Friday, February 03, 2017

Déjà Vu All Over Again

What were we were saying about signs of spring? Today, not so much. It's all my fault - I bought seeds for the garden! Weather likes nothing else than to be perverse like that. Yup.

So while I've been spinning wool I've been letting my mind wander around the subject of Clothing This Body. As a card-carrying Little Old Lady, I enjoy seeing all the fun that older women are having with their personal style. And of course ignoring the rude and negative comments from some members of the peanut gallery. They are just envious of our creativity and casual insouciance! After all, we don't have to dress to please anyone else but ourselves. We have earned the right over time and through personal experience. Now we can play!

You can read a whole bunch of fashion do's and don't's, identify your figure with a fruit or geometric shape, have your colours done or follow favourite fashion celebrities. But really it all boils down to how you actually feel in your clothes, doesn't it? Simple, elaborate, functional, pretty, casual, professional, arty, androgynous or whatever. You are the only one who can really define your preferences for you! Personally, I aim for comfortable but with a bit of a creative twist. Here's my outfit from yesterday. You might recognise the sweater as the last one I finished knitting. The pinafore looks purple but really it's a tiny plaid that mostly reads as brown.

Because I make my own clothes, I'm not limited by what's available in the stores in my style and size. Thank all that is holy!!! Or I would very likely be wearing vintage rags by now! (Oh wait - maybe I do?) In an attempt to kick my slumbering sewjo back into gear, I've been playing with creating my own version of a fashion croquis. This is a body sketch that you can trace over and draw in garment ideas to help you decide what works for you in silhouette and length. It can also help you put together outfits, find the holes in your collection and record successful combinations. However, the standard fashion croquis is ridiculous. Here's one version I borrowed for example:

So long and leggy! Who is really 9 heads tall? Anybody? I'm pretty short so I measure about 6 1/2 heads tall:

Aren't I adorable? Heh. This sketch was based directly on a photograph so no faking going on here! It shows my narrow sloping shoulders, wider hips, lack of a waist, low bust, slim and short arms and legs, and long torso. Note that I did NOT say these were figure flaws! Just reality. The body I live in and must clothe. It just doesn't look exactly like the bodies that you normally see in the media and it's obviously not the one that fashion designers work with. I tend to fall between so many cracks. I don't fit regular (too tight) or plus-sizes (too huge in the upper body). I'm short enough to be petite but I'm too long in the torso. I morph between 2 or even 3 sizes in sewing and many knitting patterns. Big 4 patterns often cut off their smaller and larger multi-sized patterns right where I need them not to. I have learned the hard way to adjust everything and I am so much happier with my clothes now! I can't express this enough. Clothes that fit properly are a miracle. They make me so much feel better about myself. Truly.

I hope you don't think I'm unhappy with this body I inhabit? I'm not at all. It's a little wrinkled and saggy in a few places, a little bony or fluffy in a few others. I wear glasses and hearing aids. But it works pretty darned well for its age! I can walk 10k, dig in the garden, do fine motor skills, touch my toes and all with minimal pain. I don't need any medications except ibuprofen for the occasional migraine. My complaints are relatively few. When I was younger I admit I felt envy for the pretty, tall and willowy types but then I realised that they aren't happy with themselves either. So I decided that since this is the body I have and there are no refunds or exchanges, it's definitely worth loving and taking good care of it. You know, so it will last me for maybe another 30 years? I'm not done with it yet. And I have more clothes to make first. Slowly.

I'm sure you will be seeing some of the clothing sketches I'll be making with my croquis. A couple of people have published books of croquis already printed for use but again they don't look like me. I'd rather make my own. It's not that hard. I just took a photo of me in a neutral pose (I also have another in a slightly more fashion pose), printed it out and traced my outline by hand the old-school way with a pencil. Then I scanned the pencil drawing and saved it as a JPEG in order to be able to print multiples of them. If you have the right software and are better at tracing electronically you could do it that way instead. Honestly your true body shape might look somewhat odd to you at first but it soon looks very normal. Much more normal than Miss 9-Heads anyway!

And lastly, YES, it is still snowing! And we're back to slippery streets again. Blech. Good thing we stocked up on fruits and veggies. I'm not going anywhere for awhile.


Anonymous said...

Amen!! Well said. Too bad we wait so long to become wise.
Donna on the East Coast

Louisa said...

Thank you, Donna! Lovely to get your comment. I will have more to say on aging and style in a future post.

Heather said...

I think you look fabulous - creative, unique and very well put together. You could do a book on aging and style and I bet it would be a best seller!