Does anyone wish it could be like the olden days, when....

(83 Posts)
Eliza22 Fri 26-Apr-13 09:41:51

You had, in your wardrobe say, a number of pinafore-type dresses and different shirts/blouses for underneath? I'm hankering after a Valentine Wallopp (Parade's End) or Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility). Then, on a Sunday, you maybe had a choice of "best" outfits.

I'm utterly sick to death of our stores and all the excess. It's all cheap material, see through flimsy crap, T-shirt "dresses" that look awful on a woman of a certain age and aren't really dresses because they're so short, you need jeans or thick tights under them.

I suppose (and I don't expect anyone to post back) what I'm saying is, I wish clothes/looks/image weren't so important. I'd like to bin half of my wardrobe (and its pretty minimal, as it is) and just wear much the same thing, every day and not feel people are thinking "doesn't she have anything else to put on?"

I'm hankering after not so much a contrived "capsule" wardrobe as a just less of everything.

Am I bonkers? (Be kind, in answering that question) or does anyone else feel as I do?

higgle Fri 26-Apr-13 14:40:59

I used to have a horse and had a blue tweed "mountain and moreland" show jacket for horse shows. It was fantastic quality and cost about a third of a normal tweed jacket from Joules or somewhere trendy. Once I'd sold my horse ( long story, too busy to ride her) to be a brood mare I had the shape of the jacket altered and I've been wearing it for nearly 10 years now. Still have a show hairnet in one of the pockets.

fridgepants Fri 26-Apr-13 14:41:21

Not too long ago, shops had new stock at the beginning of the season and that was it. Now there seems to be new 'pieces' in stores every week, and it fuels a kind of consumerist panic - that if we don't buy it today, it'll be sold out tomorrow.

It drives me nuts, because I want to buy well-made things in fibres that don't irritate me, and I can't. Monsoon seems to have gone all polyester/viscose these days - five years ago they were selling silk for the same price.

higgle Fri 26-Apr-13 14:46:48

I've just remembered this site - I would love some of their stuff but never seem to get round to ordering Old Town

Eliza22 Fri 26-Apr-13 15:02:54

Drjohnsonscat it is, actually, part of the point of this thread smile. I started by saying, it'd be great if we had say 2 or 3 items and we swapped shirt/knitwear/blouse and didn't have overflowing clothes spilling from every furniture "orifice" in our homes. And when you look at it, it's pretty much crap which years ago would never have been sold to the working class, cause they needed serviceable, strong clothes in (usually) dark colours, to save on the washing!

My neighbour, who's 89 always comments to me, over the fence, that I do so much 'laundry'. It's because again, we're in the habit of one wear-one wash for stuff. I'm trying to educate my son, that if it's not got food down the front of it.... It can be worn more than once before washing!angry

Now, I'm not suggesting we roll the fashion clocks back to 1910 but (and I've probably been watching too much "The Village" on BBC1) that woman, Grace, had bugger all. And she'd wrap a woollen (probably warm, home knitted) shawl about her, and off she went. No one looked at her as if to say "what is she wearing?! And, she was wearing it yesterday.... And the day before that!" Women then couldn't even vote had no rights, were often in abusive patriarchal relationships etc etc but now, we're utterly obsessed with clothes/image/physical shape/ celebrity based on the quality of photoshopping!

The world's gone man.

I'm gonna find me a dressmaker. Get some good gabardine material (for winter) and linen for summer and get some clothes made to the style and quality I like. There'll be two styles. Different materials. That's it. Gonna make me a fortune! Anyone?

Eliza22 Fri 26-Apr-13 15:03:28

Oh, and the world's gone mad! Obviously grin

ppeatfruit Fri 26-Apr-13 15:31:51

higgle I like the look of the 'bungalow dress' the problem is that to wear a dress is a real occasion due to the particular shoes\tights you have to wear to look right etc. I don't usually care ''cos I've got comfortable flats in different colours to match my everyday 'going out' jeans or trousers.

In doors I wear casual tracksuit type trousers for 2 or 3 days at a time to stop my 'going out' clothes getting covered in stains or dust blush This is quite green because I air my going out clothes and they keep clean so don't need washing very often at all.

santamarianovella Fri 26-Apr-13 16:33:02

i dont think the old days were that good tbh,just look at shows like call the midwife or downton abby,it was just the rich who dressed nicely,we would all be considered below stairs and have no choice what to wear,and be happy with tattered hand me downs,and i think realty is more grim than what is portrayed in the movies,in that movie(sense and sensibility) though they became poor,there clothes looked nice, the cottage they lived in is not bad.
so no,im not .im happy to have choices and go out and try things on and buy them.

FrugalFashionista Fri 26-Apr-13 17:26:28

I just read an Edwardian memoir and the S shaped girdle/corset/whatever was pure torture. Being liberated from the corsets in the 1920s was a really big deal, as was adopting menswear and sportswear. Elastic fibers and jerseys too.

But yes agree with the general sentiment of this thread - no to tat and yes to fewer quality clothes.

Maybe it's a family thing but to me clothes have always been a really enjoyable part of life - a bit of creativity and self-expression and freedom. And I continue to enjoy that aspect of clothes.

Eliza22 Fri 26-Apr-13 18:48:49

santamarianovella I agree. The point I was making (for myself) was that I wish there were quality fabrics that didn't cost an arm and a leg. I sent my niece (17) a few bits last year. I spent £60 and got little more than 2 tatty t-shirts. Once item was described as a dress.

Also, in the 70's I liked "grandad collar" shirts. It didn't mean I had the intention of buying clogs and getting a job down't pit!

florascotia Fri 26-Apr-13 20:41:33

Re the old days and workers' clothes.
I really think it all depends on the section of the working class we are talking about, and maybe the country/region they came from.

I remember talking to my father about his childhood clothes shortly before he died . He came from poor but (relatively) very well educated Scottish peasantry, and, like all his brothers, won a scholarship to a secondary school in a nearby town. Today, the same school is very posh and fee-paying. He and all his brothers left school at 14 - they felt obliged to start work to help support their family.

I asked him what he wore as a child. He said that his mother felt that cheap clothes were false economy, so she shopped for them at the nearest town's 'sound' but certainly not fashionable or classy drapers. The boys had an unofficial uniform: grey wool flannel long shorts (until 14!), grey cotton shirts, navy or grey long-sleeved wool pullovers (short-sleeved equivalent in summer), long knitted woollen stockings, brown leather boots. An outfit was purchased once per year; old clothes (patched, mended, let out etc) or hand-me-downs were worn for time at home. These clothes were paid for partly by savings but mostly - once my father and his siblings were old enough - by summer work on farms or by fruit-picking (Scottish raspberries etc). My father and his brothers were allowed to keep some of their earnings, but the majority of what they earned was used to to buy a new outfit for the start of the new autumn term (starts August in Scotland).

Of course, this is just one example. But it's instructive, perhaps?

TooMuchRain Fri 26-Apr-13 20:54:16

I agree, less but better would be great. I think that all of us who buy super-cheap clothes bear some responsibility for what happened in Bangladesh and it's part of the disposable society that we have been sold because disposable clothes mean we spend money more often.

I don't think clothing has to be hugely expensive made-in-the-UK or nothing, what would make a huge difference is just knowing as standard what working conditions shops demand from their suppliers.

santamarianovella Fri 26-Apr-13 23:50:33

elizagood quality was never cheap,my mum keeps telling me that while growing up in the sixties and seventies ,she very rarely had a new dress,it was all hand downs or sewn or knitted at home.my grandmother would buy her one good dress for christmas and her birthday and thats it, .she was tough from an early age to keep it in good condition as it would pass to her younger sister,it was very expensive to buy clothes.
i think now days we have more options,you still can buy well made clothes but you would have to pay a hefty price for it,so that concept didnt change,but life became more demanding . we have other expenses to pay.

sillyoldfool Sat 27-Apr-13 00:02:24

I have 5 outfits -2 pairs of trousers, four tops, one dress and a cardigan I wear them over and over, and I don't care if people think I'm odd for wearing the same things all the time! Tbh it hadn't occurred to me until now that people might think that. They aren't tatty and are always clean, they fit me well and are comfy.

Well, I do wear stuff over and over, don't have a huge wardrobe (though more than just say 2 pinafores and 3 shirts). Do people notice? No idea. Do they comment on my lack of variety? Never. but then I do work mostly with men

Actually I have had some compliments (from the women) on things I wear, i.e. on particular items. So I guess having something nice is more important than having lots - and by nice I don't mean expensive, one of the things I get compliments on is a skirt from Next (don't all groan) that I bought about 5 years ago - compliments from both colleagues and strangers.

CorrieDale Sat 27-Apr-13 07:15:58

I know I have too many clothes - the result of losing a lot of weight and finally looking good in clothes, I'm afraid. So as to do this with minimal guilt I always buy second hand, whether it's eBay or charity shops. It also means i can afford much better quality clothes. I pretty much always wear the same things - jeans tee and cardi! In summer I make myself dresses to leave in the wardrobe because our over-consumption means that it never stops blimmin raining!

FrugalFashionista Sat 27-Apr-13 07:26:59

Someone I know works in the shoe industry. She wants to work ethically and decided to have her shoes made in Brazil because she found that they have the right conditions there. She travels there frequently to inspect the conditions - the Novo Hamburgo area in Southern Brazil is an upward mobile society and there are no total hellholes there and shoe industry is very important for that area. Her own label is nichey, expensive and difficult to source in the UK, but Geox have factories in the same area.

ppeatfruit Sat 27-Apr-13 07:31:24

corriedale i've lost weight too and am loathe to give nice clothes away (even to charity) I don't know why. I keep thinking I'll take them in (which will NOT look professional! )or have them taken in but that's a faff getting fitted etc. So they're hanging in the wardrobe looking at me grin.

RedToothBrush Sat 27-Apr-13 07:57:27

My personal taste for clothes is quite plain, classically cut clothes. You knonw stuff that simply doesn't go out of fashion. But in my experience it never fails to amaze me how difficult it can be to find certain items. For example if you wanted a very plain v necked jumper in blue, it can be extremely difficult to find. And when you do find something close to what you are looking for, the chances are its branded with a logo. Or looks like it will fall apart within about 3 washes.

But then thats the very nature of the business, retailers what you to buy and spend money constantly, not wear the same thing for years.

That said I do think there is room in the market, for a 'back to basics' retailer (perhaps an internet company) that just does your plain basics in a range of sizes and colours and they don't really vary their ranges hugely from season to season. I'm sure people would like a place that they know they can buy a plain, black skirt (in a range of lengths and perhaps even trial three different hip to waist ratios whilst they are at it) so they don't have to trail round 8 different stores.

MrsHiddleston Sat 27-Apr-13 08:04:14

Not hankering after the old days as such but I do think the quality of clothing nowadays is crap! Even the higher end high street, Hobbs, LK Bennett etc... The quality is poor.

Earthymama Sat 27-Apr-13 08:23:28

I was obsessed with fashion from my teens; I worked in a 'boutique' from age 13-18 so I guess that started the passion.
I had lots of other issues, thinking I was obese, lack of self-esteem and dressing fashionably was the way I dealt with them.
I loved my clothes and can still see most of the 'pieces' wink
I look at the clothes in the Guardian Fashion section and it doesn't seem real.

Now I am post-menopausal and settled in my relationship I am far more relaxed. I wear things I love, velvet or cord jeggings with long tunics, knee-length skirts with thick tights and boots for work.
I have lots of long skirts that have ties inside to allow the length to change. I wear these in layers with tunics, or layer the tunics over long dresses.

There is a shop in Cardiff called Morgan that has the best clothes in the style I like. Sadly all too expensive but I use them for inspiration. Luckily Glastonbury does a fine line in Pagan clothing so I stock up there.

I agree about the ethics of cheap clothes, this society has turned out all wrong. I always had a best outfit, bit too big, worn til nest big occasion, then demoted to everyday 'playing out' clothes then passed on!!

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 27-Apr-13 08:29:30

I was musing a bit on this on the mumsy thread. Also listening to the Cazalets on r4 this week made me think about the world where you had a few nice frocks for everyday and then a couple of 'best ones'.

It is harder though to find decent quality fabrics without spending £££ and I'm increasingly shocked at how many expensive brands are now using an awful lot of polyester.

Its interesting on here though that if you say you're going to buy a very expensive handbag the moral judgers come out to berate you but these are generally made by craftspeople earning a decent wage.

I get though that things weren't always wonderful and I know my DH still feels the pain of always being dressed in very unfashionable jumble sale clothes and he really doesn't much care about clothes unless they have wicking properties wink

I guess though there needs to be a middle ground - I do try to buy less but better quality now as actually made myself feel ill with how much stuff I have de-cluttered in the last couple of years.

Very interesting thread.

singaporeswing Sat 27-Apr-13 08:51:15

I have a very hourglass shape body, size 12, 30GG but quite tall with high hips and a short torso. Quite "Jessica Rabbit". I cannot for the life of me find clothes that fit or suit me whatsoever.

Everything is cut for the very straight up and down figure and I'm limited to a few outfits that I can rotate that don't make me look huge and do actually fit.

Plus I'm only early 20s, so don't want stuff that makes me look older than my years or too formal.

I would have loved to be alive in the 50s, with the pin up girl clothes etc.

ppeatfruit Sat 27-Apr-13 09:20:54

singapore why not go for the full 50s retro look? it's very modern now (dd2 is into it and she's 29) grin and from the sound of it you'd look great!

Earthymama Sat 27-Apr-13 09:22:34

Can I just add that breasts have always been a problem to clothing manufacturers!! Damn those curves!! 34f at 14!! I love my boobs and like clothes that show they are there.

My DIL said, when she saw me without my beloved layers, Oh you have a really nice shape! I luckily don't need to use my powers of seduction any more grin
(Sighs wistfully)

To Hourglass Girl; (sorry on iPad and don't know how to go back without losing this)

might it be worth trying to find a dressmaker and taking some ideas along? Could be expensive, though it might be worth asking at a local crafting group?
You would look amazing, you must love those boobs!

Earthymama Sat 27-Apr-13 09:25:12

Oh and TKMaxx and charity shops are your friend if you are a rummager.
Also eBay and online shopping; most of my wedding 'outfit' was bought new on eBay!
(Nearly a year ago, I had such a good time finding everything as did the Wife)

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