Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reviving Old Clothes

Earlier Draft:
These light wash boyfriend jeans are some of my favorites.  Our blogging friend Caitlin considers the dark wash versions her fall must-haves, too!

grey patterned secretary blouse (Peppermint via Ruche)
boyfriend jeans (Gap)
brown leather belt (borrowed from sister's closet)
taupe rosette clutch (borrowed from sister's closet)
brown metallic T-strap heels (Anne Klein)

Last weekend I traveled south to visit my parents.  Besides shopping and doing craft-y things with my mom, I spent a good portion of the time rummaging through old clothes in my former closet and my sister's.  Given that, while rummaging, I proclaimed "I can't believe I left this behind!" and "Why didn't I wear this?" with frequency, it's safe to say my perspective on clothing has evolved in recent years.  Garments I once regarded as stuffy or lame or unwearable are now gems I can't live without.

For instance, the taupe rosette clutch I toted to brunch with my parents used to be one of my least favorite items in my sister's closet.  Probably my high school self considered it immature; my current self thinks it's a lovely, go-with-everything, vintage-y (re)find.  And the wide belt I wore to the same brunch?  I distinctly remember declaring it unattractive, more suitable for my brothers than for me and my sister.  Go figure, last weekend it seemed like the perfect accent for my feminine secretary blouse.

Have you noticed similar changes in your perspective on clothing?  To what do you attribute these differences?  To revived trends, to your own creativity, or to something else?

  • Have your styling habits changed in recent months or years?  What moments or experiences do you think caused the changes?
  • What garments will you or won't you wear today that you wouldn't or would have worn years ago?
  • Have you, like me, revived old pieces from past phases of life?  Or would those old garments carry a stigma for you?  I ask because an older friend recently told me she couldn't bring herself to wear 1960s-70s throwback styles because they remind her too much of who she was in that era.  I laughed, but maybe I shouldn't have.  Later in life I might feel the same way about current styles.  Who knows.


La Historiadora de Moda said...

That top is very cute! I really wish "boyfriend jeans" weren't called that. The whole "these jeans are like stealing those out of your boyfriend's closet" thing just rubs me the wrong way.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Interesting that you'd mention this. Today I was wondering why "boyfriend jeans" don't fit me any differently than regular jeans. I expect them to fit looser every time, and I'm always pleasantly surprised when they don't. I wonder if they bother you for other reasons, though. Perhaps wearing "boyfriend jeans" -- or any sort of boyfriend-like apparel -- is potentially problematic for women because it indicates a degree of possession? As in, donning a garment made to look like a male's garment might indicate that a woman is owned by (hm, strong language) her significant other? Or, perhaps the popularity of "boyfriend" type apparel indicates that an excessive amount of social status is afforded to non-single women?

This is worth pursuing in a future post, and I hope to write about it soon. Thanks for the thought, lHdM!


La Historiadora de Moda said...

I have problems for all of those reasons, yes. It is also extremely heteronormative and implies that women *should have* boyfriends and boyfriend jeans. As someone who is openly queer/bi, I rather object to that. It also bothers me that there's a double standard here. The fashion industry markets the idea that it's fine to raid a boyfriend's closet for jeans, shirts, sweaters, etc., but to my knowledge there's no equivalent for men's fashion. No suggestion that they should raid a woman's closet for her hose, trousers, sweaters, etc.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Fascinating discussion here, ladies. As a language person I tend to think that what we name things really DOES matter, and the term bothers me for all of these reasons. I look forward to the future post on the topic and hope it will generate more discussion!

Great outfit, too, AM. I often find myself changing my mind about items of apparel that I didn't use to like, but I can't imagine myself returning to the jeans and Big Dog tee wardrobe I sported in high school.


Diana said...

This discussion about "boyfriend" clothing is fascinating! I do agree that using the term "boyfriend" is potentially demeaning to single or non-heterosexual women...I think the whole image of a woman wearing her boyfriend's too-big jeans is pretty damn silly, to be honest.

On the other hand, I think you could also look at it from a different perspective, which is that we as women in this day and age have been socially sanctioned to wear clothing that has historically been designated as "menswear" and are generally not judged too negatively for doing so. On the other hand, men wearing "womenswear" tend to receive a lot more negative attention. I don't have to worry about what people will think if I wear boyfriend jeans, whereas my boyfriend, who has actually worn women's heels on occasion, has to worry about whether his professors/potential employers/peers will judge him negatively for wearing them.

To get back to Anne-Marie's original question, yes, I definitely raid my childhood closet when I visit my parents! Plus it's super convenient to have my mom right there, since she is great at altering the clothes so they actually fit my no-longer-in-high-school body! The things I really wish I could bring back from my high school days are the shoes - I had such awesome shoes back then, victorian boots, cowboy boots, chunky heeled oxfords... unfortunately my feet have grown and there's no way to wear too-small shoes!

sartoriography said...

I agree- the topic of the "boyfriend" jeans is interesting. I've wondered if it's demeaning/super heteronormative or if it's one of those colloquial things I should let go of in favor of lending some semantic grace to those who don't analyze the pants (hah!) off things like I do. I do think, though, that it makes sense to question why we use that term and if there's a better one.

I've definitely found myself recycling old clothes I had put aside. I'm sure part of that is due to my own evolution as a person and the sort of joy of rediscovering old things. But I think there is a sort of scale that can be applied to the "in" and "out" of fashion (something like Laver's Law). Regardless, I love going back to my parents' house and rooting around in my old closet. I never leave empty handed!

Also, I think you look fantastic in this outfit, regardless of its terminology. Love the clutch, shoes blouse...yep, love it all!