Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mini thoughts

My sister (who is taller than I am , and could wear minis with style if she wanted to) had the following comment:

"B-- and a lot of men at the lake seemed very interested in buying CDs from the young lady with the band at the Country Hoe Down that was selling the band's CDs. She had a little mini denim skirt on just below her butt with white boots. She was blonde, very fit with very tan legs.

None of the men mentioned that she looked undignified or child like, hee hee. They stood in line to get that band's CDs very patiently!

I thought it was funny. When one of the women asked if I would wear such a thing I said, H**** YES, if my legs looked like that AND I was her age.

It was very amusing.

However, if you are a normal woman, short skirts ride up when you sit and everything hangs out."

We are fortunate to live in in a place and time where we can wear what we want. I'd be the last person to tell a woman what to wear - I was voted Most Liberated in high school, after all. When I started high school girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school. (Part of our argument was that skirts of the 70's showed more legs than pants, and thus pants were actually more modest than the skirts in style at the time. Which was entirely true. We won.) But we can't rest on our laurels. It seems like every generation ends up having to fight for the freedom to dress as they please.
Other cultures and countries are still trying to control what people wear - for morality's sake (always their excuse). The Clothes Police even want to dictate women's underwear! France has outlawed full veils and Britain looks like it will follow.
In the interest of Free Speech (and what is more of an expression than what you wear?) I stand firmly on the side of being able to wear or not wear whatever we please. So it turns out, after some thought, that I am technically in favor of the right to wear mini-skirts.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mini Skirts - yes or no?

The pattern above would be cute made today at the above-the-knee length shown at right. But I would have never worn the mini length - my mother would never have let me out of the house!

I don't like clothes that require the wearer to be careful. That's one reason out of many why I don't like short skirts. I don't like fussing with my clothes, or watching how I sit or stand or lean over. I think skirts that are too short are sexist and make women appear childlike and undignified. I think that the super short skirts offered by stores like Anthropologie and Forever 21 are silly. But hey- that's my opinion. What do you think? Are short-short skirts a tool of male oppression (which sadly deluded women unthinkingly buy) or are they cute?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quotable Friday

“Mostly I decided to try writing because I didn’t have to be young and beautiful and thin to do it,”
Jennifer Salt, screenwriter for Eat,Pray,Love

"No one wants to see curvy women. You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly."
Karl Lagerfeld

"Instead of trying to downplay your curves, find a designer or style that glorifies them. There are designers who simply don't design for people with shape and there are those — like L'Wren Scott or Roland Mouret — who do exactly that. Once you find what looks best on you, stick with it."
Christina Hendricks

I would rather have lunch with Christina Hendricks than Karl Lagerfeld (that old mean lizard! Is he even human?).

My favorite part of Eat, Pray, Love was when she was trying on jeans in Italy and nothing fit because she had been eating gelato all day, every day, and she kept having to ask for bigger jeans! She had been so sad and fragile when she arrived, and as part of her recovery, had finally begun to learn to feed her soul.
The contrast of thin and fragile versus plump and happier was not lost on me.

What do you think of the war between curvy and thin? Who's right, Lagerfeld or Hendricks?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Something's Missing

A friend commented on my last post and she said the reason we like vintage patterns so much was that they were "grown-up clothes". Nowadays, she said, the clothes are all for kids. "They never show what the clothes look like on someone over 16." she complained. "or a person of color, or a handicapped person." I agreed. It's as if anyone old or handicapped or ethnic doesn't exist in fashion retail world. "Don't they want my money?" she complained.
A co-worker asked me how I shop for clothes now that I can't walk that far. I shop online or I sew my clothes, I told her. Going to the mall is just too hard for me.
"They don't make it easy to spend money." she said.
This made me start thinking, why is it so difficult to find clothes for grown-ups? And why does retail ignore older women, larger women, ethnic women, handicapped women...basically all women who don't fit their very narrow demographic? Something is wrong if almost all of my coworkers, in all ages and size ranges, feel left out by retail fashion. They have money to buy clothes, but they can't find anything that fits. Or they can fit into the clothes, but the clothes are inappropriate for adults.
"You're lucky you can sew", my neighbor said. Believe me, I know it.
I feel like Carrie Bradshaw by ending my essay by asking, "Where does a woman find grown-up clothes today?"

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just in Time

Just in time for Season 4 of Mad Men:Simplicity 4036. Admire the short fitted jacket with raglan sleeves and the understated tie neck. That dress neckline was made for an elegant brooch. Nothing was ever placed in those welt pockets on her hips. Nothing - a lady never has anything in her pockets, my mother always said, (So get your hands out of there!) I can see Trudy or Joan wearing this.

The back suggests, among other choices:...brocade, shantung, faille, silk alpaca, peau de soie, satin, wools, crepe, tweeds...
Just imagine wearing this out to lunch or dinner in an elegant restaurant. Men would rise when you walked in. (They don't do that when you're wearing jeans.)
They race to open doors and hail cabs for you. (They don't do that when you're wearing jeans!) The only things in that purse (which smells of Shalimar inside, faintly) is a lipstick (red!), a powder compact, a comb and cab fare.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Girls just want to have fun

My sister emailed me after my post below to ask:

"What makes underwear "fun?" The pattern? Little duckies on them?"

A question great minds have been asking since Ancient Egypt (That's what those hieroglyphs mean!)

Quotable Friday

In which we share our favorite quotes:

Françoise Sagan wrote: “A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to take it off you.”
The New York Times advises: Buy some fun, new underwear.

I'm always in favor of new undergarments. Can't go wrong there. But I wonder what dress would meet Mme Sagan's strict guidelines?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Being Wrong

It is pretty universal across the human race that most of us just hate to be wrong. It embarrasses us, makes us uncomfortable, makes us avoid situations where wrongness might occur. My BFF from high school and I both confessed that we had majored in certain majors in college to avoid the more difficult kinds of math. (Hello, Ancient History! Taking Classical Greek and Latin was nothing compared to my dislike of Calculus.) When I was a kid my dad would yell at us older kids because our younger brother would cry when we beat him at cards and board games, screaming, "Let him win for once, damn it!" (my younger brother turned out to be a perfectly nice person in spite of this, or maybe because of it. Who can say for sure?) We just hated to lose. We didn't like to be wrong at anything, and even now my sister cannot bear typos in letters or memos, and both my children are demon proofreaders and grammarians. (These things run in families.)
All this week I have been reading Kathryn Schulz's Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, and sometimes stopping and reading the best parts to Mr. Hunting Creek (who after having been married for thirty years knows all about wrongness.)
Do you reload the dishwasher after someone else has loaded it? Do you reset the table, turning the knives the right direction and refolding napkins?
Don't you just hate it when someone corrects you? (Even though correcting others is a breech of etiquette and they very seldom appreciate it.)
The paradox of wrongness is that only by being prepared to be wrong and taking risks do we learn new things. Part of the fun of travel is being wrong in a new place. You don't know the customs or the language and the possibility of wrongness is ever-present. of course, that's what makes it fun, too. The tension of wrongness. I am always interested in the topic of wrongness because my work involves helping people who have made mistakes or encountered errors in software or programming and I have to diagnose their errors. And I have had a very personal experience with wrongness in the medical profession, as I was misdiagnosed for two and a half years before it was determined that I had multiple sclerosis. I was told that I was depressed, or had an ulcer, or cancer, or was imagining my symptoms. So yes, wrongness is a topic that I have experienced firsthand.
As a creative person, I have to be willing to take risks and try new things in order to create. We have all experienced the frustration when a project is not coming out the way we visualized it. Some of my fellow sewistas call their failures "wadders", and they mentally (or literally) wad them up and toss them. Not everything we make comes out perfectly. Sometimes everything goes right but we just don't love what we've made. It's a crapshoot. (Oh, but when everything goes right, we are so happy!)
We don't learn new skills if we stay in our comfort zone, so in order to grow as an artist, one has to be wrong a little bit, make mistakes, and flail around creatively, until one can be right. How very zen, yes? You have to choose wrongness to achieve rightness in the end.
Kathryn Schultz has been interviewing 'experts' on Wrongness on Slate this past month, and I have found the the conversations very enlightening. (I especially enjoyed Anthony Bourdain's remarks.)
After reading the book I resolved to not rearrange the dishes after Mr. Hunting Creek loads the dishwasher. (At least, not when he's watching.) And I'm trying not to always sound like I know something about certain topics, when any rational person could guess that I know less than nothing about making goat cheese, weaving baskets and training horses in dressage (all topics I have recently discussed with friends.)
It's an entertaining book. I was right to read it. And I love being right.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A summer wind, a cotton dress

Doesn't this dress just make you want to put on your gloves, spray on some ozone-depleting Aqua net and rush to the Junior League Tea to Fund Raise for some lady-like cause?

Here's the pattern back, for all of you Vintage Detail junkies.

This is a dress that wants to made out of some pretty cotton, with flowers. The kind of dress Richard Shindell was remembering.
If you want to be part of a Don Draper flashback, find it here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thirty Years and counting...

We took a blog break to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary.(Yes, Mrs. Hunting Creek was a child bride.)

My favorite part of Sunday is reading the wedding announcements in the New York Times. Sometimes people have cute meeting stories, like they were introduced by their dads, or met at a Halloween party, or sat next to each other on a flight with severe turbulance. We met at freshman orientation at U.C. Irvine, at a toga party.
The boys were having their faces painted with lightning bolts a la David Bowie. I was doing faces, and I did his face with a particularly fine bolt. He commented, "One day, we'll tell our grandkids that this is how we met." I laughed and signed my name on his shoulder with the eyebrow pencil so he'd remember my name.
(It worked for me, but your results may differ.)