I've assumed that 20s, 30s and 60s fashion doesn't work for me. I need a waist definition, so the 20s and the A-line shift dresses of the 60s are a no-no. The hip-hugging 30s dresses with puffy sleeves accentuates totally wrong for me.
1936. Cute, but I'd never feel comfortable with so much puff at the shoulders.
But is that really true? Or is it worth testing this axiom? All right, yes, certain styles within an era might not work for me, but when ever does all the fashion variations from any era suit one person? Fashion through all ages has always been diverse, as in no point through history has everyone looked the same. Differences within a style can make that style work for very different body types, and I'm beginning to wonder if maybe when looking at period fashion sources (primarliy magazines and patterns) I'm giving the photo's/drawings too much credit. All the girls there looks the same, as they fulfill whatever beautyideal was prevalent at the time, but that's not how reality would have looked.
I started this summer with my 30s inspired wedding guest ensamble, and look! What would you know, it worked! However, I've been reluctant to leave my style-axioms behind, figuring that since it was just an A-line skirt on the bias it wasn't really 30s. But then I looked closer at a bunch of patterns and it seems the everyday wear of most of the 30s was worn with A-line skirts, not even on the bias all the time. And the huge, puffy sleeves? Yes, esp towards during 1935-1938 (approx) it seemes they were all the rage. But there was room for personal adaptions, just look at these blouses:
1936. All sorts of sleeves! On the same page!
So maybe I should give the 30s a real chance before I toss it out the window?
But my real eyeopener was when I tried on a late 20s/early 30s dress this Christmas. The story of how it entered my life is a cute one, and the details of the dress are amazing (albeit hard to see in this small, dark and partly blurry photo), but that's a post of it's own. You'll see more of this dress at a later date, I promise! Now I want to stay on track... so where was I? Right, bodyimage, time-eras and challenging my axioms.
This dress was made during an era when fahion appears to go 100% against what I know works for me, but it was obviously made for someone with a figure resembling mine. There's no apparent waistdefinition, but when I move, one can clearly see I have a waist. Also, while not emphasising my waist, it presents my derriere in a more flattering way than I have ever seen before. When made, it was fashionable, but still flattering for a figure totally opposite of the fashionable lithe girl.
So why do we dismiss entire eras ('cause I know I'm not alone in this) on the basis of not corresponding to the period fashionable bodytype? I think I need to get a bit braver, start exploring other eras and try to make them work for me. Who knows, maybe I'll discover another previous no-no fashion that becomes a favorite! =) I might even make a 60s shiftdress... I can't see how that could ever look good on me, but on the other hand, I've never tried! How can I be so totally sure if I've never tested? And here I think sewing gives me an advantage: had I just looked for vintage pieces or RTW, I would soon be discouraged (and has been in the past). Sewing it myself presents me with the golden chance of fitting the garment so it actually fits, and then maybe a tight 30s skirt or an A-line 60s shift dress can be made to look good on me.
How about you? Do you keep to one era or mix around? Has the fashionable body type of an era ever scared you away from that era? Ever had a similar experience to mine, when a style you thought never in a millions years would look good on you, suprised you with looking totally gorgeous?