Julie Lyles Carr: Monday Musings...What is Fashion, Anyway?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Musings...What is Fashion, Anyway?

  Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.
Edna Woolman Chase

Given that I was cooped up in a hotel room for a great deal of the weekend with a 5 year old and a 23 month old since the city we were visiting decided this was the time to get all their needed rain for the year in a 36 hour period, I had a little time on my hands. We watched 2 of 8 compete her dances, then made a mad dash for the car, umbrellas blowing, rain soaking us to the bone. (Side note...you can dry several items of clothing with a hotel blow dryer, if necessary.)

Once back to the hotel, our soggy shoes drying out and our hair eight kinds of lovely, the little girls and I kicked back and vegged out on some television. Pickings were slim as I cruised through the channels, but I did come across the final Lord of the Rings film, The Return of the King. Now I don't know about you, but I think Orcs are a little hard to take for the under ten year old set (heck, they're a little hard for me to take), so I knew we couldn't linger long on the epic. But I did get to see the scene where Liv Tyler's elvin character, Arwen, return to the elf city and confronts her father, willing to die for the love of Aragorn by not escaping with the other elves from the coming war. As she comes riding in to the village, her beautiful periwinkle gray velvet cape billows behind her and upon dismounting her horse, she unfastens this gorgeous garment and allows it to cascade to the leaf-strewn ground behind her as she climbs the steps to her father's home.

And I thought, "I want a periwinkle gray velvet cape to billow behind me and to cascade dramatically to the leaf-strewn ground."

Of course, I would need the ability to make certain moments go in slow motion, stop frame.

And I'd need to look as ethereal as Liv Tyler.

And I don't see either of those things happening very soon.

But it did get me to thinking about those types of clothes that are iconic, romantic, sweeping, dramatic. It brought to mind all the amazing dresses Vivian Leigh wore in Gone With the Wind. It made me think of Julie Andrew's wedding gown in The Sound of Music. Fabric as wave, lace as clouds.

Living in the hot climes of this country as I do, I realize my skirted fantasy is not exactly realistic. I can't even imagine how women survived settling this part of the country with the humidity and monsoons and hurricanes and heat and humidity and heat and humidity, all while wearing multiple layers and pantaloons and the like.

But it still looks awfully wonderful.

Teenager of the 1980's that I am, I also have a little jealousy going for my mother's high school years. In every picture, she looks timeless and classic, little twin sets, plaid wool skirts, Peter Pan colors, tea length dresses. The main fashion contributions of my high school years were things straight out of a Madonna video or anything wildly neon. And when I had my colors done back in the day and was told unequivocally I was an Autumn, I didn't see any neon on that chart.

But we all still wore it.

And we all looked faintly nauseous and pale most of the time.

So I've got a little list going in my head if I ever decide to go all Crazy Cat Lady and begin to wear whatever the heck I want whenever the heck I want. First would be the periwinkle gray cape. And then the green velvet curtain dress from Gone with the Wind. And then maybe a dress or two that Grace Kelly wore in Rear Window.

And now you must play along. What item of clothing or costume just calls out to you, makes you long for an event in which to enclose yourself in its silken embrace? What fashion era do you long for, wishing to ensconce yourself in its timelessness or drama? Write a post on this topic and put the url of your post and your name in the Mister Linky's box below or leave your contribution in the comment box. Tell us What TO Wear!

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