Thursday, April 2, 2009

I (don't) love the 80s

But I do love the 50s.

Shopping last night with Kate (seriously, she does exist and will be posting here, it's just she has 4 kids and a hell of a lot less time than I do) in Old Navy and I'm rifling through the sale racks at the back of the store. I've got my hands on an acid yellow scoop neck t-shirt, a hot pink cotton cardigan, and a crisp little white cotton blazer on the sale rack. I'm holding up the blazer, appraising its possible usefulness in my summer wardrobe and suddenly have this flashback to my unhappy adolescence, because, you see, I've worn it all before.

Which is to say that in the world of clothing trends and styles, everything old is new again.

If that's the case, then why, oh why, can't we return to the silhouettes and styles of the 50s. Being a curvy girl (well, to be honest, let's call me Rubenesque) with an hourglass figure and terrible legs, I can't remember the last time that current trends actually suited me. Actually, I don't think they ever did. When mini-skirts came back in the 80s (with or without leggings), I was pooched because I've got terrible, tree-stump legs and a round-apple butt. When black tights, Doc Martens, and cut off jean shorts were de rigeur on university campuses in the 90s, I was also screwed, although I could (and did) rock the palazzo pant/scoop neck T look of the same era. And even if I wasn't too fat and old for low-rise jeans when they hit the stores at the turn of the century, there's no way I could have pulled them off with all the junk in my trunk.

As a result, I've been in fashion limbo for years. By necessity, I'm a big fan of dressing to suit your figure and not just what's in the stores, but there are times when it would be nice to run with the herd and just look, well, current.

And this is why I'd really like it if what was current was perhaps a bit more elegant and forgiving for those of us with hips and butts and boobs. Something a little more reminiscent of the 50s, perhaps, than the 80s.

Every time someone like John Galliano revisits Dior's New Look (technically from the late 40s but the silhouette lasted for years), I practically roll around on the pages of Vogue, trying to soak up some of that delicious glamour for myself. What I would do for full skirts that fall below the knee (my cankles would still be visible, but you can't have everything), fitted jackets and blouses that make your waist appear tiny, portrait necklines to show off your decollete. My God, the return of the waist would be revolutionary after nearly a decade of ever-lowering-rise jeans!

Of course, a true return to structured fashion won't ever happen because it just doesn't suit our fast-paced lifestyle anymore. For one thing, it requires proper foundation garments and snapping on a waspy before putting on your fitted suit for the morning school run just isn't going to happen.

(Although, in defense of waspys and other forms of corsetry, if you've ever worn one, perhaps for your wedding, you will know what heaven they are. You can relax against them and stand up straight all at the same time.)

But maybe, with the advent of things like Dove's Real Beauty campaign, whoever designs mass-market clothing will realize that skinny jeans and leggings aren't user-friendly to most women. That we are not all shaped like tubular columns, that round butts and big boobs should be flattered, not flattened.
I think I'll just have to continue bucking the trend and accept, finally, at age 38 that I will just never fit in. What I need to do is have some 50s inspired clothing made for me and I'll look so fabulous that it will inspire others to follow suit. Keep that in mind if you ever see a buxom blonde swinging down the street in a full skirt and fitted shirt, because it just might just be me.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

I love the 50's too! I really think that very soon we'll start to see a more 50's inspired look. In fact, last summer I bought a pair of dresses (by an independant designer unfortunately) that are completely inspired by classic day dresses! Just wait...H&M will follow suit soon!