How does this begin?
I look fabulous. I feel fabulous. I am dressed in Edwardian clothing and I love it.
I could say it started with Sarah Chrisman’s book “Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present and Myself”. But it really didn’t.
I could say it started at TeslaCon. But it really didn’t.
It started at Rollag, also known as The Western Minnesota Steam Thresher’s Reunion. My dear old Dad took us when I was eight years old. By the next year’s show, he had bought a steam engine and we were lifetime members shortly after that. We went every Labor Day Weekend for the rest of my childhood and I’ve gone every year for most of my adult life so far. But my mother is really responsible for the clothes.
My mother is an amazing seamstress. She sees a drawing or a photograph and fabric turns into whatever she wants it to be. The ladies at Rollag dressed in ”prairie dresses”, long skirts and blouses made of calico were the order of the day in the late 70s. And she dressed herself and us kids up in those ‘old’-style’ clothes for Rollag. And every year she made new outfits. I had a bustle skirt made from men’s dress pants, matching mother-daughter capes from an old faux fur coat, parasols, purses, and hats…. oooh, the hats!! My brothers got cutaway coats made from men’s suitcoats, canes and tophats. We also started collecting antique clothing we would find at thrift shops and antique stores. And it was a very good thing we started collecting that clothing.
There was a ‘Style Show’ at Rollag. It was one of the “Ladies Activities”. A lady from Chicago brought her collection of antique clothes and volunteers would come and model the clothes while she emceed the show. I was absolutely entranced with the clothes. And. You. Got. To. WEAR. Them!!! Squee!! Only for a few moments, but it was honestly a slice of heaven. I usually modeled the walking costumes from the 1890s when I started modeling in the show. I was probably almost 5′ and stick thin. My tiny waist fit right into those tiny little costumes. I looked forward to modeling in the Style Show all year long.
And one year, the lady from Chicago didn’t come! I was so disappointed I think I cried. My mother drove home in our pickup with the camper top and packed up all the antique clothes we had collected, and brought them back to the showgrounds. My dad rigged up a curtain for us to change behind and we did the Style Show. There weren’t any 1890s walking suits, (and no slinky, silk-fringed, Marilyn Monroe dress, more on that later) but it was fun just the same. Outside of the Style Show, I still dressed up in my bustle dress and “fur” cape. People always stopped us for a photograph and that was always a treat.
Over the intervening years, my mother has continued to run the Style Show, fighting for its place at times. Those are stories for another time. And as I got older, I tried to wear clothes from the same era as our steam engine… so I would ‘match’ while running it. Suffice it to say, my current plan was born long ago.
So what is my current plan? I will wear what I want, clothes that make me feel pretty amazing. I will wear Edwardian clothing, from the skin out, as correct as I know how and can afford. A bunbury from the modern mom uniform of jeans and a stretchy (sometimes maternity) top, a topic for another day.
I’ve been preparing for a few weeks now. Because of Rollag and TeslaCon, I have a good four days of full on Edwardian clothes. However, some of the pieces I wear are actual antiques and while I will wear them a few times a year (taking that slim chance that some horrible accident may destroy something precious but feeling fabulous all the same), I cannot take that chance 365 times in a row. So I have sewn a new chemise and (Happy Christmas!) have received a new corset and new (better) shoes. I will be replacing the corset covers and combinations because, while they are not antiques, they are re-creations of almost thirty years age – well, I guess they ‘may’ be considered “vintage” – OI, I have been doing this a long time!! But anyway, since those pieces were made for another lady, they have never fit me perfectly. I will be sewing a lot of new clothes this year.
So this blog will be a record of this year, with photos as often as I wear something new. I will not promise to post every day, but this is the focus of my year.
Let us see what it brings!