Sunday, May 4, 2014

'Normal' bodies

I went today to an exhibition of 1930s fashion at the Museum of Costume and Lace in central Brussels. (The exhibit is open until February next year and is free on the first Sunday of every month. Details here.) The collection is not huge but there are some really stunning dresses.

As we walked around, two things struck me. Firstly, how modern many of the clothes look.

Secondly, how much the female 'silhouette' (such an innocent-sounding word for something that prompts people to push themselves to extremes of diet, corsetry etc to imitate) has changed over the decades. The silhouette on which fashions are modelled dictates an idea body that has somehow become the only acceptable body.

Looking at many of these clothes, I was particularly struck that my body shape is actually very similar - specifically the high waist and generous hips - to the 1930s silhouette. These clothes look so glamorous and get I look very awkward in modern clothes. The exhibition really drove home that this is because I am wearing the wrong clothes. Modern trousers divide the body at the hips rather than the waist, which makes me look frumpy and square. My natural waist is much higher than the waist on modern clothes, and this does not make for a comfortable or an elegant fit.

Project 333 has really driven home that, rather than having too many clothes, I in fact have too few clothes that I love, that fit beautifully and make me feel beautiful wearing them. And this is in part because the clothes in my wardrobe do not reflect my real body shape - or to be honest my evolving taste/style.

Time for a 1930s-inspired sewing project, perhaps?


  1. What beautiful clothes! Yes, the 'old' fashion was so much more 'user friendly'. Can't wait to see some of your 30s inspired clothes!

  2. What a gorgeous exhibition, wish I could go! Interesting that you feel the hips are generous - I thought '30s clothes specifically had narrow hips in mind if you look at the drawings. I'm not surprised you find modern trousers unflattering - personally, I think very few women can wear this hip-height trouser that is omnipresent; most look better when the waist is higher - thankfully that is coming back a bit!! (my own figure has probably never been fashionable ;) LOL)



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