I have never been particularly domestic. I was lucky enough to marry someone who is more than happy to cook for us and do a lot of the chores that bore me to death (that being said, I am sure they bore him too). I used to have a philosophy with clothes. If they couldn’t survive the washer and dryer, it wasn’t meant to be and until I started TAFE this year I couldn’t really iron. I had a tendency to either iron in more creases or burn/melt clothing. When I was working hubby used to iron my shirts for me. We also survived just fine in three houses (before this one) that had no clothes line as we always used our dryer.
I was also terribly unhappy in my own appearance. Like so many other women (who have been bombarded with a lifetime of media that tells us exactly how we should look) I had very low self-esteem. Bullying at high school led me to dress like everyone else for fear of having even more attention drawn to myself. I tried fake tanning (as with real sun I just turn bright red, peel and then end up pale again), I lived in jeans and t-shirts, I fried my hair trying to make it straight and I was miserable.
Oh how things have changed. At the moment I have a line full of vintage dresses that have been handwashed (on a clothes line that isn’t covered in spider webs), and when they are dry I will be ironing them. Some of them need mending so I will hand sew what I can, and set up the machine tomorrow to do the rest. I am learning what each fabric needs. I no longer have shrunken knits – as I handwash all my woollen knits and then lay them flat to dry. I am learning how different fabrics need to be treated. I am learning things that a few decades ago every woman knew. I love my clothes so much and I want them to last as long as possible.
But it wasn’t just becoming more domesticated. What started with one pencil skirt has turned into a wardrobe of beautiful things that make me happy when I wear them. I never felt “me” in jeans and a t-shirt. Not only do I feel fabulous when I walk out the door in a beautiful vintage dress, fully fashioned stockings and a fabulous hat – I feel like I am saying I am perfectly happy just how I am. I am no longer trying to hide. I dress for me. For how it makes me feel. It gave me confidence. I get compliments all the time and it also taught me to accept them. To thank people instead of responding by pointing out all my flaws.
One of the hardest things I had to deal with was the difference between my bust/hip measurements. The mega boobs made it almost impossible to find clothes that fit me properly. Vintage (at least in the eras I am interested in) is cut differently. If I find something that fits my boobs, it almost always fits perfectly in the waist. For so long I hated my body as my mega boobs not only made shopping harder, but they drew unwanted attention. I hated my body so much.
Today things are different. I feel more confidence in myself. I am not afraid of people noticing me. I have learnt how to look after clothing properly. I have become passionate about living more minimally (with the exception of my ever growing collection of hats…). When I get dressed I am always happy with how I look. I no longer hate my body (which has led to me lovingly caring for it instead of trying to starve it and torture it into submission).
So ladies, how has wearing vintage changed you?
Miss Fairchild xoxo