I decided to squeeze in one more dress before I start with real spring sewing.
Don't you think it's just my kind of dress? Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a devoted fan of stick out pockets. And of hip-enhancing design features in general. I've made regular pockets with flaps on the hip, several kinds of stick-out pockets, in skirts, a coat and dresses and even the occasional design with crazy wide draped shapes in that area...
I love wearing all those things I don't think it would be a bit much to add one more. After all, this one will be entirely different again.
And that made me think...
As a teenager, when I was starting to get interested in fashion, I quickly learned that the family pear shape (yes, it's a family thing. I have a sister, a mother, two aunts and the pictures of my grandmother in her younger years to prove it) was a bit of an obstacle. No dress ever fitted properly and I was lucky that the rise on trousers and skirts was getting lower just then.
When I started sewing for myself on a regular basis, that helped. But still, fit was an important reason to sign up for pattern making lessons. Pattern making combined with an increasing interest in vintage fashion settled it: I love my hips.
Over the past few years, I had the opportunity to find out how a random selection of other women in this country feel about this subject.
A twenty-year-old who was doing work experience with designer-friend M while I was helping to get the collection finished that she preferred "a bit of a belly" over "a fat ass"... I did point out that, if nothing else, there are medical reasons to disagree with that.
She was hardly alone with that opinion though. When working in bridal stores, I often had to change the way I held a dress around a shopping bride-to-be. I would usually make a point of drawing in the dresses at the waist, to get as ideal a shape as possible from them. At least, I would until the customer started complaining the dress made her hips look fat.
It was hard to believe for me, but many a modern woman prefers her torso to look like an as-thin-as-possible rectangle...
It kind of makes sense to blame fashion. After all, ever since the mid-1990's the ideal body has been "thin". Every once in a while, fashion glossies will mention that "curves are back" but usually that just means some designers have used corset-like details and a model with a B cup has been spotted on the runways.
You don't have to be a fashion history geek to know that fashionable "ideal" silhouettes changed a lot more over the decades before that.
Clothing technology, global manufacturing, branding and the way we shop has changed enormously over that time but the ideal body shape... Not so much.
And what's more: Bodies have changed. It's tempting to think that individual body shape is a given but that's only partly true. What you wear can influence your shape too. Especially if you wear it while growing up. How many women under 30 do you know who don't have a 'hip dent' at the point where the waistband of low-rise jeans hits? And how many over 35 who do?
Whether it's for fashion, out of convenience or simply because there doesn't seem to be another option many of us are messing up our hips.
It's not as bad as squeezing in your ribcage which was also fashionable for a long time but still...
I guess what I'm curious about is this: It's that obvious someone like me, a seamstress who loves 1950's looks would be willing to embrace a body shape that isn't in tune with 'normal' fashion but how about you?