Have you ever looked back at pictures taken of you in high school or pictures of your mother when she was high school and thought, What in the world was I (she) thinking????
Yes, I was a child of the 1980’s. I sported big bangs, dangling earrings, and stone washed jeans. Thankfully I avoided the legwarmers and cut-off sweatshirts, but it was a near thing.
Fashion trends that seem so cool at the time can often appear ridiculous once the frenzy passes. I wonder if the fashionable women of the mid-1890’s grimaced when they looked back at family photographs after the turn of the century. Because, really . . . what were thinking???
Here we have the Swirl Sisters, who despite their calm facades, are in real danger of floating away thanks to the giant balloons strapped to their shoulders. For women who wish to be incredibly light on their feet at the next society ball – First diet for months in order to squeeze your waist into one of these incredibly ill-proportioned dresses, then conceal our state-of-the-art helium balloons beneath the cleverly styled sleeves, and the gentlemen will swear you glide across the floor like a feather twirling on the wind.
Next, we have the Battle of the Bows. Don’t be outdone by your peers on the bow front. Some might say less is more, but true ladies know that more is always more.
Both armed with exceedingly pointy parasols, this match might be too close to call, but my money is on the lady in blue. She has the serious showdown face, and though her bows are fewer in number, they aren’t hidden as trim along the edge of her skirt. No, she proudly displays them in full-on, in-your-face action, front and center, as if daring competitors to flee before she yanks them off and throws them like ninja stars, leaving her competitors’ paltry bows in tatters.
Finally, we have The Atrocity. Is it your wish to turn every head in the drawing room? You’ll succeed admirably in our latest design. As the image to the left indicates, everyone will gasp (in horror), unable to look away when you enter the room. This glorious, green-checked silk with giant neck-concealing bow and elegant lace shoulder wings covers any imperfections. You’re sure to delight the turtle-loving males of the assembly, and those with a penchant for bird-watching will be awestruck by your massive wingspan.
I’m in the process of starting a new book, and it is set in . . . yes, 1894. The year of the giant sleeves. Thankfully, my heroine is too savvy to get caught up in the fashion frenzy of outlandish designs that serve no practical purpose. But even in Texas, women ached for fashion and poured over ladies magazines and pattern books to create looks that would grant them that touch of sophistication.
So yes, my heroine will have puffed sleeves, but more along the line of the leg-of-mutton sleeves than the balloons of the Paris fashion models pictured in these drawings. She is a smart, career woman, who prefers a good suit to a fancy walking dress. So, hopefully, Emma Chandler will not be cringing when she looks back at old photographs one day while holding her grandchildren.
- What about you? Any fashion disasters in your past?
- Do you follow fashion trends?
- Ever made over an old outfit to make it look more in style?