Thursday, March 1, 2012

Outfit Post: Layered Neutrals

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I bought this dress probably three years ago from my local boutique in Oberlin.  It's a difficult dress to style; it's white so it needs an underlayer to be decent, it needs a belt because it's very unstructured and on me, it looks a little like a potato sack without one.  On the pro side, it has an interesting neckline treatment, it's comfortable, and it has some cool textures including lace, mesh, embroidery, and a panel of cotton crepe.

Yesterday it was too cold to wear this dress alone, since it's sleeveless, so I threw on a long cashmere cardigan.  After trying it belted over just the dress, I decided to try belting it over the sweater too, and I like the way it looked.  I've found that I like lightweight knits the best, and cashmere is great at keeping you warm without the bulk of other fibers.  This cardigan has been a surprising garment for me - I usually don't gravitate towards beiges and pale neutrals, since they wash me out, but I love the color of this sweater.  It's just far off enough from my skin tone, with a slight undertone of pink.


Lately everywhere I look I see historical influences.  This outfit feels part kimono, part Regency-style silhouette.  In addition to my history class, I've been checking out fashion and textile history books from the library, and I feel like I'm having "I did not know that!" moments pretty much every other second.  

Among the newest things I've learned?  It wasn't until the 1960s that the fashionable women's figure was achieved with diet and exercise; before that, it was always the shape of the corset that dictated the body's shape.  That would help to explain why certain fashions would not fit a contemporary person's body: not only because bodies themselves were different then, but also because we are missing the foundational garments that shaped the body to fit inside those clothes.  And no matter how pretty some of those corsets might be, reading about the injuries they caused makes me thankful that they're not still popular today!

White pieced dress: Dzhavael Couture
Long oatmeal cashmere cardigan: Cynthia Rowley, via Marshall's
Bow belt: Nordstrom
Earrings: Tasi
Slip: Vintage
Brown braid-detail boots: J Shoes


sparkle said...

sweets-take it from one who had to prod, poke and push body parts into those full line girdle torture devices......sitting, standing and breathing were not fun. besides that, your outfit looked great.....sparkle

Cory Ellen Boberg said...

I'm super glad that girdles and the like are a relic of the past... but I also think it's unfortunate that there are still such high expectations of what a woman needs to do to fit the fashionable figure norm.

It seems kind of backwards that we cast off corsets and girdles... only to start counting calories and killing ourselves at the gym. Not to say exercising can't be fun, but the whole "run fifteen miles and eat a grape to reward yourself" thing just seems like another elaborate form of torture. It would be nice if we took women's bodies off the table completely as objects that need to be normalized, but unfortunately we're not quite there yet. And I wonder where my aesthetic appreciation of historical fashion meets my discomfort with the (also historical) marginalization of women, and if they will ever play nice together.

Until then, I will be over here eating my cake. :D