The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Dressing up
My birthday is coming up, so I've decided to treat myself to something that is a little bit special. I'm going to purchase a vintage silk dress.

I love vintage - and make no excuses. Designers used to design to flatter a woman's figure. Clothes had curves - just like women do. Although the women I work with dress nicely, everything looks vaguely like maternity wear - shapeless and flow-y. Somewhere along the line, designers stopped creating structured garments, I suppose, because it's just too expensive to manufacture tailored clothes. My size US 6 used to be a size 12/14 back in the 60's. It got too expensive to have such subtle sizing differences, so now I can wear clothes that are either slightly too tight or slightly too loose.

So, to go forward, I'm going back. And I'm buying vintage. And I'm going to wear it to work and introduce my colleagues to the wonderful lines and fabrics of vintage.

This also reminds me: does anyone dress up any more? Friday casual has become Monday - Thursday casual, and Friday casual has become weekend carefree. I have heard people say that they work better when they don't have to think about how they look - but in my experience, people that dress sloppily are also casual about their work. It's not that I'm uptight about appearances - far from it - but I just think we're losing something. I rarely see a man in a tie any more, which makes me sad. My dad wore a suit and tie to work every day, and he was a computer tech. Today's IT techs show up in jeans and t-shirts now.

I knew that I would start missing some things as I got older. But dressing up? Who would have thought it? I used to hate trying on clothes when I was a kid (I still hate it), but I always loved dressing up. So, I'm bucking the trends and doing my own thing. I suspect this will make me a relic one day. I'm hoping that I'll be a well-dressed relic in clothes that flatter my figure - or I may look like a kid that ransacked my grandmother's attic.


posted by Melanie O. at 10:35 AM -
  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger Ann said…

    Good for you. A colleague of mine (only young) mostly wears clothes she has made herself from vintage patterns and vintage material she has found in op shops. While I believe some styles should never have been resurrected, she mostly looks fabulous and very stylish.

    Really like the new blog layout.

  • At 4:58 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Thanks, Ann. You know, I bought some vintage patterns and want to make my own clothes. I even bought a vintage sewing machine to make them on - I just need a sewing table and some extra room to get started. I'll have to take my photo with the 'new' dress when it comes in.

  • At 11:01 AM, Anonymous marty said…

    Hey Melanie,
    I also think that somewhere along the line being feminine fell out of fashion. With the women’s movement, women wanted equality in the workplace (and beyond) and as a result became more masculine/androgynous, instead of holding their ground and making men respect and accept their femininity. At the same time, the workplace was becoming more and more casual to the point where now, as you say, every day is like casual Friday. And you’re right, sloppy dress begets sloppy work. Unfortunately nowadays, if you dress up, you have to be prepared for the comments and snide remarks (“who’s (s)he trying to impress?!). Good for you. I do think that vintage-wear is making a comeback. Certainly here in the US, the much acclaimed AMC program “Mad Men” has generated much talk about vintage early 60’s fashion.

  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Hi marty - I guess people can say what they want to say. I love vintage - and I hope it makes a huge comeback. The clothes are just so much better designed and constructed. Nowadays, you have to buy expensive designer stuff to get the same style and cut that was available to the average woman in the 50's and early 60's through mid-level department stores.

    I wore a vintage dress to work today and got lots of compliments. To be honest, I don't really care about the compliments - I just hope it rubs off a bit. I think a lot of women out there don't know how much the right clothes can flatter you. Granted - some don't care, but I'm sure that there are plenty that do. Besides, it gives me a good excuse to be able to go through my wardrobe and have a bit of fun. ;)

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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