Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Random Thoughts, Sticks and Stones

Slow day at work today, so my mind has wandered a little amongst the CAD drawings.

Is it just me, or were the late 1940s through the early 1960s really terrific for the look of women's fashion. And yes, I understand about the tyranny of the patriarchy and the discomfort of foundation garments, pumps and crinolines. But the Dior "New Look" of 1947, or the trim look and clean lines of the women's dresses of the late Fifties and early Sixties are, to me, stunning.

It helped to be Audrey Hepburn, sure. But I've seen the pictures of women in the street scenes of the time and the styles were tremendously flattering on the average Jane, too. I like jeans for the comfot but, really, you've got to have one of those legendary walnut-cracking butts to make a pair of jeans look anything but baggy.

Just sayin'. And speaking of good-looking, I had to throw this in just because:

1. Ava Gardner was a gorgeous woman and a hell of an actress,

2. The Little Hut is a fun bit of silly fluff worth catching for watching her, David Niven and Stewart Granger at the top of their game, and

3. EVERYthing in the movies during the height of the Studio System was "designed" by someone. Ava's grass skirt here is "designed" by Christian Dior.

Ummm. Yeah.

What was the deal with navels, though? Look at where Ava's grass skirt is hiked up to - would YOU want your waistline up under your short ribs? I didn't think so. So I'm assuming that the point of that portion of the outfit is to hide Ava's tummy and that naughty navel.

Wierd what gets people - and censors - worked up...

Anyway, this was taken while out at a CO/CM job this week. I was watching the contractor's guy run the roller while perching on the T-handle of my footing probe. It's a quick way to get off your feet, sort of like one of those folding seat-stick things. Not stylish, but comfortable.I perch this way enough that I didn't think anything about it until my kid looked at the picture and asked: "Dad, why is that stick thing up your butt?"

Ummm...I...errr...I don't really have a stick up my butt...do I?



Pluto said...

*GRIN* I couldn't rightly say, never having met you. Perhaps you should ask Mojo and see what she says. I've found wives to be particularly perceptive in that regard.

Lisa said...

The 40's through the early 60's were a fabulous time for women's fashion.

Refined, elegant, tailored, with flair -- anything goes, but not sloppy or slutty, which is sadly de rigueur today.

It was a treat to go through mom's cedar chests as a girl and relish the seed pearls and bolero jackets, and bright silks, duppioni and charmeuese, and satins and every flourish -- clothes that looked like they were off of a stage set. And of course, pumps and purses to match.

I confess -- I am fully an inheritor of the untailored look ushered in after the late 60's. I relish comfort.

But I deeply admire the gloves and hats that men and women wore in the not so distant past, and wonder what we've lost by forgoing this sense of propriety or formality in dress. Surely it must translate into our behaviors.

Certainly I am not vulgar or slatternly, but in my casual dress, is my behavior adjusted accordingly? I like to think I'd be the same woman if I wore foundation, but perhaps not. There is so much to be said and thought on the matter.

If a woman was more "constructed" then, then surely her deconstruction was also an ornate process. Perhaps there was more mystery surrounding a woman so detailed. Ah, such musings could happily take up a coffee hour.

FDChief said...

Pluto: Sadly, I'm afraid I may have as often as not. But hopefully not quite as rigid and cold as the T-handle probe...

FDChief said...

Lisa: I'm afraid that, much as I enjoy the look of the styles of the day, I, too, enjoy the less constricting and the simplicity of our deconstructed era.

But...you make a good point about the outer man, and woman, helping to form the inner. I think that perhaps the casual way we pursue, use and discard one another may reflect a certain...carelessness that is reflected in our dress.

I know that I would gain, at the very least, a great respect for the neatness and attention to detail of the lady involved after dancing the intricate tango required to insinuate each other through all those layers, snaps, buttons and catches to the intimacies beneath, much as the enlightenment gained is all the deeper for the care and effort needed to apprehend it...

Lisa said...

"the enlightenment gained is all the deeper for the care and effort needed to apprehend it..."

I like this thought. We must, through care, esteem and value what we hope to gain or share in any meaningful sense. Care in the unfolding of that knowledge is the bedrock of true intimacy.

Shedding the formality of dress in order to reveal what lies hidden is a good metaphor for the process of actual connection. I suppose one could say we are like onions, and when we wish to be known, we allow those layers to be peeled back.

I think one may dress casually and still maintain one's propriety, which is not to say an artificial stiffness. While one must maintain a modicum of modesty in dress, I think it is attitude which is most important in maintaining this mystique.

FDChief said...

I think that there are a hardy few who can maintain their sosiego in a pair of ratty cut-offs and a T-shirt. I think that, for a lot of us, maintaining inner dignity is assisted by an outer gravitas...

But your point is well taken: I have known street kids with the grace of a countess in their Goodwill castoffs and socialites with the manners, mores and morals of a gutter rat in their spendy outfits. I only wish that the kind of person with that sort of inner wisdom were more common.

Lisa said...

"sosiego" -- a fine term. Outer finery may never conceal inner depravity or vacuity.

As Kipling wrote, "If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue/
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch," you will be a man (mensch). Decency and kindness are the watchwords.

If this were a Visa commercial, they would now cue up,