Much like most little girls, when I was little I really wanted to be a ballerina. I loved the costumes, the pirouettes, the grace, the glamour, the ballet shoes; I would have loved to have joined the ranks of fluffy tutus and ribbons around my ankles to learn how to move my body with such precision and elegance. But I grew up poor – though I never knew it – and my parents couldn’t afford to put me in dance. So I read my ballet books, put on my fluffiest skirts, and just pretended.
When the year came in our church’s Christmas play that they asked myself and another girl to be Angels in the play, a role that included tights, ballet shoes, and white tutus, I was thrilled. I loved that role, and I distinctly remember that I was so into it I got irritated that the other girl didn’t keep time properly. Even at the age of 6 or 7, I had the rhythm. And she may have been more expressive and convincing, but I was going to do it right, or so help me.
As I grew up, my yearning for dance never quite faded. I participated yearly in our church Christmas musicals, always as a backup dancer, loved learning every new move, wished that every dance would go longer, and thrived in the moment of song and movement. Every year, I wished more and more that I could take proper lessons.
For a few months after my 21st birthday, I did get to take lessons of a sort, by way of swing dancing at a local gym where a hundred or so people gathered to dance, some dressed in 50’s garb as they tapped away on the floor. But that was altogether too short lived. And back then, I didn’t dress like I do now; I admired the stylish men and women who committed to their theme, but I was a jeans-and-tees girl wearing dresses only on the weekends and for special occasions.
I never expected that one day I would be looking very like those people dancing the night away in the gym, and even before I found this skirt I never thought I would really be a ballerina-esque-clothing type girl. But here we are with this pastel pink tulle skirt that I have so far worn three ways in the short time that I’ve had it, that I already have styled in five more ways in my head, emulating the Lindy-Boppers I admired from afar just a few short years ago.
I still don’t know how to dance aside from the few Swing steps I learned, which are fast fading in my mind, but I like to pretend. This skirt makes me feel like the dancer that I never got to be. I think I could have been a good dancer; I have the muscular legs for it, I have rhythm, music moves my heart and emotions, and the most common word people (amusingly, to me) use to describe me is “graceful.”(I mean, I might choose something else, something a bit more relaxed and definitely silly, but I know me too well.)
Originally, as you can see, I styled this top/skirt combo MUCH differently. I thought I liked it, but the more I looked at the pictures the less it really felt “me”. There’s something a bit too busy and almost aging about that first outfit — I had on too many accessories on my head (flower, dangly earrings, curly updo, glasses), the shoes and belt aren’t quite tied in, the ruffles on the shirt needed a bit more simplicity… altogether it’s a nice outfit, but not… right.
So yesterday I decided to try again after Hannah sent me a few polka-dot treasures that she had decided to part with. The headband was all the inspiration I needed, and suddenly I knew the perfect Valentine’s way to style the whole thing! Polka-dots really are magic. I ended up with a simpler, much more cohesive outfit that felt so much more like myself even without glasses.
I rarely go without my glasses for a blog post these days. They have become so much a part of me and my style that it feels odd not to wear them, and I found myself more than once going to push up lenses that were not there. I feel more confident with glasses on… probably because it’s a bit harder to be confident when you can’t see clearly further than 2 feet from your face.
But this outfit felt right without them. For once I wanted to actually see the cat-eye makeup I wear every day; glasses obscure my eye makeup. I wanted to not war with the headband going over my glasses, because sometimes that makes them stick in a funny position. And sometimes I just don’t have the right frames to go with an outfit. Not cat-eye enough, not dark enough, something like that.
Entire outfit, thrifted, vintage, or gift
This ensemble is currently my top running to wear for Valentine’s day. I’m hoping to post a few more Valentine’s-inspired looks before the 14th, but it’s been a crazy week and the weather is currently crappy, so we will see! This is the first year that I’ve really, really actually started to plan outfits ahead of time. Are you an outfit planner, or do you just wake up in the morning and decide right then what you want to wear? Usually, I fall in the latter category, but I have found that the more I hone down my wardrobe, the easier it is to plan and the less I’ll change my mind the next day.