Vintage vs. modern

… the endless quest for my personal style.

Having a job wich requires quite a few field trips, I often have the opportunity to spend my lunch breaks browsing shopping malls throughout Germany ans Switzerland.
A few days ago I was standing in the middle of a store, wondering what I was doing there. Would they have anything that suits my style? And, speaking of style, what IS my style anyway?

This turned out to be the core questions – more than 40 years old and still looking for “my” style, isn’t it sad?  And even if it hurts to admit it, my fascination with the fashions of the 30ies and 40ies is not very helpful in that area.

Let’s talk about everyday wear, professional attire for my job.

  • My clothes have to be comfortable. I am a salesperson for technical instruments and I often visit manufacturing plants and laboratories. I often have to lift heavy stuff from the trunk or onto lab tables … elegant little dresses with high heels are not working.  “Rosie the Riveter” style with dungarees and scarf around the head is not working either as I feel my customers would look upon this as some sort of fancy dress.
  • I am to insecure, too conventional or whatever to really pull of the 40ies look consistently. I want clothes wich are stylish but inconspicuous enough to be perceived as a person not as a freak who dresses up strangely.
  • I’m a size 20 and many clothes just don’t look good in that size, period. Ultrashort puff sleeves, to name only one of them. Admittedly, this is equally true for modern stuff, sometimes even more so.
  • RESULT: I cannot and do not want to wear 100% authentic 40ies clothes everyday, it doesn’t fit into my lifestyle. Too elegant, too overdressed, too impractical.

What now? Give up the whole concept and simply wear RTW stuff?

On the other hand

  • I do not like 90% of the clothes which are available these days and they don’t look good on me.
  • Most of the stuff you get for plus size ladies (at least here in Europe) are linnen “potatoe sack dresses” , blouses hanging down to your knees and “practical” pants with elastic waistband. Thank you, but no thank you.
  • I have yet to find a pair of RTW pants which actually fit me and I don’t like the modern pants patterns anyway. Tapered legs just look ridiculous on plus size people, I don’t want to look like a ball on stilts.
  • These days, the skirts of suits always end over the knee which is totally out of the questions for me.
  • Sometimes I have the impression that everything is grey, brown or tan – how drab!
  • I do not consider Jeans and T-Shirts to be a real outfit, even if lots of my colleagues are wearing it every day. Their fashion statement obviously manifests in the print of the T.
  • RESULT: “Contemporary” isn’t my style either. Too mousy, too casual, too frumpy.

So, what to do?

  • I’ll just keep on trying to integrate a vintage touch in my everyday wear.
  • I’ll make a new effort to wear more skirts and dresses on office days – so I’ll also sew more of those in the near future.
  • I am looking for a pants pattern which is suitable for modern business life, comfortable and slimming. If the style tends towards the 1940ies, all the better. The “Smooth Sailing” trousers are a good start, I’ll give them a try with a more formal fabric, we’ll see how that turns out.

Well, that’s enough resolutions for a start. My present style is not so far off of what I want it to be, so I am confident everything will fall into place nicely.

BTW: I did indeed buy something in that store the other day: a loose fitting knitted vest with short sleeve which will look great over my new dresses which have yet to be made.


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