When it comes to style tips, clothes in which you feel completely presentable and yet at home are the holy grail!
Cleaning out some old files recently, I stumbled upon some amusing photos. The walk down memory lane was fun, but also instructive about how fashion, body shape and comfort have influenced my perception of fit over the years.
This snapshot of my uncle and me taken in 1972 at a cousin's wedding depicts a dress length I wouldn't be caught dead in today. As I recall, I also wore some tall platform shoes, so you can imagine the discomfort of wearing this outfit. But hey, I was in my twenties and dressing up was fun! Looking back, though, I also remember the awkwardness and a certain level of exhaustion that accompanied wearing mini-length dresses and skirts and platform and high heeled shoes.
Rose Gerstner founded Sympatico as an expression of her commitment to sustainable fashion. She regularly blogs about eco-friendly apparel for women, offering style tips and her perspectives on eco-friendly clothing.
Another snapshot, about five years later shows me still sporting fitted clothing, but with a more practical and casual look. Trends toward casual wear and practicality have influenced my move to more comfortable outfits.
In 1990, the look was LOOSE! Here are a couple fun looks that today would be in my mending pile to adjust to fit my body. (These are shots from a mail order catalog/cottage industry I was a part of into the mid-1990s.)
Around 2012, my daughter did a shoot with me in my Sympatico clothing, and this is the look that I still wear today. That’s really the aim: styles that look and feel right anytime.
The key is to find a fit that isn't restrictive but not so loose that our bodies becomes visually irrelevant. What's attractive for me now has more to do with finding a balance between my sense of style and enough ease to be comfortable. Obviously, each of us has a different body and a different sense of style. Finding the sweet spot that serves both best is at the heart of finding the look that works for you. If I had to pick one clothing style tip, I'd say go for stylish comfort. How about you?
I originally sent this as my weekly newsletter to my customers, and here are some of the interesting responses I received. . .
We are probably close in age, since I have similar pictures. One of my fun memories is wearing mini-dresses that were so short, I had to be careful at my job whenever I had to go to a file cabinet or get a drink of water from the fountain, etc. That was the style though. I worked at the Bank of America tower in downtown San Francisco in 1971-72. It was a pretty sexist time, and I was one of many women who were sent to classes on how to dress, style our hair, etc., along with shorthand training. They even had a modeling company come in to tell us how to walk and sit. And they took before and after pictures!! Isn't that hilarious? Our bodies didn't really belong to us. Thank god for the women's movement.
a customer from Redwood City, CA
You left out the words "elegant" and "ladylike" which describe the look you have in your last photo. Of course, simplicity is a component of elegance and modest fit and coverage are a components being ladylike, but there is more to it than that. Quality materials are also components of both adjectives. And being elegant and ladylike is flattering to all ages. So that is why I am a fan of your clothes: they are elegant and ladylike. Their practicality and versatility an additional plus, making your clothes just the thing for the person who wishes to travel light.