Saturday, February 23, 2013

The HSF: Challenge #5: Peasants and Pioneers aka the hard one

This is the challenge I'm having the hardest time with.  You see, when it comes to my costumes I'm a bit of an elitist. I want to be a pretty, pretty princess and have very little interest in butter churny/campy follower type clothes. I blame much of this on growing up lower-middle class (and then poor once my parents divorced) in the ugliest decade of all: the 1970s. For those of you much younger then I am the 1970s styles may seem fun and goofy, all care free disco suits and flippy Farrah hair. Hipsters today wear 1970s crocheted vests and plaid pants and think they're being ironic and funny.  But back then everyone wore that stuff - not the hipsters, but everyone else - moms, kids, dads, grandpas. Everyone.  And it was not pretty.


 

And we didn't have much money so everything was cheap, ill-fitting polyester in primary colors with huge flowers, or crocheted and appliqued in shades of avocado and persimmon.  It lacked the coolness of the 1960s or the sharp clean lines of the 1950s, it was bad, very bad.  It was enough to make your eyes bleed.

   
And no, this is not Zach Galifianakis.

 I pretty much looked exactly like this poor tot with the curled under pageboy in red pants at the top of the ad below, only I was blond and my home-cut hair was short enough that I was frequently mistaken for a boy.   I usually wore my Toughskins with a Kmart turtleneck and one of my many hideous crocheted ponchos a distant relative made me similar to the one below, only much uglier and in avocado and persimmon.

 

If I ripped a hole in my Toughskins, which I did frequently, my mom would often patch them with a jeans patch of another contrasting color (usually avocado or persimmon) and embroider around the edge of the patch with yet another color.  This might sound cool, but it made me look a bit like a Frankenstein boy-child on acid.  I hated being so frumpy but that was all we knew back then. So when I first saw things like Poldark and Lillie I was over the moon.  My first love of historic costume was beautiful upper class gowns like the ones I saw on those shows.  And I'm afraid it's remained that way ever since.

 
(and no, I didn't like Demelza's raggamuffin wear either, but her nicer clothes, like the riding habit above, I loved... despite it being in avocado!)

So the red linen Spencer I'm planning will probably be as close as I get to peasant -
it is linen after all.  ;)

6 comments:

  1. UGH! I agree with you 100%! I did have some of those goofy 70's fashions back then, and I have to say that now I look back at old photos and cringe; 'what was I thinking!!!!'--- (What were we ALL thinking?? Hideous!!!
    I definitely don't want to see any retro 70's fashion EVER!
    I too love my 'fancy' 18thc. clothing the very best. Although I need some 'camp' stuff I have little because it just isn't exciting or pretty to me!
    Great post~
    Mary
    http://anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

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    1. Wasn't it awful? At least there are some nice floral prints out there that can be used for the camp gowns.

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  2. I love all the 70s pictures for their hideousness. And you really did a great job of saying how everyone was wearing those styles. That is one decade of fashion that does not need to have a repeat, ever!

    I agree with you that lower class clothes aren't really my thing. I'm planning to have a simple cotton Regency gown for that challenge, I think.

    Best,
    Quinn

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    1. Hear, hear, let's leave the 70s in the past!

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  3. the 70s was one of the fugliest eras of fashion. the later part (the disco era) was cool but I wouldn't be bothered to never see it again. I grew up in that era too, also from a working class then poorer family, and I cringe at the photos. I remember the bad short haircut, the patched polyester flares that gave my legs a rash, and items crocheted from the ugliest yarn colors available. I think it left us all traumatized because the clothes from each era that I'm most drawn to are upper class garments, pretty things. Working class clothes in drab colors don't have the same appeal to me. If I absolutely had to wear something peasanty, it would be some pretty embroidered dirdl or something gypsy.

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    1. Sounds like I wasn't the only one scarred by the 1970s! And yes, if I'm going to be a peasant it has to have something pretty about it.

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