably ‘professional’ to wear for teaching or preaching. It’s a good ‘Sunday’ dress.
My modified shift has a wonderfully sixties retro vibe to it – I found a picture of Jackie Kennedy in a very similar one. I’m beginning to think I am fifty years too late with my fashion choices!
PanAm is back on a Saturday night, and I have also been busily watching ‘MadMen’ which is also set in the Kennedy era. Liz and Steph had recommended MadMen, and I was able to reserve the Series One DVD set free from the Library the other Saturday. MM is all about the Mad [ison Avenue ] Men who work in the advertising industry which really took off in the States after the end of WW2.
As far as I can see, there were two major downsides to 1960s styles.
First, the dreadfully uncomfortable underpinnings required – women squeezed themselves into their ‘girdles’ to get a smaller waistline and a flat stomach. The sales of tights [pantyhose] did not exceed those of stockings until 1970.
Second, the fabrics- terylene, polycotton, and lycra [spandex] were still relatively new – clothes were expensive to produce, and maintenance and laundry was not so easy.
But now, if you need a little help with your figure, then there is softer, washable “Shapewear”[personally I prefer to be comfortable, not compressed]. And automatic washing machines and washable fabrics make the whole business of laundry so much easier.
I have friends who would love to float around in Jane Austen Empire Line dresses, and others who prefer the Edwardian style of the Downton Abbey frocks – but give me the chic styling of Jackie Kennedy shifts and Audrey Hepburn LBDs and the sheer fun of Mary Quant shifts and Twiggy’s miniskirts any day!
What’s your preferred fashion era? Why?