Haven’t done one of these in way too long, so instead of picking just one frock I thought I’d gush over a couple I wore at the last session straight after each other.
I was talking to my therapist (wow, that sounded American) last week and talking again about Sarah and what she means to me, and as part of the conversation I dropped in the following statement – “I have no interest in 1940s or 1950s fashions at all in drab mode. Not at all. But for some reason the feminine part of me is just obsessed with those periods”. In and of itself that’s quite a fun and minefield-full statement, but it’s true. Drab me isn’t into clothes at all, and in fact the Sarah bit of me has probably spent, gulp, thousands more than drab me on various frocks and especially 1940s and 1950s style.
Pictured – don’t give me that look, missy, you know every single one of the Kitty’s is expensive and I’ve bought you over twenty of them. Ouch.
Lately Cindy at Boys Will Be Girls has been experimenting with retro styles, specifically the Victory Rolls in the hair look which I (Sarah!) adore, so at the last session I sourced a couple of what I (again, Sarah!) thought would be pretty dresses to wear in a retro style and asked Cindy to do a retro hairstyle for them.
Pictured – I think Cindy has nailed the look, so if you are going and fancy a retro look just ask her. And she will hate me for that because she is a perfectionist and it’s not an easy style to get right. Bad Drab me….
Oh wow. It just ticked every box. The hair was perfect, the accessories (my little black clutch purse, a flower for my hair and a raincoat for the one of the looks) were dead on and it all just worked.
Now I know not many people get off on the retro styles as much as I do and believe me, drab me is as non-plussed as most of you as to why it interests Sarah so much, but once full femmed up and in character Sarah was in 1940s heaven.
We did two looks straight after each other because the hair was so perfect and, don’t tell Cindy, I plan to do the same again at the next session, which is in the second week of December. In fact I bought another of the same style of one of them (I’ll let you guess which) in a different colour which would be amazing with a fascinator. Plus, if it isn’t raining (gulp) I’m going to ask Cindy nicely if we could do some shots outside – where she lives is in the old dockland part of London and the streets down there are timeless, they could easily pass for wartime London. Assuming an Uber doesn’t go by as we take the pictures, or we don’t get mugged which is always my greatest fear (and yeah, I know it’s a silly fear, but I’ve spent my life in dangerous places doing dangerous things and there’s nothing more dangerous for a paranoid ex-soldier than putting aside the armour of male garb and being out in the real world with nothing between you and everyone else but a thin later of panties and floral material).
Anyway, I digress.
So, unusually for me, I’m going to actually provide links to the frocks in this blog post (gasp) so if any of you feel the need to strut your 1940s stuff, go for it. Both of them were delightful to wear, although I do have a favourite…..
The first outfit – 1940’s starlet look, red wine coloured, beautifully styled Collectif Clothing Swing Dress
Pictured – ‘Chanel No.5 – the choice of all ex-soldier fifty year old crossdressers with an obsession about vintage clothing’. Maybe too much of a niche, Chanel…
Pictured – a genuine smile. I love the way the dress hung, the pleated skirt effect was lovely.
See, told you I’d link to it. Anyway, this was a gorgeous fabric with some really nice little touches that made the frock. First one was the cuffs, frilled and elasticated so you could puff up the shoulders in a wonderful way. The collar was also delightful, a Peter Pan one with a mock bow and false buttons down the front. The fit was perfect, even over my massaged and bruised corseted frame, and I think I managed a pretty good 1940s style hour-glass (due to my child-bearing hips, as a friend pointed out).
The thought process behind the look and poses was a 1940’s B-list starlet, like the Black Orchid but without the terrible murder and mutilation. So lots of pouting looks, side shots and the like.
Pictured – adjusting her shoe…
Unusually there was no belt, and that’s often a problem for me due to my inability to diet close to a session – I always promise I won’t drink copious amounts of alcohol or ‘bad’ food but my nervousness in the weeks leading up to the session always seems to result in me opening one can of beer which becomes two cans of beer which becomes x cans of beer (where x > 5 and x < fatal amounts of alcohol). And of course after a beer or two a chunk of mature smoked cheddar doesn’t seem like that bad an idea. So normally I rely on a: a very tight corset, although lately with the back pain I’ve been referring to the last bit, where Cindy wraps the long cords of the corset around my back and delights in pulling them as tight as she can, as ‘cheese-wiring’, and b: a belt to assist in the shaping.
But this frock didn’t seem to need one. The material was quite heavy as well, so this dress is a good winter frock as long as you don’t mind your arms getting chilled.
Pictured – you spend forty odd years of your life terrified that you might come across as limp-wristed and the minute you slip on a frock the hand turns into a wilted bunch of flowers. And I don’t care.
The dress comes in wine red or a light green; I chose red as green doesn’t seem to suit me as well, and on that terribly girlie statement on to the second look. Which was my favourite……
The second outfit – 1940’s Office Girl look, wonderfully fun Rock-N-Romance swing dress
Pictured – I love everything about this dress….
Oh Lord, where to start? This dress is a perfect representation of what I imaging women wore to offices in the 40s and 50s. If you read the blurb on the website the pattern was copied from authentic period dresses and it shows; it has this wonderful aged look to it, a combination of the large buttons and red stripes, that oozes retro appeal.
Pictured – going to be honest, I have Instagrammed the hell out of this picture because it’s just lovely.
The material is satiny which feels great against the skin, although with a pair of stay up stockings and heels on there was a bit of amusing static cling. But it’s nice when a dress is feeling you up, although it does feel naughtily odd.
It is a nice length as well – I’m a, err, ‘tall’ girl and a lot of what is classed as maxi can end up being mini, but this fell to just beneath my knees and was perfectly respectable, even when sitting.
Pictured – perfect pose for an interview. ‘Well, Ms.Lewis, we feel the position of typist may be slightly below your credentials as you have a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, whatever the hell that is in 1942, but you’re pretty so the job is your’. And yeah, I will drop my PhD into most conversations when I’m feeling particularly snobbish. And look at the length of that frock, *just* right.
The little bow at the neck is divine, it adds that nice little touch. The collar buttons up to just the bottom of the neck, and the sleeves fall pleasantly almost to the elbows.
It just felt *right* and it was very easy to get into the character of a tired, eight-hour-at-the-typewriter office girl. We added a raincoat so I could pose as if I was heading home, with a couple of ‘stop the bus please conductor, I can’t run in these heels!’ looks which were a lot of fun to do.
Pictured – ‘Hold the **** bus!’ she didn’t shout.
I can’t praise it enough and, yes, I’ve bought the other style they have of the same dress, which is a light grey print with black. I think it will look great as an evening outfit with a small black fascinator.
And the sellers are wonderful. They’ve been kind enough to both like and comment on every picture I’ve put up on Instagram as, as per normal, I’ve had to catch myself and stop sending a response apologising for not actually being a woman. Another topic for the therapist methinks.
Pictured – no, I don’t smoke and amusingly those cigarettes have been in that purse for years as a prop. They smell…… old.
I do gush a lot about these looks but to me they represent a femininity that has gone, replaced, rightfully so, by post-feminism which is good for the women but I do miss these styles. Which makes it great because I can keep wearing them and I’m not being sexist because, well, I’m lucky enough to have a foot in each camp, although one foot has a hiking boot on and the other has a delicate four inch heel……
Stay beautiful and if you have a style you love, wear it. You only have to be true to yourself, not other people’s opinions.
Pictured – I showed this picture to my shrink and she said ‘that’s real happiness’. I was actually touched.