“Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.”Vivienne Westwood
In just over a week, I will be 37 years old. And for over half of those 37 years, I have found myself experiencing with fashion, reinventing myself time and time again, looking for a feeling. A feeling that comes from being happy in whatever it is that I am wearing, a feeling that tells me that I am being my most authentic self. I’ve gone from trying to fit in with whatever the current trend is to experimentation with emo and goth fashion and even went through an Elle Woods phase. And, while each of those fashion ventures certainly provided a bit of fun, I never really felt at home or completely comfortable in them. In every possible way, it felt like I was trying too hard. Fast fashion makes it so simple to reinvent yourself over and over again before you finally really discover, or come to terms with, who you are. Not that I encourage fast fashion. I most certainly do not. Respectfully, I prefer sustainable brands that follow fair trade practices. While you may spend more on a sustainably sourced garment, you’ll be getting something that is superior in quality and lasts much longer.
Getting off of my soapbox, my purchases have become more deliberate. It is more about finding pieces and color palettes that I have hand-selected for myself these days. The pandemic gave me so much time to reflect on myself and really take stock of who I am. As an avid reader and lover of history, I have always held an affinity for Victorian and Edwardian fashions; so much so that I have had a Pinterest board dedicated to them for years. They are the loveliest things that have ever existed. While nearly floor-length walking skirts are rarely considered practical in modern times, they are always beautiful. And, while I may be on the receiving end of bewildered glances from strangers, I always feel so fabulous and content in historical fashion than I ever did in anything else.
Fascinatingly, had I taken into consideration long ago my passion for history and historical fashion, I would have pursued a degree in history. Something about the study of it feels much like traveling back in time. The stories, the photographs, the clothes are so enchanting; at least, they are to me.
One of my favorite things about historical women’s fashion is the focus on modesty. While I am certainly quite comfortable with my own body, I have never really felt the need to show it off to the world. On the contrary, I have a preference for high necklines, high waistlines, and low hemlines. The lovely lines and silhouettes of historical fashion for ladies highlight the body without being excessively revealing. And, as a bonus, historical clothing allows for layering that provides loads of warmth in colder months and the way these styles cover the body prevents my delicate, pale skin from burning. On a related note, I have found that I also love hats, because they mask what I consider to be an enormous forehead.
Fashion inspiration can be found anywhere. It really just depends on what you are into. For me, it has always been movie adaptations of Jane Austen novels and Anne Shirley during her career as the only schoolteacher in Avonlea. The costumes are always so absolutely dreamy and, in my opinion, Anne will always be my favorite fashion icon.
Finding your own personal style is so important, because it is one of the easiest ways to express one’s self to the rest of the world. Enduring confused glances from strangers becomes easier. And, sometimes, you’ll find that people are drawn to converse with you just based on your clothing alone. It is something that I absolutely encourage. Experiment, reinvent yourself, and do it again until you find the feeling that you are searching for from your wardrobe. Since figuring it out for myself, I have found that I am spending significantly less on clothing. I no longer feel the need to make purchase after purchase in a desire to fit in. Instead, I buy very deliberately and seldomly. The color palette that I have chosen for myself consists of reds, browns, greens (darker or more muted shades), and yellows (again, darker shades, like mustard) as they so beautifully accent my naturally blonde hair.
To that end, I am also learning to sew in the interest of being able to make certain pieces for myself. Edwardian walking skirts, capes, Victorian coats, petticoats to wear under my garments during the winter months… I intend on learning to do all of it, once I stop allowing myself to be so intimidated by my sewing machine.
With the sincerest hope that you have found your most authentic self, I bid you an absolutely enchanting day.