Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Little Reflection

I recently came upon this quote attributed to Caroline Caldwell:

In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.

As a bona fide Little Old Lady, I’ve learned over the years that most of the advertising world is negative and if you’re taking those messages as truth you are going to be endlessly disappointed. First they make you feel insecure/ugly/guilty/wanting and then they supply you with the “cure”. I’ve always said, if there’s one thing they should teach in school along with the 3R’s it should be a course in Media Savvy. It could save so much heartache.

For my part, I have totally become “not the target market” for nearly everything out there in Consumer Land. Not really consciously - at least at first - but more by the fact that there seems to be not much that I want. Mostly it’s all just not particularly relevant to my current life. Otherwise I probably already own it. Or if I want it, can I afford it? Or if I can afford it, can I justify its purchase to myself? And I haven’t even mentioned the shoddy crap that seems to be ubiquitous these days. I shudder whenever an appliance breaks or I need new sheets and towels (my latest fruitless search for half-decent quality). Doesn’t anybody expect anything to last more than a year or two these days? Or a single laundering? But I digress.

One thing that makes me very happy is that I finally have a handle on making clothes for the body I have. Ad you might have noticed, I am getting much closer to a personal style that I love and that also works for my leisurely lifestyle. I certainly couldn’t do that if I was restricted to buying from the ladies’ dress shops! Or even like many lovely people I know, stalking the thrift stores for second-hand. Nothing fits me the way I like, comes in colours I like, or is sewn properly in good quality fabrics. If I had an unlimited clothes budget (which of course I don’t!) and couldn’t sew I would still be wearing ill-fitting clothes or taking everything to a dressmaker to fix.

It’s true that every time I say that nothing fits (or whine, sniffle, growl and complain) I get funny looks from those who just pop into a store and find clothes they can wear. This was driven home to me when I was visiting my sister in Haida Gwaii and she had the models for a charity fashion show come to try on the mostly second-hand/vintage garments that had been donated. Regular women of differing ages and body types were just popping things on and often looking amazing while doing it. Not that I was going to be there during the show, I nevertheless tried on a couple of things just for fun. And...the usual issues. If I could do up a jacket the sleeves covered my hands and the shoulders looked like refugees from the 1980’s. If it fit my shoulders I couldn’t get it around my middle. Or I couldn’t get it on at all. And long sleeves were still too long. Sigh. Nothing is made for an elderly potato with stick arms and legs. Unless I make it myself.

That ability has become my salvation! My super-power. I’m free of the dictates of current fashions, cheap fabrics, bad cutting, sloppy sewing, limited colours and lack of choices. I can make anything I want - within reason. And mostly what I want is pretty simple: T-shirts, leggings, stretch pants, tunics/jumpers, a couple of easy dresses, some shirts and jackets and maybe a vest. Layering pieces. Garments that fit under or over other garments. Not too tight or restrictive. Not too much volume. Interesting hems and collars. Pockets!

When I can wear garments that fit and feel good, it really gives my self-esteem a big boost. I can appreciate my body instead of cursing it for not being “right”. I don’t have to be young or slim or pretty. I can just be much more “me”. Definitely not the Target Market! But an individual who is comfortable and happy with herself. Even if she is an elderly potato. Heh.

So I’m still working on the Blanket. Not woven to the end yet! I can hardly wait to finish it so I can concentrate on reviewing my sewing queue. It’s been so long since I’ve even looked at the piles waiting for me. It’s ok though. Things happen in their own time. It’s my Year of the Slug, right?


Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

What a great and thoughtful post Louisa!

Sharon in Surrey said...

Beating the drum to your own tune is the best way to go!!!! It's not always easy but when you find your 'sweet spot' it's magic.

Alison said...

As another "elderly potato", who is grateful for the ability to sew, which keeps me from being forced to wear ill fitting thrifted clothing made from nasty fabrics, I applaud your point of view!! I love reading about the choices you make and the textiles you create

pao said...

Say it again, sister. Say it again.

Anonymous said...

I'm singing in your choir!
Donna in Halifax