Tuesday, 15 November 2011
What does fashion mean to me?
Reading a couple of other blogs over the last few weeks has me pondering the above question. There is no denying I adore clothes, I have far too many and yet still spend far too much of my limited cash on them.
My heart sings whenever a new season’s collection comes on show and I excitedly decide what I like and what I don’t like. One of my favourite occupations when I have a spare moment is to look at pictures of celebrities in posh frocks from whatever event happens to be on.
Now this is a habit I know I get from my Mother, who used to sit up into the early hours to watch the Oscars just so she could critique the frocks. When I still lived at home we would also pounce on the Oscars issue of’ Hello’ or ‘OK’ as soon as it was on the shelves to do exactly the same. I still look now (though online) and these days we discuss triumphs and disasters over the phone rather than in person. I know for Mum this comes partly from the fact she is a seamstress by trade. She used to sit on the top floor of a department store altering, or making clothes from scratch for wealthy ladies who didn’t want to pay couture prices. Quite often it was with just a picture and no pattern, her forte was evening gowns.
I gnash my teeth in envy of her skills which sadly I have not inherited!
Oh I can sew and make things, but I lack that extra ‘something’ that Mum has, the eye and flair to take a basic dress to another level. (If that weren’t enough she quite often knits by eye alone too, usually with spectacular results. there to I have to follow a pattern to the letter and the result can still be hit or miss!)
So yes the bliss of gazing upon a perfect evening gown is definitely something I’ve inherited from my Ma!
Yet whilst I follow fashion in the sense of what is in or out for the season/year. I don’t follow it in the sense of wearing the latest styles because they are ‘in’. I guess I have got to that stage in life where I know what suits me and that most definitely is not always what is ‘in’! I went through my teenage years slavishly following trends like most girls do. I then discovered a love of Rock music which was certainly bigger than my love of clothes at the time. I conformed to un-convention, the biker jacket, the leather mini, the ripped jeans all teamed with the gravity defying hair. I didn’t dare go out in anything that wasn’t my ‘uniform’ as my Dad called it, heaven forbid I be seen in anything even vaguely approaching fashion or un-rock chick attire!!
And Yet during those years.....
Mum and I still looked at pretty frocks! still ooh-ed and ahh-ed. (Though she freely despaired over my appearance at the time!) This was also the time my passion for 1930’s and 40’s cinema took hold and with it one for the clothes of those eras. I started to experiment a bit, add vintage pieces to my look, and care less about what someone else might think if I went to a death metal gig in an full length evening gown. (yes I really DID do that, a teal velvet one no less!) I realised I could still be a rock fan whilst wearing a pinafore dress and vintage shirt. As you may imagine this is when my wardrobe started to expand at a frightening rate. Now I was no longer confining myself to a limited range of clothing, the shopping world was my oyster and the dreadful spending/wild shopping habits were developed that I still have today. No matter how hard I try to reign them in, they still burst out every now and then as is obvious from my explodingly full wardrobe.
Until recently my clothing/fashion mojo has been in deep hibernation. The combination of a job where jeans and t-shirts were the order of the day and a gaining of much weight had made me lazy and insecure about my appearance. Yet even at this time I was still avidly watching the fashion trends and getting a real joy out of helping various friends chose outfits. (Kind of think I missed a vocation there as a personal shopper!) Since the new job this is now changing and I am remembering the pleasure of steping out in a lovely outfit and experimenting a little.
So back to the question of ‘What does fashion mean to me?’
I would say lots.
I will say here and now I have never quite understood the whole fashion industry, it takes itself too seriously and often has its head stuck so far up its own arse it's ridiculous. Those who go weak at the knees each month at ‘Vogue’ and the like, are a complete mystery to me. Why on earth would you spend that much on a magazine when 250 of its 300 pages are adverts and there is barely an article in sight? That I don’t get.
Also given the option I would rather see a picture of a real person out and about in an outfit looking fabulous, rather than some painfully thin model artfully sprawled on a forest floor. I will never NEVER get my head around paying £400 for a lime green vest because it is’ a key colour for that season’ and then discarding it as soon as the next trend arrives. I abhor sweat shops and slave labour and have stopped shopping in places that use these practices, yet I think the cost of the high end fashion ranges is obscene too, (and do also query just how ethical some of those companies are!)
and yet I do have a passion for clothes.
I love nothing better than browsing shops and my life would most definitely be a lot more empty and dull without fashion.
I hope I still get the same thrill from the latest trends when I’m old, infirm and in me bath chair!