Monday, March 4, 2013

Gibson Girls, It Girls, and Mod Girls: a little history in an outfit

Coat: London Fog; Hat and Dress: vintage; Tights: Reitmans; Boots: Ecco
In my last post, I talked about the links between chronic pain and depression. It was, to say the least, a downer of post. Therefore, on my Facebook page, I promised that my next post would be an upbeat one with photos taken by the very same James who looks so glum in my piece about depression and pain. 

He's definitely a wonderful fashion fag and we had a blast taking these photos. He posed me and everything and I think it went pretty well, if I do say so myself. 
"Think of Superwoman," he said. "See how your stance was emboldened?" Why indeed he was right!

Here you see my other new London Fog raincoat with its famous lining. (You can see the first one here.)

Such raincoats are pretty timeless. They get tricked out and varied over the years but the basic raincoat is always a good way to pull an outfit together.  

Clutch: thrift. You can tell I'm in pain by the way I'm leaning on the tree. Some day, I'll do a post on pain poses.
I admit though that I think this one may be a bit long, though it's a petite. I haven't decided whether or not I'll hem it. What do you think? Should I?

I've been trying different ways of styling my hair with my new curl cream. I sometimes end up with startlingly well-defined ringlets in the front and they always remind me of Mary Pickford and her ilk. Combine that with the hat I was wearing, which I call my Virginia Woolf hat, and I felt just a little bit 1919.

When I was a teenager, I remember all of my grandmother's female friends gathering round me and saying, "You know what she looks like? She looks just like a Gibson Girl," and exclaiming to each other, "My goodness. She does!"

At the time, I had no idea what they were talking about. Now, my increasing knowledge of fashion history makes me think they were slightly off the mark. I think they really meant instead that my teenage self reminded them of a beauty trend that fell just between the Gibson Girl in the 19-aughts...

... and the "It Girl," as personified by Clara Bow in the 1920s. If I do the math on their ages, that seems about right. Never mind. I take it and took it as a compliment. It was the curly hair that got them, I think, and the white white skin and "girl next door" cheeks.

It made me happy to make them happy. I've always been comfortable with old people and have often preferred their company.

In fact, though, I was not going for an early 19th century look. I was going for a 1960s look. Think Mod after it left London and found its way to America. I think the dress I wore looks an awful lot like the dress pattern on the above left which, judging from the sunglasses, bangle, and headscarf, might actually be from the early 70s. What do you think? The dress patterns on the right are definitely 60s though.

You'd think from my recent posts that I'm ga-ga for the 60s. I'm not actually but I think that the whole Mad Men craze and Mad Men Women line of clothes from Banana Republic has have kind of corrupted me a bit. Plus, I do admit that I take a certain perverse glee in knowing that my hippie parentes would be disappointed with me for going for the conservative early to mid 60s clothes, rather than the radical late 60s hippie clothes.
Yes, I do go to this cafe a lot. It's one of the easier ones for me to walk to and I live in Cafe Central, aka Little Italy. This one is run by three brothers. Their father started it.
There is no part of me that wants to look like a hippie anymore. I am bohemian. I am counter-culture. But I am NOT a hippie.

And I'm not bitter -- well, maybe just a little.

So, in keeping with the "straight" (non-hippie) 60s theme, it was imperative that I go a little overboard with the makeup. With me, that generally means wearing makeup at all as I often go without any. I did a very subdued version of the above right, with dark green eyeliner, pale green shadow, and pale, frosted lipstick.

Earrings: vintage (from a free bin, if I remember correctly)
Even if you're only alluding to the period, you really can't do so without the heavy eyeliner and the frosted lipstick. That would be like doing an 80s allusion without huge hair!

Headband: Stylize; Left gold and diamond ring: Birks; Coloured costume ring on right: from Barefoot Contessa; Coral and gold-fill ring: a gift from Beau
James had fun posing me like a fashion model and I was pretty pleased with the results, to tell the vain truth. 


And they provide proof once again that my eyes are not actually brown. They're green and orange, for the record. I don't know why this point is so important to me. I guess green eyes just sound more exotic to me.

Gold-fill bracelet: vintage from my grandmother; Brooch: vintage. I found it in a free-bin/the trash.
As usual, I'm about the little details.

I don't like to be too matchy-matchy but I do like what I wear to harmonize, like this bracelet that was my paternal grandmother's, and this Birks ring that a friend once said he could imagine Keith Richards wearing. I often now call it my Keith Richards ring.

Pendant: vintage; Gold chain: thrift
Sometimes I pile it on a bit thick, but why the hell not? It's my life and I'll bling if I want to. Beau's kids want me to wear every piece of jewelry I own all at once so trust me when I say that I don't go as all-out as I could.

This pendant, by the way, is what I call my "Consciousness Raising Group Circa 1974" pendant. Someday I'm sure I'll do a whole post on that look.

And there's nothing like brightly coloured tights to pull together a 60s allusion. I thought these ones matched the purple in the dress relatively well.

I got this dress second hand years ago for only a few dollars, yet a I get compliments on it every time I wear it. It too has a name: my Gloria Stivic dress.

Yeah, I name my clothes and accessories after literary and cultural figures and movements. Wanna make somethin' of it?

Kitty: very vintage (17 years), a rescue kitty; Rug: vintage
This one I call Bobby, named after Bob Buckingham, sometime lover of the late and very great E.M. Forster. Bobby is one of my faves.

(All this time later, I'm sharing this with Spy Girl's gang because she's challenged us all to wear looks from the 1910s.)



  1. And what is Bobby thinking in that last pic?

  2. Whoever knows with that guy? The look he's giving me, though, says, "Pet me, and then I'll run away." He's a "come here, get away" kind of a cat.

  3. Ah, I am also very particular about my green and orange eyes. We are a rare lot, those of us with this eye color.

    I would shorten the trench a couple or three inches.

    I wish we lived in the same neighborhood!