About me

My photo
I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


Follow by Email

Follow me on Instagram


Friday, December 11, 2015

I stand corrected, or in this case educated

Well first of all my apologies, cosplay, of course I get that. Makes perfect sense. Speed readers unite.

I know all about anime, and can spot a steampunk outfit from across the street, but this one has passed me by, or at least my neighbourhood in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I read more, once I read the helpful comments, and realized that I understand cosplay, and like all women have been doing this, dressing in character or like a character, so much of my life.

Hands up if you ever suited up for work, or heaven forbid are old enough to remember when dressing for success meant a version of what men wore right down to the little scarf numbers (Palmer and Pletsch did early do-it-yourself instructions) that were lady ties.

Haven't we all done this? Haven't most women dressed the part at some stages of their lives, or tried to redefine themselves with wardrobe changes?

It is a really interesting question.

The bride who feels like a princess. 

The woman who is caught by a co-worker out getting milk and is horrified someone she works with has seen her without make-up. 

The way you feel in your first heels, like a real grown up woman. 

The way you want to get out of those heels the day you decide you are wearing them for someone else. 

Why you put on your lipstick when you have had bad news. 

Why wearing flannelette pyjamas makes you sleep safe like your dad was still in the living room.

Everyone is so sure the way women should look and we try so hard to pick up on that.

What are you wearing is the first most important question.

I wonder if we are really asking, who should I be?

Or how much unlike you can I risk.

At some level I think sewers, an undoubtedly cosplayers, are exploring this - one trying to find self definition through self expression, possibly the other trying on different ways of being.

As for me right now as my own life is opening up again, post child raising, work more strategic than routine, I am wondering if it is time to dress the outside like the inside - which is something I am going to have to do myself. 

Wonder what that is going to look like?


badmomgoodmom said...

I was thinking about how much my style of dress changed when I moved to Boulder the first time at age 21 and one of only two women among 50 first year physics grad students. People commented on my slightly different Berkeley style. I switched to blend in and stay warm in winter. When I moved back to Boulder as a grown woman, I'm determined to keep my individual style. There is more variety in food and dress in California. I'm so homesick.

Vicki said...

Yes, we all dress a part, but just had a look around cosplay and I think it is more like a game? And it sounds like a lot of fun for sewers. Imagine making gorgeous period costumes and getting to wear them somewhere! And then when you go to an event or party or wherever you have something to talk about. Probably why fancy dress parties are popular too.

Kathleen said...

Interesting thoughts, Barb. And I think "that" is going to look a lot like the Barb jiving with the youngster & with a happy smile at her son's wedding! Here's to her!

LinB said...

I credit Vogue patterns for the time I was going in (late) to church one winter morning, wearing my new winter coat, #1476, an Issey Miyake wrap coat made up in a staid grey woolen flannel. It was the morning of the children's Christmas play. As I mounted the steps to the narthex, a little girl's voice piped up from the top of the stairs, "And what exactly are you supposed to be?"

I'm sure she thought I was one of the characters from the pageant. I mildly replied, "I'm late for church, that's what I am!" Neither of us was embarrassed, and I have had the joy of that memory for years and years.

SuzieB said...

Love your phrase, "How much unlike you can I risk?"

True story: business trip in the 80's when we were all wearing skirts, shirts, and "MBA ties". I got on an elevator in Chicago with one other woman and we were dressed IDENTICALLY - same color beige skirts, white button down collar shirts, and of course, identically colored ties. As soon as the doors closed we died laughing & laughed at ourselves all the way to the 22nd floor. Then we sobered ourselves up and went our separate ways! Never again-