Style with a smile?

I was reading Afua Hirsch’s article in the newspaper this weekend and I was completely in agreement with her, in this country we all try and alter our body shapes to fit clothes that often don’t flatter or simply distort our shapes and accentuate our least loved features. What madness is this?

Where did we get to this position where women really struggle to accept their bodies and love who they are? I have to admit I often visit clothing stores when the season’s change, just to keep up with what is on trend and often I leave without spending a penny. I look around and see women wearing ‘this season’s colour’ or ‘this seasons’ look’ without giving it any regard to whether it enhances her or not.

I am not bashing women and what they wear, I feel saddened that we all have pressure to fit in, I remember my svelte daughter wearing low slung jeans and a teeshirt that exposed a middle that did absolutely nothing to enhance her beautiful shape, it just made her look like her body was spilling over.

Thankfully the current trend for retro styling has allowed women to express their own sense of style – even if it is the vintage forties with victory rolls, rockabilly chic or fifties flair. There never is a better time to sew because not only can you chose your clothes and fabric that reflects who you are, but you can make clothes that don’t make you feel like you are ‘too big on the hips’ or ‘too busty!’ which is often why I have to return lovely summer dresses, they simply make me look trashy!

The great thing about making your own clothes is that you can choose everything right down to the cut or the weight of the fabric. It takes me back to the dressing up box and the most favourite item of all, a circular elasticated waistband skirt – the waistband moved with me, and it was simply glorious to spin and feel the fabric flow around my legs. That is how clothes should make us feel.

I am just back from Austria and came across shops full of dirndl dresses when I put one on it was like a childhood dream come true! I finally had a dress that I spent my childhood drawing after reading Heidi!  Not only that the blouses can solve my summer dress difficulties, they look gorgeous and feminine without exposing more than I am comfortable with.

My daughter got married and had a ‘steam punk’ wedding it was terrific fun, everyone dressed up in what they wanted to wear and I have never seen so many broadly smiling faces! We all went to the park after the ceremony for the pictures and many people thought we had come from a film set. Dressing up is fun!

If there is one thing I am passionate about it is the desire for every woman to dress to please herself and we can all take part. Next time someone is dressing ‘outside the norm’ encourage her confidence! it might just be me.

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Playing dress up

Remember the dressing up box you had as a child, the sheer pleasure of wearing something that felt wonderful, like a big circular skirt? or the dress that made you feel like a fairy princess? It is a sad thing that as adults we rarely get the chance to dress up! Goodwood revival is one of those great opportunities to dress up and have fun!

What delighted me is that there are so many people dressed up, and smiling! Clothes were from all periods from sequinned from the twenties, the grace of the thirties, with satin and fur, and the utilitarian 40’s. I personally love the fifties, mostly because I have an hourglass figure and it suits my frame.

What I noticed was that everyone was having fun, most people had dressed up and there were not just beautiful dresses but hats and gloves too. I never miss a chance to wear a hat, but the weather was very draughty, I nearly lost it a couple of times!

There is so much to see, not just fantastic cars but lots of vintage clothing stores and motorbikes. There was even a vintage tesco with all the goods packaged in vintage labels!

The racing was exciting, if noisy and we also spent some time looking at the cars in the pits! There was even a whole group dressed like the guys from Dad’s Army and very good they looked too.

These are my fellow Belle’s, we all met up for a spot of lunch. Three of the girls had made their own dresses, and it was so lovely to see them! The sun came out in the afternoon and it became Glorious Goodwood. I put my head in the dancing tent, and watched a little of the lindy hop, it is so good to see it this setting, it felt so authentic, especially as the big band was live music. It was a shame that I did not see any familiar faces otherwise I might have have been tempted to have a dance or two. 
We spent a little time in the Kenwood Kitchen seeing demonstrations, I love my kenwood, Andy brought it along with him when he moved in. I really do think he looks like a farmer, but an adorable one! 
After 6 hours we were both feeling a little footsore but happy, there was still much more to see, but we were too tired! Will definitely have to go again next year… just enough time to plan my next outfit! 

Steam Punk

In case you haven’t read it several times in this blog, one of the things I really enjoy is dressing up.
I was going to a Steam Punk Party, and my dear friend found this wedding dress for me. The bodice was red velvet but the skirt was cream silk.
I managed to dye the silk and it came out a lovely red, but it took quite a few boxes of dye!

I added the lace overskirt, which had a bustle on the back, and the jacket was already mine and has seen a number of different lives!

It was an absolute dream to wear, especially with my red rock boots!

I bought the top hat from a fancy dress shop and it was completely plain. Having researched a little about Steam Punk I was wondering how to create some of the cogs and wheels of the gadetry that goes with the Victoriana, then I happened across an old spyrograph box, the wheels were perfect, once I had sprayed them silver.

A good hour or so with my trusty glue gun and a box of metal beads, and I had created a few items for the hat and a brooch. The feathers were a lovely touch and I had some silver ribbon in my stash. (I love it when you find just the right thing in your stash, its like all the hoarding is finally justified!)

I had an old watch that wasn’t working and a broken necklace, it all looked great on the dress and was fantastic fun to make.

My daughter is very into steam punk and since she is getting married next July has decided to have a steam punk wedding!

I will have to think some more about what I am going to wear, dressing up is such fun!