Dressing

Why have women stopped dressing up?

Photo: Nina Leen; 1958

I posed this question, with the above photo, to a Vintage Fashion Facebook group I recently joined. I got quite a reaction.

Some cited comfort; others shot that down saying clothes that fit properly are not uncomfortable; some bemoaned the current general lack of style; one respondent was defensive,Because we don’t have to; and still others thought men’s fashion had gone by the wayside as well. Obviously a topic that bears some thought.

So what are women wearing?
Sadly, little black stretchy pants.

Lululemon founder, Chip Wilson, came under fire when he stated that yoga pants were not suited to every woman’s body. Even Karl Lagerfeld had something to say about this sartorial malaise:

Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants.
~ Karl Lagerfeld, Vogue, 2011

One of the best things about being a-woman-of-a-certain-age, is that you’ve figured out your style.

You know what works for you; and what doesn’t. Just because Vogue says xyz  is the It colour of the season, doesn’t necessarily mean you must adopt it. We’ve come to realise that being stylish is not the same as being—at least for a moment—fashionable. Nor do we think we are “empowered” or making a political statement every morning when we get dressed.

Fashion is about what you’re wearing,

Audrey Hepburn; Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Style is about how you’re wearing it.

I’m dressing.
Are you?

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11 Comments

  1. Ms. Liz
    March 5, 2019
    Reply

    I am definitely dressing!
    The one thing I miss about working life (I am retired – 3 years now) is getting dressed for work. Getting dressed in the morning for work was a pleasurable part of my routine as I prepared to face the day.
    Although what I am buying these days is more on the casual side I still get dressed to face the day !

  2. Linda
    March 5, 2019
    Reply

    Oh how I would love to “dress.” Not fashionably, because I see nothing in the spring collections I like, even if I could afford it. I’m more along the lines of Queen Elizabeth in preferences (and shape) at 70.
    Why don’t I?
    -Nothing in the stores at all that fits my size and shape (short, busty, plus size). Online is occasionally possible, with tailoring. Even though I live in a so-called sophisticated North East state, a google search for “tailor” brings up very little beyond dry cleaners who will machine hem something.
    =A look through the plus size offerings at a major retailer’s online site shows quite a few just ok items in the $50-200 range. Then there’s the really nice stuff, Lafayette 148, Marina Rinaldi, etc., pushing the $1000 mark (and up). Very, very little in-between. I’d pay 400-500 for a dress I could wear everywhere.
    -Nowhere to go where people dress. I’m in a rural area and it’s super casual all the time. I try to do a little better than that, but not so much as to look like I’m in costume.
    -And yes, comfort. When I wore a suit or dress with heels and nylons to fly once upon a time, I didn’t have to take my shoes off, have my underwire beeped, or sit with another passenger’s head back in my bosom. I can barely climb out of a window seat in sweatpants, let alone something nice.
    Wish I had the ability to start a movement!

  3. March 6, 2019
    Reply

    I must admit I go for comfort but typically a little smarter than sweatpants. I always do jewellery, but the rest of my wardrobe is pretty straightforward. I wouldn’t mind putting a bit more effort into dressing up, seeing what works for me now my shape and such (including navigating around having a stoma bag) have changed over the last few years. It is interesting to see how fashions have changed but I don’t see it as an entirely bad thing, I see it as women relaxing more, not worrying so much about what others think. That said, we need to pay attention to how we feel and how our clothing choices make us feel because we’re worth the effort.x

  4. March 7, 2019
    Reply

    I dont know that women have stopped dressing up, I think it’s the same as it’s always been. There will be women who like dressing up and appreciate doing it, and women who don’t, in every generation. I hope you’re having a great Thursday!

    http://www.jessicabroyles.com

  5. March 7, 2019
    Reply

    I do still dress up. And I think we need to, for ourselves and for others. But some people just really don’t bother or it’s not their style.

    Marie
    The Flower Duet

  6. Susan
    March 18, 2019
    Reply

    From Sherry Boyle Lee via Facebook:

    Thanks for the great article.
    I’m still dressing, too, and so is my partner. We get dressed up to go out to dinner with one another. And we sometimes get dressed up just to stay at home. We dress to go to the doctor, the drug store, the grocery, or to get a haircut.
    Basically, if we’re leaving home, we are dressing in real clothes, what used to be called “outfits.”
    I’ve never owned a pair of sweat pants and don’t intend to, either!

  7. Lynda
    March 20, 2019
    Reply

    I dress up, by today’s standards at least. I prefer dresses because they suit my petite slightly curvy shape and I always wear jewellery and make-up& perfume whenever I go out. Wool coats, hat and gloves (husband bought me longer length leather gloves for Xmas – been wanting some for years-) big brooch , scarf/ shawl & my lovely leather ‘slouchy’ boot with small cuban heel. Shoes are a problem now – I’m 66 but cruises mean full-on glamour for evenings, lots of sparkle and high heels. I love the glamour of the 50’s and have a lot of costume jewellery from that period. I regard dressing and making up as creative activities to be enjoyed although it does take a bit of time!

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