For years, I loved to dress in vintage reproduction clothing. Nothing made me happier than circle skirts and wiggle dresses, cat-eye liner, red lipstick, and a mini-pomp. I followed vintage bloggers, collected vintage jewelry and clothing, and aspired to be as pin-up as possible.
Recently, however, (and by recently, I mean September/October of 2016, so not that recently, I guess) I started to feel uncomfortable in the pin-up aesthetic. The clothes, jewelry, make-up, and hair were still beautiful, but it stopped feeling like me and started to feel like a costume.
Maybe it had something to do with committing to a fitter lifestyle, which led to some weight lost that transformed my body into a trimmer shape that was less flattered by the style (a gaping bustline is nobody’s friend), or maybe it was the frustration of trying to put together cute and whimsical, yet business casual appropriate attire every morning, but either way I stopped feeling at home in that style of clothing.
After my emergency surgery last November (I just passed the year anniversary, which is a whole other post in itself), I really had to consider what to wear. For the first three weeks, ‘soft and loose’ was my aesthetic and then, when I went back to work, I had to be very careful to choose pieces that weren’t restrictive on my midsection, in case there was swelling during the day, and didn’t rub over my healing scars. All of my pin-up clothing was very waist emphasizing and fit a little too closely for my comfort during my recovery.
When I was healed, I did try to go back to wearing my repro wardrobe, but all the time away from it just emphasized that it wasn’t a good fit for me anymore. I’d found happiness dressing for ease of choice and comfort. My repro skirts, tops, and cardis felt fussy and restrictive in comparison.
It took my an entire summer to square away with my feelings. I really struggled with the identity that I’d built upon the vintage aesthetic to which I aspired. There were times when I felt like I didn’t know who I was, if I wasn’t “pin-up”. I realized, though, that clothes are just clothes and I’m still a writer/wife/daughter/sister/friend/crafter/geek/fangirl/etc. no matter what I wear. I’m many things and none of them are how I look. If I want to wear a Mary Blair dress one day and Marty McFly vest and jeans the next, it doesn’t change me. I’ll still be me tomorrow, even if I’m wearing leggings and hoodie.
Today, for example, is the first day I’ve styled part of my hair in a mini-pomp and pin-curl combination in months. It doesn’t mean that I’m pin-up or that I’m someone different than I was yesterday. It just means I’m a woman who can style her hair into an ‘ice cream swirl’ if I choose to. ❤