Soo, I was looking through the fat “fashion” magazines in the library the other day, trying to imagine myself in the spring and summer styles. Er, don’t try that at home, kids, you might get hurt. As it was I put the glossy tome back on the shelf and resumed my hunt for the elusive old-n-rare history book that the computer swore was still on the shelf. (Found it three shelves down, one over.) I’m coming to the conclusion that my entire life is out of fashion, not just my closet.

For whatever reason, probably because He needed to do something with a bunch of leftover parts, my physique is, well, kinda working-class Victorian. Broad shoulders, very large triceps and biceps, a narrower waist, and quads that make the body-builders go slack-jawed in admiration. Which stinks if you are trying to buy modern clothes. Officially I should wear a 6. My shoulders need at least a 10 and my arms can be up to a 14. OR I get leg-o-muffin sleeves. Straight skirts? Nope. Dirndl skirts or full 19th Century skirts? Perfect. And believe me, in winter? Those styles let you hide flannel petticoats and/or long-johns much better than does a modern women’s suit.

Likewise, my personal preferences for conduct lean closer to the 1890s American West than to the 2010s. I believe in helping neighbors if they need a hand, and in quiet charity to local organizations. I prefer modesty in dress and speech, more or less, and really don’t care to see people’s underwear no matter how lovely the pattern may be.  If I open the gate, I’ll shut it. I believe in stewardship of resources but not in depriving someone of their livelihood or impoverishing people for the good of “nature.” I believe in meeting people’s eyes and trying to smile, to say “thank you” and sir and ma’am as appropriate. I believe in respect.

As I’ve written elsewhere, I’m fortunate to live in a place where people open doors and offer a hand. Word is still deed for many people out here, although we’re not saints by a long shot. The regional “elites” such as they are traditionally score social points though charity rather than big houses and trophy spouses, and it trickles down. Yes, there’s still trouble, crimes of passion and foolishness and greed, bank robberies and beatings, people who play stupid games and win stupid prizes, political divides and a few simmering family fights that go back almost a hundred years now. But the social contract remains pretty firm even so.

I’m sure it shows in my writing. My characters try to do the right thing, even though their standards and society may be a wee bit different from mine. They also take the consequences of their actions, with a few exceptions (who usually end up serving as horrible warnings). They also tend to be religious, or not, but have codes of morals either way. They discriminate based on action and creed rather than color, again within the bounds of their societies. (Let’s face it, Elizabeth von Sarmas has a very good reason for her allergic reaction to anyone who follows Selkow or who wears yellow in her presence.) My work is old-fashioned in that way. As for the steamy passion bits, well, sorry folks. My few attempts at NC-17 or X rated scenes were more laughable than titillating.

I think I’m stuck wearing clothes that cover everything, mostly, with manners and habits that belong in a different century. Maybe I should market myself as a “vintage author.” After all, vintage is kinda trendy again. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Out-of-Fashion

  1. 🙂

    You mention skirts, but I have heard more than one woman complaining about the current trend for ‘skinny’ jeans, which as a man I have to say look very good on the right shaped women… but they shouldn’t be made in anything over, oh say, a size 6. Even if the woman wearing them doesn’t see the hypocrisy in a size 22 pair of skinny jeans, everybody within a half mile of her can.

    I used to have a friend who played hockey, she had quads much like you describe yours. In excellent shape, without any extra fat on her, but her thighs were just plain large. She played hob getting pants that would fit her (the only time I saw her in a dress was back in high school when I took her to the prom) if they fit her in the thighs, the waist was large enough for her to tuck a parka in. I later had another friend built similarly (well, on the bottom, she was both much broader shouldered, and much more endowed, up top) she wore mens Carhatt logger’s pants exclusively, as they fit her thighs, and since she had a somewhat larger waist they fit nicely with the aid of a belt. Both of these women were very physically active, and in good shape, not what anyone with eyes would consider overweight (although by BMI at least the second would have been considered well overweight, but very little of it was fat, and she could grab me under the armpits and lift me armslength over her head) but they didn’t fit the current “ideals” and while the older style dresses and skirts you mention would probably have worked for them, neither the modern skirts, nor the current fashion for womens pants worked out for them.

    • Anything labeled “skinny” is bad news in my style world. Especially skinny with “shaping panels.” If I’m going that far, I’m going to just pay for the corset and have it made to fit.

      I suspect your friends are why Duluth started making women’s clothes. I wager someone noticed a bunch of women ordering men’s smalls and mediums and said “hey, I see a market.” Or they grew up around farm women and reached the same conclusion. Some years ago I saw a photo of fisherwomen in Scotland at the turn-of-the century and thought “I have found my people!” One of the women had a barrel of herring on her shoulder and was carrying it up steps.

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