Sunday, April 17, 2016

Disability Style: What I Wear When Everything Hurts

I don't usually write about specific clothing brands or give advise to my readers about how to dress, but, for this post, I want to give advice about what to wear when you're in a pain flare. You know those days: when you've been stuck in bed for days or weeks (or more) and you just have to get out of the house or you'll lose your mind, even though you know you should stay home. Those are the days when your body says, "Rest!" but your mind and spirit say, "Get me out of here!" 

At times like that, comfort is incredibly important but, for some of us, so is looking good. This post is about what I wear that hurts as little as possible, and looks, if not beautiful, then at least better than I feel -- and that's saying a lot.

What works for me is not necessarily what works for you. We all know that every chronic pain condition is different, and every person experiences her condition differently. Of course, I'm also female and femme, so my advice may not apply to those whose tastes are more masculine. I am hoping some of my advice will help you and I'm also hoping that you will share your own advice in the comments section of this post. Let's help each other out!

As you know if you read Sublime Mercies regularly, my neglectful father died suddenly in early March, throwing my life into a chaos of conflicting emotions and American paperwork that is not over yet. As a result, I'm behind on my blog posts. For instance, Beau took these photos of me in February but I'm only turning them into a blog post now, in April.

January was an extremely bad month for me: a month long pain flare that nearly did me in. I was starting to feel a tiny bit better, the sun was finally out, and spring was busting out early, as it always does here. I couldn't stay inside for a moment longer.

Dress: Old Navy; Tights and garters from Sock Dreams; Boots: Keen; Sunglasses: Aldo; Sweater: Reitman's; Earrings, scarf, and jacket: vintage 
I just had to get out and enjoy the spring flowers.

I knew it would hurt like hell, and it did.

But I also knew my heart and soul needed it. You know that balancing act, when the needs of your body and the needs of your soul are in conflict, and you have to decide what you need most.

Sometimes, seeing a stray crocus in your yard is more important than rest.

Sometimes, I need to see the new daffodils.

For me, feeling pretty also helps my spirits and that was another reason I wanted to get out of the house. If you're anything like me, you live in either sweats or a nightgown most of the time when you're at home. They don't hurt. And, at home, that's really all I care about.  But I end up feeling like quite the schlub, and that doesn't help my spirits, which are already low when I'm in a pain flare.

So I dress up, a little, and prudently.

This Old Navy dress is one of my go-to dresses when I'm in terrible pain. I've been wearing dresses a lot lately because they bind less at the waist and lower back, the locus of my particular pain condition. But this particular dress is special. It's very soft and very loose and has no waist band of any sort.

I have a silly, unconscious habit of sucking in my belly whenever I'm wearing something that shows my waist. I did this even when I was skinny. Every time I catch myself doing it, I stop, but then without realizing it, I do it again. This can escalate my back pain in no time. So, on bad pain days, I make sure to wear something that obscures my middle enough that I'm less likely so suck in.

Yet I'm no fan of the tent dress. I like Mrs. Roper as much as the next person, but I'm not quite ready to wear a tent. A seamstress could easily explain how my dress is made. All I can manage is to tell you that it's made of panels, joined in such a way that they make it nip in just a tad at the waist. The kids are calling such dresses "swing" dresses these days. They give the body a flattering shape and definition, without binding or making me feel I have to pull in my gut to look thinner. (Consciously, I know I never have to do this, but some other part of me doesn't.) 

Now why do you suppose I'm looking up into the sky?

Because I'm looking at two bald eagles flying way high above me, that's why! See those tiny specks at the top of the photo? Those are eagles. I love my city!

Lately, I've been exploring another way to accent the waist without hurting my back. As I mentioned in my last post, 90s grunge dresses are coming back in style so I've been buying some vintage ones on Etsy. One of their great qualities is the fact that they are loose and usually don't have a defined waist. Instead, they have a piece of fabric on either side of the waist that I can tie as tightly or as loosely as I want, defining my waist as much or as little as I want. 

If the bow at the back hurts when I'm on my scooter, or sitting in a chair, I can simply tie the dress in the front instead. Such dresses are quickly becoming a second go-to style for me on high pain days.

But back to this dress. At times, my pain flares include excruciating pain in my ribs that make wearing a bra absolutely out of the question. Though I am a 38 DD, I can and have gotten away with wearing this particular dress without a bra, though I am wearing one in this photo. The trick for me is to wear a loose dress or perhaps one with ruffles on the front, with a super soft, stretchy, close fitting tank top or camisole underneath.

If you feel that you can handle wearing a bra, or you just can't stand to go out without one, my first recommendation would be to wear one without underwire. Sadly, given the size of my chest, that doesn't really feel like an option for me. As you may well know, underwire bras for larger bosoms can be extremely binding and uncomfortable, feeling more like a harness than a form of support.

Don't worry about the scratch marks on my skin. I'm so ridiculously white that the lightest scratch of an itch leaves bright pink streaks on my skin for at least half an hour. That's why I made this photo black and white.
I've had fairly good luck with the Hanes G113 bra which goes up to a size 40 DD. It's very soft, not terribly restrictive, has no tags to scratch the skin, and comes in a huge range of colours: black, beige, and white. Probably because I was smaller chested when I was young, and because I never had children, I'm lucky to have a fairly firm chest that stays relatively upright on its own. I find this bra gives me enough support but I'm not sure how others would feel about it. If you're proud of your breasts and want to show them off a bit, you might find this bra too minimizing, but, for me, the comfort makes it. If you feel that any hint of a nipple is verboten, this is not the bra for you, but I'm kind of over the whole nipple taboo that has held reign over the world for about 20 years now. 
Yes, this is me in both photos. I thought I'd spare you the irritation of seeing the bra on a thin youngster. It felt brave to take these photos. Note too the mottled skin on my lower back. That comes from using a TENS machine almost constantly for the first few years of my disability.
This bra has a three hook, back clasp which I know might pose a challenge for many disabled women. If you've found any good, comfortable bras with front or velcro clasps, please do tell us about them in the comments below. Indeed, I'd love for you all to share as much advice about bras as you can. What works with your disability, your fashion tastes, and your body shape and size? These things can be terribly hit and miss so a little advice is always welcome.

Calvin Klein's basic full slip, on a skinny model. It only goes up to a size large but is very comfortable if you're a smaller woman.
On days when you simply can't wear a bra, you can also wear a loose, silky, full slip to help conceal the contours of your ungirded chest (and cellulite in general). Slips are also a good way to help keep you warmer in cool weather. I wore them throughout the winter here this year, making it less necessary for me to wear tights (a subject I'll address later).

Once a staple of every wardrobe, full slips are no longer easy to find. If you're slimmer, you could try Calvin Klein's plain, full slip. If you're larger, I found a nice one made by T Voglio, which is available at Pennington's in Canada. However, I could only find it in black and it already seems to be sold out. Again, if any of you have more suggestions, please share them.

Another option is to buy vintage slips. They're beautiful and extremely well made. There are a lot of them on Etsy so, if you know your measurements, you can buy them from the comfort of your bed, where I'm sure you, like I, spend a lot of your time.

Two cautions about slips (and bras) if you have sensitive skin, which I know is common with some chronic pain conditions. Most full slips have adjustable straps and I worry that the little metal bit might irritate some people's skin. I'd also caution that, as pretty as it is on lingerie, cheap lace isn't often a good idea close to the skin. It can cause real irritation or worse, even for those of us with fairly "normal" skin. (Because I'm so pale, my skin is a bit more sensitive than most people's but nothing like it is for those with conditions that cause extreme skin sensitivity.) If you want to go for lace, try it on first. You may find you have to pay extra for good quality lace that doesn't hurt you.

Back to the dress itself. Despite the fact that I feel like I'm getting away with wearing a nightgown in public, I always get compliments when I wear this dress, probably because of its pretty floral pattern. Sadly, (the Canadian) Old Navy doesn't seem to carry it in this pattern anymore but I have seen it in some striped varieties on their websites.

It being February, there was still a chill in the air, though it wasn't winter weather at all. I've been having a lot of trouble wearing tights and nylons. Their tight waists cause me a great deal of back pain and, since I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, they can make my gut to roil in minutes.

I've been experimenting with all kinds of solutions to this problem and have yet to find a perfect one. Chronically Vintage wrote me wonderfully thoughtful email with lots of advice about solutions to this problem, so I've still got some tricks to try. She plans to write a whole blog post about this issue for disabled women; I'll do my best to share it when she does.

These extra long stockings paired with old fashioned garters do work relatively well for me. I suspect that the garters could be tough to manage if you have disabilities that affect how much you can do with your hands, and the pressure on the thighs might bother some women too. My hands work well and, since my main pain is in my back, the pressure caused by these garters is highly preferable to that of tights on my lower back.

Even with the garters, I've found all stockings still fall down when I walk, so I only wear them when I won't be walking much. They'd probably work better for a woman who is in a wheelchair full time; please let me know.

One more note about these tights. I was quite impressed with Sock Dreams, the company that sold them. They sell a large range of sizes, and they use real people, including larger, trans, and disabled women, as their models. I wanted this stocking and garter combo to be more successful because I wanted to give this little company more of my business.

Knee boots are another great option for wheeled women in cold weather. If you're on wheels, you already know how cold your knees, shins, and ankles can get when you're out an about. The current trend for high knee socks with high boots is a real boon for us.

Don't these boots look well with our winter kale? Footwear is always a struggle for me. With trial and error, I've learned that flexible rubber soles are an absolute must for me on most days but especially on high pain days. Anything else will rapidly increase my back pain the minute I walk at all. These boots are Keen. The heel is a little higher than I'd like but I'm getting used to it. 

My favourite footwear brand is Ecco, though I hear that women with wider feet prefer New Balance which has just come out with a prettier line called Cobb Hill.

I also have all kinds of trouble with buckles, ties, and zippers as I can barely reach my feet on the best of days, and pulling up a stubborn zipper, like the one on these boots, can hurt like hell. On bad days, I simply get Beau to help me, but I generally choose my footwear with the goal of independence when I get dressed. We all want independence, don't we?

Yes I hurt myself a bit trying to get to the kale to show off my fancy boots ... 

... and trying to show off these pretty flowers.

Because flowers!

I had a little trouble getting to these flowers in our yard too.

I even got a little playful, showing off our honeysuckle vines and their rapid, February progress. I'm hoping they will grow thick enough this summer to provide me with some lovely, scented shade under the balcony.

It was probably good for me to push myself a little, just to see the pretty flowers. We all strive to find our motivation to push ourselves to move our bodies a little: two of my motivations are nature and nice outfits.

So, back to the outfit. Given the time of year, I layered up so I was ready for temperature changes. This soft, slouchy sweater is a great colour for me and is easy to toss over anything. 

Beau likes it because he says it accents my waist. I don't really see it from the front.

But I can definitely see it from the back.

I added a matching scarf too.

Scarves provide more warmth than you'd think and allow for a lot of versatility as the weather changes on a given day. They can be quite itchy though, so choose them carefully.

I threw on this butter soft, leather jacket which I knew I'd need as soon as the sun went down.

I think I created a nice, layered outfit that didn't pinch or bind but also didn't make me look frumpy. Comfort need not be frumpy.

It was very good year for heather and I loved how the flowers on my jacket matched the flowers on the heather.

You know I'm a fan of dressing to match the day and the flora around me.

It's fun and makes me feel like a part of the lovely landscape.

Now, about hair, something that can be a real problem for disabled women and/or women with chronic pain. (I generally think of chronic pain as a disability but how you identify is up to you.) I do often wear my hair up but, if I have one of my frequent and debilitating headaches (another symptom of my disability), any pressure or pulling whatsoever on my head can increase my pain. Leaving it down becomes my only option. A good haircut can make this work well, as can good product. When my hair is wet, I put a little Sebastian Potion #9 in it to keep the frizz down. I also sometimes use Bumble and Bumble curl cream for fine hair to help sculpt my curls. When I go out, I simply brush my hair and then spritz it with water mist to redefine the curls.

But, let's face it: when you're in constant pain, washing your hair can be far far too much work, or even downright impossible. I don't wash my hair as often as I should. I just hope my dirty hair days coincide with my no headache days so I can pin it up. I've also found that simple headbands are easy to use and can conceal the worst of dirty hair. 

I recently started using dry shampoo too. I don't like the way it makes my hair feel and smell, but it does make it look better easily and quickly. It adds volume, redefines curl, and eliminates greasiness.

And, when it all gets too much, I sit on my disability stool in the bath and get Beau to wash my hair, an exercise in giggles and soap in my ears. Bless him for it.

Speaking of hassles, probably because of my mixed hippie and Quaker upbringing, I am not a woman who feels naked when I go out without makeup. I go without it less often than I wear the stuff, and I feel hopelessly inept when I do wear it. My comfort without makeup removes one step from my routine when I go out. If I'm in a lot of pain, I'm even less likely to add that step. However, I generally will wear a tinted, Burt's Bees lip shimmer, almost always in Fig, one of their darkest colours (plum is even darker but also very smeary). It moisturises the lips while adding a little colour to a face drained by pain. The downside is that it comes off quickly and needs to be reapplied often.

As I get older, I do get frustrated with flushed skin, dry red patches, and the redness of tiny spider veins. I can quickly fix that with a judicious application of Kevin Aucoin's dewdrop powder foundation, DW03. It's not too cakey or obvious. But, honestly, I usually don't bother.

I'm extremely white, which can make me look drawn and tired. I made a conscious effort in this post not to alter these photos to give my face more colour, nor to alter them to hide the red flushness that can overtake my face in an instant. This is the real me, super white and prone to red patches. Still, not too bad for 45 years old!

Sunglasses are wonderful a short cut to looking put-together and sophisticated without wearing makeup. Movie stars do it all the time. No time or inclination to do your eyes? Just throw on some stylish sunglasses and a little lip tint and you're ready to go. Dark sunglasses have the added benefit of making white skin look less flawed; the contrast between the dark and the light highlights the white and not the red. Of course, sunglasses are also good when you have a cracking headache which I so often do.

Here's a funny thing: as much as I couldn't care less if I'm not wearing makeup, I simply cannot leave the house without earrings. I have a real passion for vintage clip-on earrings and, unless I have one of my worst headaches, even on a bad pain day, I am willing to suffer the added pain of clip-ons. Go figure. We all have our beauty musts.

About my canes. My motto is: If you have to use canes, you might as well make them a fashion accessory. Therefore, I have many canes to go with my different outfits and often find myself asking Beau, not which cane I should use that day, but which cane I should wear. I chose this cane in part because the pink matched my outfit but you can also see that I'm really relying on it to help ease my pain and increase my mobility.

I've found that canes with this particular triangle structure at the top tend to give the best support. The triangle is the second strongest shape, second only to the circle, so it makes sense that this cane type feels the sturdiest.

I think that's all for this particular outfit, though I have other tricks I'll show you in other posts. Tell us all what works for you! 

(I'm sharing this with Sydney Fashion HunterNot Dead Yet, Not Dressed as Lamb, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Happiness at Mid Life, Fashion Should Be Fun, and Style Nudge.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fashionable Cheer in the Drear of the 30s and 40s

I love this dress! People in the fashion industry use the word "obsessed" far too often but I have been genuinely obsessed with 1930s floral patterns since I wrote my last post about 1930s dresses. The cut of this dress does not fit the bill but the print on the fabric does -- perfectly

Dress: Lazybones; Sweater: Max; Shoes: Ecco; Earrings: boutique; Cape, cane, handbag, necklace, brooches, and bracelet: vintage
I feel very pretty in this dress, and very connected to women's history, and that makes me happy.

Just look at this dress from 1940! The print on it is almost identical to the one on mine. How exciting is that? Very exciting. The cut of the dress is clearly of the late 30s and early 40s, unlike mine but they still do have some things in common ...

... most notably the smocking details at the shoulder, which serve to enhance the bosom without being too obvious about it.

Often called "ditsy" prints, small, sunny, floral patterns in "gay" colours were very popular ...

... from the early 30s, when hems were low ...

... through the late 30s and early 1940s, as hemlines rose and shoulder pads ruled the fashion world, for men and women alike.

I wonder if such cheery colours and prints were popular during the Depression and World War II because they could help raise the spirits in very difficult times.

Who knows what sorrows and fears this young woman held behind this smile? But I'll bet the dress helped, if only just a little.

I know a little something about hardship too. See how I'm bracing myself on the tree as I struggle to walk and stand on rough ground?

You know how I became disabled. You know I'm in pain all the time.

But, for some people, people like me, spirits can be lifted by something as simple as a gay floral patter. That doesn't make us shallow. It makes us people with the lucky gift of finding comfort in the little things. 

Patterns and colours like these were everywhere in the 1930s. Take this lovely little sugar bowl that I picked up for a few dollars at a thrift store. Isn't it pretty? (If you know more about this Myott China pattern, please do let me know too.) Note the little crosshatch pattern.

Is it just a tad like the one on my dress?

How about the little flowers and crosshatch pattern on this dress I found in a 1934, Lane Bryant catalogue? Yes, Lane Bryant has been around for a long time, but, back then, women of curves were called "stout," not "plus size."

Anyway, as I was saying, these lovely little florals were not only on dresses. They were on China ... 

... children's toys (see the little flowers on the left?) ... 

... children's books (those flowers again!) ...

... jewelry (the flowers of my Miriam Haskell brooch match my dress so well, they almost disappear) ... 

... special interest publications ...

... birthday cards ...

... and interior design, among other things.

One could easily match everything -- even houses.

As with other trends, these floral patterns were worn by everyone, from the very young (note that this is an ad for a flour sack, we'll come back to that) ...

... to the fairly young ...

... to the middle aged ...

... to the very old, as with these four sisters.

Every generation wore them.

The very poor wore them.

And the very wealthy chic wore them.

I've been very very poor at times, but I like to think that I've always been chic -- okay, maybe. At any rate, I think any woman or girl who enjoyed femininity would have felt chic and lovely in these dresses.

It helped that, on this particular day, I matched the world around me. The flowers were already busting out all over, long before they did in the rest of Canada.

When the trees blossom all pink and wonderful ...

It always feels like a celebration.

I've tried here to use images in which at least one of the dresses has a sunny print similar to mine, but I'll bet you've noticed that some of the other prints bear an uncanny resemblance to prints on 1990s grunge or "granny" dresses. The above brooch is from the 1930s. The fabric is from the 90s.

These are from the 1930s. Need I say more? Everything old is new again, and again.

A good thing is a good thing.

Why not?

Floral granny dresses are coming back yet again. I've noticed it in the fashion magazines, especially in the latest designs by Chloe. Sometimes, on the street, I see a girl in a granny dress, leggings, and lace up boots, and I feel like it's 1992 all over again. I'll admit that I've been buying a few vintage 90s dresses on Etsy. Watch for them in upcoming posts.

I have no problem with that bringing back a great thing. My only frustration is that, each time an old style makes a comeback, no-one seems to realize that it's been done before. To me, it's a kind of respect toward women's history to recognize that we are wearing something our great-grandmothers wore too. It's a way to connect.

Even as some things were the same then, times were different. Remember again: this was the Depression, closely followed buy a devastating and terrifying world war. Those who had some money, could buy these lovely dresses ready-made.

But, as I did my research, I found far more advertisements for ditsy print fabric than for the dresses themselves.

It was still very common for women to know how to sew. Doing so was economical and made it possible for women to tailor their clothes to their exact measurements. Imagine: fitting the dress to your body, rather than struggling to fit your body to the dress!

Sounds good to me. Do you know how many dresses I'd own if I could sew? I was never crafty and I sewed terribly in Home Economics class. Now that I'm disabled, sewing would hurt my back terribly so, alas, a seamstress I will never be. But perhaps I could hire one? Imagine ...

But I digress. Back to the fabrics.

During the Depression, there were a great many women who could not afford fabric with which to sew their clothes. They sometimes used flour sacks to make dresses for themselves and their daughters. When the flour companies learned of this, they started packing their products in bags printed with dainty, pretty patterns and bright colours.

The company with the prettiest patterns sold the most flour: win win.

The sacks were not just used to make clothing. They were also used for all sorts of things, such as curtains ... 

... and, if I'm looking at this correctly, set designs too. 

But they're best known for having been used to make dresses, as evidenced here by this very poor, Depression era family. This photo always rips my heart out. They all look so unhappy. The constant worry about feeding, clothing, and housing her children, is written on this mother's face, and the physical struggle of providing for his family is written on this man's body. The fact that he looks a lot like an ex of mine makes their plight all the more real to me.

Do note that all four of the oldest children in this photo are in the  photo of the children on stage. They're so poor, they don't even have shoes, but the girls do have pretty dresses. Do you think it helped? 

I do at least get the sense that there was no shame in using flour sacks for clothing, though I could be wrong. These were the days when making do was understood to be a positive character trait. Wastefulness was frowned upon as almost sinful, especially during the war.

My grandparents announcing their engagement, in 1935 or 1936

I'd love to find out if my grandmother is wearing a flour sack dress in her engagement photo to my grandpa here. I suspect it was not but I'll bet it was sewn, either by her or someone in her family.  Regardless, this was 1935 or 1936 and she was clearly fashionable for her day. I recently had a chance to see other photos of her in her youth: What a beauty! This doesn't surprise me -- she was a great beauty till the day she died -- but it is nice to see photos of her in the full flush of youth.

And don't they look happy?

I think of them when I think of my own love story. There's Beau, being Juliet ...

... to my Romeo. That's the love light in my eyes there as I look up at him.

Everybody gives Beau the love eyes, even the cat. Milo may be holding my hand here, but it's Beau upon whom he's gazing with so much love. I've never before known a cat with such dog-like devotion to his human.

But I digress again. It was from my grandmother that I learned that flat, lace-up shoes can be worn with a skirt or dress. This has been great information to have now that I'm disabled. I had to give up my high heels but I surely did not want to give up my pretty dresses and skirts.

I've been oohing and aahing about the similarities between my dress and the dresses of the 1930s and early 1940s. Now let's talk about the differences. The main difference is the amount of fabric used in my dress. After WWII, cloth rations started to be lifted so women could use more fabric in their outfits. Starting with Dior's, 1947 New Look, full circle skirts were the vogue. They were often worn over a crinoline to further enhance the sheer opulence of fabric after all those years of austerity.

They really are fun and playful to wear. If I could twirl, my dress would billow out like this one.

Throughout the 30s and early 40s, skirts were worn straighter and closer to the body. The Depression was not a time for full skirts; that much fabric was simply too expensive. And, during WWII, cloth was needed for the war and was therefore rationed for everyday use.  

A dress like this would have been downright unpatriotic and any woman who wore it would have been judged quite harshly for her selfishness and materialism.

But things changed after the war. I was sad that my dress, its print so perfect for the 1930s, was not cut anything like a dress in the 1930s. I wanted a flour sack dress, gosh darn it!

Well, don't despair. Look what I found: flour sack ads from the 1950s featuring dresses uncannily similar to mine.


I found lots and lots of them ...

... including some with floral patterns like the one on mine.

Does this look familiar? This is a fabric remnant from the 50s. I don't know whether or not it's a flour sack but it does prove to me that my little ditsy pattern dress would have fit right in.

And, of course, these were wealthier times for many. Ready-made dresses were more popular now that many people could afford them. I assume that the same is true of lovely fabrics not found on flour sacks.

Here too we see those crinoline I mentioned, used to full (pun intended) effect.

It's all so fun. 

As much as I still want a 1930s, flour sack dress, I do love the cut of this dress.

I love the the fullness of the skirt and the way it swishes when I move.

I love the detail at the waist and the way it flatters a more buxom figure.

Did you know that Dior's New Look required women to wear padding on their hips, breasts, and shoulders? Far from wanting to look slimmer, after all those years of deprivation, women wanted to look curvier, healthier, and well fed, tight corsets not withstanding.

This is not a slimming look, but why should it be? One of my pet peeves is all the advice in fashion magazines about how to look slimmer and taller, as if a shorter, curvier woman simply cannot look good or be happy with her appearance. I don't want to look taller, and, if I look good, why should I care if I look slim?

There is more than one way to look good. Beauty is varied!

And thank God for that.

I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about my outfit accessories. The butterflies, I think, were a no brainer. Though they were probably made in the 1960s, their colours matched my dress so well, it seemed obvious that I would wear them on my cape, so that the cape and the dress matched.

I wore the yellow Murano glass beads to match the yellow in my skirt, and the little flower earrings match both the flowers on the dress and the peachy coral of my shoes. Though my necklace is not a perfect match to the dress, the coral, fresh water pearls do go well with the earrings and shoes, and, besides, it's an original, Art Deco necklace, circa 1930. How could I not wear it? (Do please ignore the bit of fluff caught in my ring. Such is real life.)

I chose a subtle green eye shadow to play up the sage green in my dress, and, to speak truth, the hazel tones in my eyes.

Mostly, though, I wanted to echo the yellow of the dress. I could have chosen to echo any of the colours here ...

... but it was early spring and yellow is such an optimistic, spring colour ...

... that yellow just seemed the obvious choice.

I regret to say that my shoes aren't a perfect match for the dress but, you know, my funds aren't actually unlimited, so I can't have a different pair of shoes for every outfit. It's so sad.

My purse isn't a perfect match either but it is from the 30s or early 40s, and I thought the brown was warm enough to go with the yellows and corals. And the cane has enough yellow in to match the outfit too, though I'm not totally keen on the black and blues, as light blue is a trigger colour for me.

But all together, I felt very pretty ...

... and well put together ...

... in my full circle dress ...

... with its 30s print and 50s cut ...

... connecting me to women's history and all the lovely ladies who came before me, paving the way for us, just as you and I are paving the way for the girls and women who will be born when we are long gone.

(I'd like to thank my friend, Josie, for being guest photographer on this post. She had a charming way of smiling at me as she took the pictures, causing me to smile in response. Can you tell?)

(I'm sharing this with Happiness at Mid-Life, Style NudgeNot Dressed as LambAdri Lately, Not Dead Yet, and Sydney Fashion Hunter.)